What Are The Essential Things To Carry While Hiking

Hiking has been proven to have a lot of benefits. Not only does the time outside contribute to a lower risk of depression and anxiety, but it can help promote good bone health and increased happiness levels. Not forgetting that it’s an excellent way to bond with family and friends.  

Packing for a hike can be stressful- deciding what to cut and what to carry. However, knowing the essential things you need can help you have safer and more fun outdoors.  

The American Hiking Organization recommends ten essential things as a baseline for hikers, regardless of the type of hike one is going on. The type of essentials you decide to carry depends on how far and long you plan to hike, the inclement weather, and the terrain.  

So what are the essential things to carry on your next hiking trip? Read on to find out. 

Navigation  

Do you need to carry a map /GPS? The short answer is Yes. While you might be tempted to take your cell phone as the only source of navigation when you head out, having a paper map, a compass, or a GPS is the way to go if you can get your hands on one. 

Knowing how to navigate is essential for your safety and will help you find your way back when you find yourself in an unknown without markers.  

Illumination  

While no one plans on intentionally hiking in the dark, sometimes things happen, and you find yourself with a couple of miles to cover and no light source. Using your phone drains the battery quickly.  

A headlamp/flashlight packed with extra batteries comes in handy, helping you avoid obstacles and spot wild animals.   

First Aid Supplies  

Hiking is inherently a dangerous sport that can end in injuries, and one of the most common injuries that hikers face are blisters, small cuts, and muscle pain. 

While specific injuries, such as blisters, can be mitigated by wearing the correct shoes, others, such as muscle pain, can take a toll on the body and leave you out of commission for weeks. Over-the-counter medicines such as ibuprofen only help with the pain for a while; consider using THC oil to eliminate discomfort. Know the contents of your kit, and familiarize yourself with the use.  

Nutrition and Hydration  

When hiking, you burn a lot of energy, and you, in turn, are required to replenish it. While you might be tempted to carry a few snacks and nuts and call it a day, having Calorie dense foods or energy gels /bars to eat when you feel your energy is a bit low makes hiking much better.  

Ensure you bring an extra day’s food supply in an emergency, and remember to check the expiry dates on all snacks. Water is one of the most important things to carry with you during hikes.  

If you’re unsure about the amount of water to carry, for every hour you cover, you need half a liter of water; of course, this depends on the temperature and terrain. Remember to bring a lightweight, reusable water bottle and a water purifier in tablet form or an actual cleaner. Assuming you run out of water, you can treat it. Remember to read the instructions carefully and ensure you know how to use a filter if you carry one. 

Hiking Gear  

An enjoyable hike starts with the hiking backpack that you bring with you. Investing in the right gear and choosing a high-quality bag that’s made for the outdoors will make or break your hike.  

Make sure the backpack is the correct size, fits all the essentials, distributes weight evenly away from your shoulders, is sturdy, and has mesh paneling for breathability. You want to be as organized and ready for anything the day throws at you.  

Clothing And Footwear 

The type of footwear and clothing you carry is of the utmost importance as a hiker. Whichever shoes you choose depends on your preference, weather conditions, and terrain. However, if you wear uncomfortable shoes, be prepared to deal with blisters and muscle strain. Ensure your shoes are comfortable, sturdy, supported, and cushioned.  

For clothes, include moisture-wicking underwear and t-shirts, long-sleeved shirts for sun and bug protection, insulating jackets /vests, beanies/hats, wool socks, a lightweight jacket, and some convertible pants.  

Despite what the weather forecaster says, always pack extra clothes if you get wet and require a change of clothes or find yourself in an emergency. And always add dry fast layers; you want to be able to remove and add on layers as quickly or as needed.  

Safety Items  

No matter how many hikes you’ve been on, you can never know what lies ahead. So, it’s best to carry with you safety items. These include matches, fire starters, a small repair kit with a multi-tool, and an emergency shelter. You can also include some sunscreen and sunglasses for sun protection.  

Bottom Line  

Hikes are a good way to disengage from the city’s hustle and catch your breath. Making sure you’re overly prepared will not only keep you safe and at ease, but you’ll also find yourself having an even better time. We hope this list has helped you in one way or another, and remember to practice leaving no trace behind. 

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