One of the essential steps to hiking is to be prepared. Part of being prepared is knowing where you are hiking, the climate, and the potential hazards. But another crucial element is knowing what to bring when hiking outdoors.
Maybe you’re all ready for an epic day of hiking. You’ve picked your trail, you’ve chosen the best day to go, and you’ve even checked the weather. But one big question remains: What do you bring with you? Will you swim while on the trip?
You want to remain safe and comfortable on the trail, which means bringing all the things you need and avoiding the things you don’t. Most of us don’t want to lug around a bunch of extra stuff if we don’t have to. Whether you are an experienced hiker or just getting started, some essentials are always good to have.
Depending on how long you will be hiking, you may need snacks or food, and some hikers like to use water packs or hydration packs. You will also want to dress in layers. You may opt to bring a walking stick or to skip it. But some things are essential for every outdoor hiking trip. So, let’s take a look at five things you want to bring with you when you go hiking.
Here are five things to bring hiking outdoors:
There’s a good reason you see hikers with backpacks all the time. You need a place to carry all the other essential things you need with you, and a backpack allows you to carry it comfortably, leaving your hands free for other things. It also distributes the weight of your pack evenly, making it less straining it carries.
Hiking requires you to be on your feet a lot, so suitable footwear is one of the essential things on your list. Not only does proper footwear mean you don’t get sore feet, but it also prevents you from slipping, sliding, falling, or rolling/twisting your ankle. Hiking in the wrong shoes can be hazardous. If you lose your footing and fall, you can hurt any part of your body.
You can get burned even on a shady day, and sun damage can increase your risk of skin cancer, as well as just being painful. It would be best if you had a strong, dependable sunscreen of at least UPF 30, and you may also want sunglasses, a hat, or other clothing to protect your skin. You can use breathable clothing and workout gear so that you’re protected from the sun’s rays, but you’re also not hot.
Map/GPS/ Navigation tools
You need to know where you’re going, and no matter how well you think you know a trail, emergencies can come up, or something can happen to make you lose your way. Cell phones are great for GPS and for calling for help, but you could lose your cell connection in many hiking areas. It’s also important to remember that many things could happen to your phone. If you get lost, the battery will run down before making your way back or getting rescued. If you fall, you could smash it. If it gets wet, it may stop working. If you’re using your cell phone as your primary nav tool, make sure you have a backup device and a map with you as well.
This is even more important than food, especially in a survival situation. While you can survive for a long time without food, you won’t be able to survive for long without proper hydration. Also, many accidents or medical emergencies happen when people do not hydrate appropriately while hiking.
This is not an exhaustive list, as there are many other things you may need to bring, based on your personal needs and the location of your hike. But this is a good, solid list of the basics that you need on any general hike. Feel free to add to it as needed and to adjust for your own needs.
If you plan on swimming during your trip be sure to pack your swimsuit and all of the items needed to swim.