They say the best view comes after the most challenging climb. However, carrying valuable items is necessary when you’re trying to conquer a tricky summit or casually hiking to a favorite spot. Not having the right equipment can be the difference between a minor inconvenience and an almost fatal accident. The better prepared you are, the easier it’ll be to let your soul run wild and free in the great outdoors.
To know what you need to bring on a hiking trip, think about how far you plan to go, what the weather forecast has in store, and how remote the location is. In general, the more desolate the area and extended the hike, the more gear, water, food, and supplies you’re going to need. So before you hit the trails, skim through the following items and add them to your hiking checklist.
1. Navigation devices
Compasses, maps, GPS devices – each of these falls under this category. It’s improbable for you to witness a magical wisp and have it guide you to your destination. You should be capable of knowing your direction and route with your trusty equipment.
Apart from telling you how far you still have to go to reach your destination or where you are, a compass, GPS, or map can assist you in finding food, water, and even shelter. For instance, if you’re hiking in the Great Smokys and are feeling tired, you can quickly use your navigation devices to find a place to rest. Pull out your phone and search for spots for camping in Tennessee near you to recharge. It’ll be your chance to experience the magnificent beauty of the Great Smokey Mountains. While you’re out and about, don’t forget to use your sense of direction if your mobile data lets you down. After all, you don’t want to end up hiking to a location where there’s no sign of human life – just hungry bears.
We know you’ve got plenty of fire in you, but that soul-enriching fire won’t keep you warm in the cold. And so, learning how to build a fire in nasty conditions can be a life-saving skill. To make a fire as quick as possible, take a couple of lighters, some stormproof matches, and a small number of firestarter cubes. Only use the cubes when necessary. On the other hand, if you prefer to go into survivalist mode, you can carry a tiny fire flint. But portable lighters tend to work just as well.
3. Hiking boots
When it comes to hiking, ordinary shoes won’t do. That said, you must invest in heavy-duty boots designed primarily for hiking. While you’re at it, buy a pair that provides additional ankle support and in the correct size and fit. Also, your preferred boots should offer enough space around your feet for wool socks if you’re hiking in winter. Know that the right kind of hiking boots will get you through thick and thin, so do your homework while buying.
Weather can change quickly on any trip up in the mountains. So it’s better to always bring an extra set of layers of clothing, even on warm-weather trips. Quick-dry clothing will ensure you are warm and safe when temperatures drop. For instance, you can pack rain protection and down hooded jackets for your hiking excursions, regardless of the forecast. Furthermore, you may want to avoid bringing or wearing products made of cotton as these take hours to dry and absorb heat from the body.
However, try to pack light. Carrying too many pieces can become bulky. Unless you’ve booked a resort to keep all your stuff, you wouldn’t want to stuff your backpack with hoodies and whatnot.
Water is, without a doubt, an essential thing to have on a hiking trip. While hiking, the recommended amount to drink is 1 liter/34 ounces every three hours. Without enough water, your body, mind, and muscles cannot function, and you risk injuring yourself. Dehydration may also lead to hypothermia and altitude sickness. So try to remain hydrated at all times by bringing a water bottle that’s easy to carry.
It is natural for a hiker to want energy on their trail, which means something to eat. You probably will not be able to “live off the grid” like in a Jack London novel. You will need to carry some nutritious items that will keep you going.
A hike that takes a few hours probably does need food that requires preparation. On the flip side, if you intend to camp in the wilderness for days, consider packing some ingredients and prepare your food by hunting animals and wild fruits and veggies. It will help if you know how to cook. Moreover, some of the food we recommend bringing along includes crackers, pita bread and wraps, trail mix, marshmallows, freeze-dried and prepacked meals, and energy bars.
7. A first-aid kit
This is something you must not forget! On a daylong hike away from the population, you can’t keep track of every possible thing that might happen to you. At the very least, you’ll be able to look after minor cuts and bruises by yourself. However, if something does go wrong, you’ll have the kit to keep you safe until actual help shows up.
If you don’t know how to create a first aid kit, don’t fret, as prepacked first aid kits for travelers and hikers exist. Therefore, ensure you have one in your baggage and that it includes the following items:
- Medical tape
- Antiseptic wipes
- Single-use saline
- Multiple bandages
- Eye bandages
- Sting wipes
- Burn cream
Other than having these items in your backpack, you should also know how to use them effectively.
This article went over a few things that you should include in your backpack before going on a hike. Once you’re done following through with everything listed above, your bag might feel heavy. But at least you’ll be at ease knowing that you’ve got all your essentials with you. So don’t be sloppy while preparing for your next hiking escapade.