When going on a hike, preparation is vital to stay safe and comfortable while on the trail. It’s important that you are in the right mindset leading up to your hike, while also having all the essentials on your bag.
To help you prepare for a hike, here’s a rundown of 13 things I think is important to bring on a hike.
Of course, the list below can be adjusted depending on weather and seasonal conditions, terrain type, and trail length, but these items should cover the essential ones.
Even if you are taking a common route, having a navigational tool with you at all times should be a priority. Familiarize yourself with your trail ahead of time so that you also know where to go.
Aside from your smartphones’ map and GPS, an actual printed map and a compass should also be on your person at all times. This will serve as a fail-safe should something go wrong and you get stranded for a longer duration.
Ahead of time, make sure that you are knowledgeable in using a navigational compass and a map.
Even if you are just taking a basic trail, trekking poles should be an essential item on your hiking trip.
Experienced hikers know just how important hiking sticks can be, which helps you maintain stability and your balance on uneven terrain. This minimizes the risk of you tripping over and possibly hurting yourself.
A tree branch can work just as fine as your trekking stick. However, a sturdy pole can also work wonders on your trail.
The best hiking sticks are usually made with lightweight and sturdy materials, are easy to carry, and could even come with a comfortable handle for a better grip.
Water and Snacks
Though each person’s thirst can vary, hydration becomes on-demand during hikes or any strenuous activity.
A one-liter water jug might not be enough for yourself if you’re going for a roundtrip day hike. So bringing multiple bottles could be a good idea.
There are also backpack water bladders that most hiking backpacks come with. Make sure to use this if you have one.
Eating becomes a bit problematic during a trail. Lunchboxes are usually bulky and bringing packed food can be risky, as it can spoil even before you get to eat it. If you’re going for a day hike, try to go for small snack portions such as sandwiches, nuts, fruits, and granola bars.
Having the right backpack is crucial in a hike as it will dictate how much stuff you can bring along.
Aside from this, bags can be very irritating on a trail, especially if the load is concentrated in any part of your body.
To avoid this, choose a backpack that’s well-designed to distribute the load evenly on your back.
Clothing and Footwear
What you wear on your hike should be highly dependent on the expected weather.
If it’s a sunny day, opt for something that protects you from the sun and is comfortable. A light long sleeve shirt usually does the trick when hiking on a good sunny day. This can also serve as protection against insect bites.
On an otherwise rainy hike, make sure you have adequate rain protection with you.
Your footwear is also very important as this will be your main protection from the ground. Be sure to research the trail and learn what type of terrain it has.
You can wear a comfortable pair of sandals or trail shoes on smooth trails, while it’s best to wear designated mountain boots for a more rugged trail.
Keeping your skin safe from the sun is an incredibly important part of outdoor activity, even if the weather is relatively cloudy.
As long as you’re doing activities that keep you exposed under the daytime sky, you should take extra precautions in taking care of your skin.
Your sun protection should include sunblock and a lip balm with a high SPF rating, a cap or hat, and sunglasses. Apply sunblock on every part of your body that’s exposed to external elements, as ambient sunlight can easily get reflected on your skin.
Bring a reliable headlamp on your hiking trip, even if you don’t intend to stay outdoors after sundown. Should your trek take longer than usual to finish, you don’t want to be left in the wilderness without a reliable source of light.
First Aid Kit
A first aid kit is a must-have in any travel or journey. For hikers, there are usually pre-arranged first aid kits specifically made for hiking.
Also, bring your prescribed medications and be knowledgeable with basic first-aid remedies.
Fire and a Whistle
Fire is a crucial element that will help you keep warm and assist you in cooking food should you plan to spend the night camping outdoors. The same thing goes if you get stranded and you’re forced to stay the night.
Bring a fire starter kit so you can easily make fire should the need arise. When hiking, don’t forget to keep a flint with your essentials at all times.
A whistle, on the other hand, is also important should you get separated from your group or if you get lost. It’s better to keep these two essentials at your person at all times, just in case you lose your backpack.
Repair Kit and Multipurpose Tools
When things get tough, there might be instances that your gear will give up on you. This is why having a multipurpose tool and repair kit with you can work wonders during a hike.
You’ll never know when a Swiss Army Knife, some duct tape, and a sewing kit can come in handy.
Shelter From the Storm
As mentioned before, it’s important to check the weather ahead of time before going on a hike. If there’s a good chance of rain, make sure to pack your gears for rains and storms.
It is even recommended to bring your rain gear even if there’s good weather ahead. That’s because the weather can be very unpredictable, especially in mountainous areas.
Trowel and Toilet Paper
It’s very common to find used and dirty toilet paper on trails.
As a responsible hiker, you should bring at least a trowel for burying your used toilet paper. You don’t want just to leave your used toilet paper with unsightly stuff, do you?
If you’re not able to dig and bury your waste, just bring your trash home with you by putting it in a plastic bag or a Ziploc.
Because clean water is difficult to find in trails, washing your hands can be challenging during trails.
Always bring hand sanitizers along with you on your trek so you can keep your hands clean, especially when it’s time to eat.
Going on a hike or a trek shouldn’t be as hard as it seems. By staying organized and preparing for your trek properly, you’ll be able to create awesome memories and enjoy your journey to the fullest!