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Essential Items for your Next Hike

Hiking over mountains and into valleys is a challenging and wonderful pursuit. It makes parts of the world accessible that you simply can’t see by road or rail. Hiking provides the opportunity to explore and make a connection with the land that you simply don’t feel in a hustling and bustling city.

Depending on whether your hiking overnight or trekking on a day trail, there is essential hiking gear you should always bring. The intensity of the trail, whether, the length of time you are hiking, needs to be taken into account when selecting your gear

With this in mind here are some essential items you’ll need for any hike.

Hiking Backpack  

A good sturdy backpack is essential. It needs to be strong, waterproof, durable, and able to store all your items from clothing to tents. Ideally, it would have lots of compartments so you can grab the important stuff such as your map and compass or smartphone easily.

It is a good idea to get the best backpack you can afford. A good one will last for several years while a cheaper one will soon be finding its way into the trash.

Ensure your backpack is big enough and suitable for the kind of hiking you do.

Hiking Boots

Even if you don’t go on extreme hikes, a good pair of boots is essential. Good purpose-built hiking boots are designed to take you over rugged terrain and built to withstand the rigors of hiking across mountains.

Not only are they tough, but a good pair of hiking boots will also be comfortable, which minimizes issues such as blisters.

Dress for the Weather

Depending on where your hiking will determine the kind of clothing you should adorn. It is a good practice to check weather forecasts and dress appropriately. Unless you’re hiking in the tropics or a place where hot weather is guaranteed you should take some waterproof gear with you. You never know when the weather can turn and having something light that can keep the rain at bay is advised.

To that end, it is a good idea to dress in layers that you can remove as the temperature changes. This is especially true on altitude hikes where temperatures can change considerably. Clothes with wicking properties are also a winner.

Don’t forget your sun hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen as well.

Food and Drink

For one day trails, it is a good idea to bring snack food that you can eat for energy and when you get hungry. Seasoned hikers believe that two litres per person of water is needed for one-day trails, but this varies depending on temperatures. For longer hikes where you will be in the wilderness overnight, consider bringing food which is easy to transport like canned foods.

Navigation

Maps and compasses may be old school, but they don’t need batteries and will never let you down when you need them. It is no fun if you are using your smartphone, and you can’t get a signal, or it decides to download a software update. Maps are compasses are the way to go.

You may also want to consider a guidebook, altimeter, GPS and satellite messenger/personal locator if the hike warrants it.

First Aid and Emergency Precautions

It is important to pack a first aid kit with you in case things go wrong. Ensure it contains bandage adhesive, antiseptic wipes, antibacterial ointment, medical tape, and antihistamines as a minimum together with plasters and a tweezer.

You need to ensure you bring prescription medications you may need together with menstrual products.

For emergencies, it is good practice to bring a lighter or matches, a whistle, and if it is a particularly challenging hike an emergency shelter. A flashlight or headlamp is recommended too.

If needed, bring with you insect repellents, toilet paper, and blister treatments.

Tools

It is a good idea to bring a good knife or multi-tool on your hike, even if it is relatively short. A small gear repair kit is also advised which should include duct tape, zip ties, and super glue. The latter can be an unsung hero.

Personal Items

It is a good idea to take a camera on your hike and have your phone charged. Bear in mind, you may not have reception which is why you may need a two-way radio, especially if you’re in a group and are going to explore different parts of the landscape. Binoculars are a good idea and may help you find you bearing as you trek.

And of course, don’t forget your trusty hiking pole.

Hiking is a wonderful outdoor activity. Once you have done one hike, you’ll want to do another. Soon you’ll be taking on hikes you never thought possible. Ensure you have the right equipment to make every hike you do pleasant and memorable.

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