Going on a hiking adventure is a perfect way to actively enjoy your free time. However, you should know that hiking requires a certain level of preparation. Whether you decide to go on a weekend-long hiking trip, or only spend a sunny afternoon in the wilderness, you’ll need to have the same essentials in your backpack.
When you walk around town, having Google Maps on your phone may suffice, however, hiking around the backcountry is an entirely different story. Only relying on your phone is a poor idea since there’s a high chance that you’ll have bad reception in the mountains. To assure you stay on the hiking trail, pack a compass and a topographic map. It goes without saying that you should learn how to use the two before your adventure!
Food and water
Just like any other physical activity, hiking can make you really hungry and in need of some extra hydration. This is why it’s crucial to bring a substantial amount of food and water to keep you satiated. It’s recommended to have an extra snack on you too, for example, a healthy protein bar or a banana. When it comes to hydration, a large water bottle should be enough for an afternoon hike. However, if you planned a lengthier adventure, have some water tablets with you so you can filter naturally sourced water you come across.
A master hiker never takes their sturdy tool kit out of their backpack. If you don’t already have a tool kit, here’s how to build one. It’s essential to include a knife, scissors, a multi-tool, duct tape, and cable ties. If you’re afraid that a regular knife may cut through your other supplies, consider replacing it with a quality OTF knife. The “Out the Front” knife or a switchblade is a better fit for hikers because the blade is protected by the knife’s own handle.
Experts recommend you protect your skin with sunscreen whenever you spend time outside and hiking is no different. Therefore, an SPF higher than 30 is a must-have for your hiking getaway. Don’t let the forecast fool you – your skin can suffer sun damage even when it’s cloudy and cold outside. A wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses can be helpful too, especially if it’s very bright outside.
First aid kit
It’s always better to be safe than sorry, which is why a first aid kit is a crucial addition to every experienced hiker’s backpack. Of course, what you bring and how many items you include in your kit may vary based on many different factors, but there are some pieces you should always have on you. That being said, items such as bandages, blister dressings, a SAM splint, and painkillers are the staples of a hiker’s first aid kit. If you get highly annoyed by insects, a mosquito repellent or another bug spray can be a valuable addition to your kit.
Even if you decide on a day trip, you should bring some form of illumination with you as a precautionary measure, for example a flashlight. Don’t forget to pack some spare batteries. If you think of hiking at night, you should invest in a decent LED headlamp. When night hiking is concerned, headlamps are superior compared to the traditional flashlights because they don’t keep your hands occupied at all times.
Hiking entails getting dirty, so the extra clothes aren’t required in case you get a bit muddy. You should always have one entire additional outfit prepared, even the jacket, in case of heavy rain. Staying in wet clothes in cold weather can be highly dangerous and may even lead to medical emergencies such as hypothermia.
Matches or a lighter
Lighting a campfire is one of the many joys of hiking excursions. However, you’ll need to have certain supplies in order to start the fire. Matches, as long as you keep them in a waterproof box, are a more eco-friendly option, though a lighter may be more convenient to some.