If you’re going hiking, whether the hike is through your local nature preserve or the more esteemed Appalachian Trail, it may be difficult to decide what you absolutely need and what could probably stay at home.
For situations when you’re unsure if you should bring your serious survival tools to your neighborhood’s walking trail, here are eight essentials for any hiking trip.
1. Appropriate Footwear
Hiking can be a relaxing way to get some exercise and have fun, but not without the appropriate footwear.
Find yourself a pair of hiking boots before you go on any adventure that is a little more serious than a walk in the park. Hiking boots are important for both comfort and safety, as you never know what will be on the ground in nature, and boots are often less likely to slip than normal tennis shoes.
Read buyer’s guides for men’s and women’s hiking boots or online sources like Boot Bomb if you need help deciding which pair is right for your adventure.
This should really go without saying but, no matter where you’re going hiking, you’re going to need enough water to last your whole trip.
It is crucial to stay hydrated when you’re doing anything outdoors, so make sure that you bring a lot of water with you. The amount that you bring depends on how long your hike will be but remember it’s always better to overestimate how much water you’ll need.
They also sell water bottles that filter the water inside of them automatically. These bottles may be a good investment in case you run out of your own purified water and need to purify some on the go.
That’s right, you’re not always going to have access to Google Maps or your phone out in nature. Therefore, you should always keep a map and a compass so that you can have a general idea about where you are.
There are some hiking trips where these things are more important, but it’s a good idea to keep them in your hiking backpack just in case.
Much like water, you’ll need food throughout your trip.
Pack only calorie-dense foods in your backpack so that they take up less room and keep you nourished for longer.
Be sure not to bring too much food that will weigh you down—both figuratively and literally. It’s a hike, not a picnic.
5. Quick-Dry Clothing
Some hikers need to get out there and hike, rain or shine.
Wear moisture-wicking layers to ensure that they will dry quickly if they get wet.
Not only will this make you feel more comfortable if you get caught in the rain, but it will also prevent you from getting sick after wearing damp clothes for long periods of time.
6. Knives/Multi-Use Tools
You never know when you’re going to need to cut something, so make sure that you always have your knife or multi-use tool on hand.
For both safety and convenience, these tools are one of the most important when it comes to survival in nature.
7. First Aid Kit
At the very least, you should carry around band-aids, but you should also consider a first aid kit for your hiking bag.
These kits hold some important life-saving tools, but they’re only useful if you know how to use them, so consider taking some first-aid classes to ensure that you’ll be ready in case of emergency.
8. A Sturdy Backpack
You’re going to need a sturdy place to put all of these essentials, so make sure you get the right hiking backpack for your journey.
Of course you’ll need a pack that is light-weight, but also able to hold all of the items that you need to bring with you. Some of the best rated hiking backpacks are those that are thin enough to be portable, but sturdy in order to prevent rips.
The most popular styles for hiking are those that are nylon, as they are the best for wicking away moisture. This will dry quickly and keep the items inside dry as well.
Don’t Leave Home Without These Essentials
Hiking brings out the child-like, adventurous side of ourselves. With this proper packing list of all the essentials, you’ll be all set for your hiking adventures—big or small. One last final bonus tip - how about portable solar panels for charging up everything from your phone (and GPS) to your kettle! Just make sure your backpack is big enough to fit all of these essentials!