Men and women across the globe love to take off and explore the great outdoors. Hiking allows them to do so with ease, and a person might take a day hike close to home or spend a week or two trekking across a country to see the sights and enjoy the fresh air. Regardless of where a person plans to hike, however, they need to include certain items in the pack to ensure they remain well prepared for any situation. Certain items, such as a tent, aren’t necessary for a day hike, but it never hurts to have a shelter on these trips, as a person can never know what will happen. They should include the following in a pack on every hiking trip.
Men and women need the proper footwear when hiking. Hiking boots come in a range of styles and sizes, including mountaineering boots and ultralight trail shoes. However, hikers must understand the options for midsoles, outsoles, uppers, and lowers to ensure they find the right footwear for their needs. Furthermore, the right size remains crucial in preventing blisters and other foot problems.
For instance, some individuals prefer hiking shoes for day hikes, while other wouldn’t go out without a pair of day hiking boots. Backpacking boots work best for a person who carries heavy loads over multiple days. The person must know the options and choose accordingly. In addition, the choice of socks plays a role in the person’s comfortable level, and many people purchase socks specifically designed for wear when taking a hike. Check them out to keep your feet warm and dry.
Map and Compass
Phones have GPS, and hikers now have access to multiple other devices to help them navigate as they go for a hike. However, these devices cannot work properly unless they have a signal, and no hiker wants to be caught in the woods without knowing where they are. For this reason, take a map and compass navigation course and never leave home without these two items. If the electronic devices fail for any reason or they cannot get a signal, the hiker turns to the map and compass to discover where they are and where they need to go to arrive at their destination. This skill remains critical when a person explores off the beaten path or when they need a bathroom break and there is no signal. The map and compass ensure the hiker doesn’t lose their way.
Water and Purification Methods
Experts recommend hikers carry a minimum of a half-liter of water for every hour they will engage in moderate activities in moderate temperatures. Nevertheless, hikers need to consider carrying more water with them, especially when the temperatures are climbing or they will engage in a strenuous hike. It’s always better to have more water than is needed, even though this adds to the weight of the pack being carried. To ensure hikers always have access to clean water, men and women need to take purification devices with them.
Water purification devices come in many forms. Hikers might consider carrying water purification pills or a water filter with them, but many individuals choose water purifiers as they can remove bacteria and protozoan cysts as water filters do. However, water purifiers also remove viruses that are too small for water filters to trap. The location of the hike plays a role in which a person should choose.
Hikers need variety in their food while out on the trail. Nevertheless, any food taken on a hike needs to provide the person with plenty of energy while allowing them to feel full without weighing them down. Fresh foods work on day hikes, but can be hard to keep fresh when out on the trail for multiple days. Select proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates as opposed to sugars that only give the person a quick energy boost.
If the hike takes place over several days, choose easy meals to prepare. Determine which cooking tools to carry and try to keep them at a minimum. This reduces the weight of the pack which is of importance when you will be out for an extended period. Additionally, pack favorite foods for long days when cooking seems like it will take too much effort. Knowing a favorite food will be the reward makes cooking more enjoyable on these days.
Never go on a hike without a first aid kit in your pack. Include bandages in a variety of sizes, butterfly closures, sterile dressing pads, and a gauze roll. Adhesive tape secures dressings, and a multi-use tool cuts the bandage to size, if needed. Tweezers help to remove ticks and debris from a wound, while trauma scissors come in handy when a hiker needs to cut something away from the injured person’s body. A thermometer needs to be in this kit and choose a non-digital version to ensure it works when needed. Other items to include would be antiseptic towelettes, syringes, ACE bandages, safety pins, and more.
Carry emergency supplies on every hike, whether it be a one-hour hike or a multi-day trip. Medical supplies need to be the first thing packed, but they shouldn’t be the only emergency supplies on hand. A pocket knife helps in a crisis or just while hiking. Carry duct tape, a headlamp, and tools to make a fire. Nobody wants to be cold when they are out and a fire can make a person warm and dry in less time than many would imagine. Space blankets provide emergency shelter when needed, and hikers may use a garbage bag for a range of purposes. Throw it on as a poncho, fill it with leaves to make a sleeping bag, or use it as an emergency shelter by throwing it over your body. Be sure to create a ventilation hole in the top before using it for this purpose. The ideas are endless, so every hiker needs a minimum of one garbage bag in their pack.
Never assume sun protection isn’t necessary on a hike. Every person needs to use sunscreen whenever they are outside to reduce the risk of sunburn and skin cancer. A sun hat becomes of great help in keeping the sun off of your face, and you may also use it to keep rain from running into your eyes when it pours. Hikers need to see what is in front of them when the weather turns bad, and the sun hat helps with this goal. Many hikers choose to wear clothing designed to block the sun’s rays, but this is a matter of choice. It’s one item every hiker should consider, however. Finally, never leave home without sunglasses to protect the eyes.
Hikers find they have multiple shelter options for their trip. Some men and women choose to make use of a permanent shelter on the trail. However, they must know what shelters are available and have a backup plan in place if the shelter is unavailable when they arrive. Tents serve as an enclosed shelter and offer the occupants protection from insects and wildlife while allowing for some privacy. A tarp serves in a pinch, but poles are needed to support the tarp. Hikers may want to invest in a lightweight bug net if using this option.
Hammocks work to keep men and women off the ground while protecting them from bugs and flowing rainwater. However, certain hikers want to keep their supplies to a minimum and use nothing more than a bivy or water resistant bag that holds the sleeping bag to achieve this goal. Bivies are prone to condensation and offer very little room to move around, but they keep the pack light. Finally, a hiker always has the option of sleeping outdoors, but this isn’t the best option when the weather isn’t cooperating.
Carry rain gear for when the skies open up. Several items need to be included in a pack for situations such as these. A lightweight hard-shell jacket offers the most protection against the rain when hiking, and every person needs breathable, wicking base layers. A backpack rain cover ensures the contents of the pack remain dry, while a hiker should use a waterproof phone case at all times, even when it isn’t raining. This protects the phone from moisture that could make it unusable in an emergency. Other than rain gear every hiker needs includes heated gloves in winter, a waterproof stuff sack, extra blister supplies, and gaiters.
Hikers may also need other items. This depends on the person and the hike they plan on tackling. Fortunately, the internet offers a wealth of information on packing for a hiking trip, and many hiking gear suppliers, national parks, and organizations dedicated to this activity love to share information to ensure participants are prepared. Learn what you will need on a trip of this type. Having the right supplies ensures you can focus on the hike and have an enjoyable time rather than worrying about what you might have left behind.