Nothing beats the adventure and fun brought by hiking. Over hills, up mountains, through forests, and along plains – you get to enjoy some of the world’s most beautiful views while getting a nice workout and unplugging from your busy, stressful world.
But before you hop into your car or board a plane for your next hiking trip, make sure that you are equipped with all the things you need. There are a variety of hiking conditions across the globe and to have a memorable and successful adventure, you should see to it that your hiking kit suits such weather and trekking conditions. Nonetheless, there are several staples that every hiker – pro or not – should always have.
Hiking shoes come in different types, from ultralight trail shoes to mountaineering boots. Take note that hiking shoes are far different from the regular workout/running shoes. Extra knowledge about uppers, lowers, midsoles, outsoles and other parts of hiking shoes will greatly help you find the best one for you. Most importantly, know your size. And of course, don’t forget to wear appropriate socks. Some hikers prefer synthetic socks over the slow-drying cotton type as it makes them more prone to blisters.
Map & Compass
Never go hiking or trekking without a map and a compass. These are probably the most basic gears you need but they are the most helpful. Map and compass do not only ensure you get the right path, but they also help you find campsites, water, and emergency routes. Map reading is a fundamental skill that every hiker should master.
Hiking in the rain? No problem. As long as you have the right gear, you can get through. Aside from a jacket, there are a few more wet-weather items for comfort and safety. Avoid cotton clothing and opt for next-to-skin layers that don’t hold water or sweat. You also need good-quality rainwear and a rain cap. Do bring along trekking poles, hand warmers, headlamp, and some bandana or multi-tower which is a very handy tool for keeping your camping gear dry. You can also make your own poncho tarp. Just cut a hole in the middle and wear it like a rain poncho for extra protection against rain.
First Aid Kit
A lot of mishaps can happen in the wilderness. While major injuries in hiking are rare, there are a lot of minor injuries and ailments that can make your outdoor adventure miserable. You can easily buy a ready-made first aid kit or make your own. Whatever your preference is, your kit should always involve some antiseptic wipes, blister and antibacterial ointment, gauze pads, painkiller (Ibuprofen), medical adhesive tape, and hand sanitizer. Taking basic CPR and first class can be very helpful especially.
What if you decide to hike further and as you’re on your way down you realize that it’s getting dark and navigating the forest is almost impossible and risky? To stay safe, dry and warm, the first thing you need to do is to put up a temporary shelter. A tarp is a very much helpful lightweight backpacking gear. You never know when and how you will need it. You can simply make an A-frame over a tree branch and you already have an emergency shelter. Tarps are lightweight, waterproof, and provides a decent amount of space.
Get your pack of high-quality waterproof tarps and stay prepared for almost everything
Food & Water
Hiking is a physically challenging task and you won’t survive long stretches of walks and climbing without some food and water. Don’t forget to add these to your hiking gear list. Pack an extra day’s worth of food, preferably, no-cook items that are calorie-dense and nutritious to give you extra-strength during the hike. And don’t (ever) forget to bring clean, drinking water. Finding a source of potable water can be difficult in the wilderness so always have your own.
Fire and Heating Supplies
Fire is a very important tool when camping or hiking. More than allowing you to cook and giving you warmth in the cold, dark night, it can also be used as an emergency signal. Don’t forget to pack matches and fire starters. And also, check the fire safety regulations of the park or campsite you’re going. Besides, you can take a small space heater, to stay warm during the night.
Skin & Eye Protection
The sun can be too tough on your skin so don’t forget to bring sunscreen and to prevent sunburn and sunglasses to protect your eyes against the harmful UV rays. Also, don’t forget to bring a bug spray. In some places, mosquitoes and bugs can really be an issue, especially in the summer. You don’t want to go home sick because of some bug bite.
There you go – the eight must-haves to add in your hiking kit. Be sure to double-check your bag so you don’t miss a thing. Happy hiking!