When you’re gearing up for a long weekend hike, it is easy to get caught up in the excitement. If you want your hike to go smoothly, however, you need to take your time during the planning process. Keep reading to learn about ten trail essentials that you should pack for your next hike.
It may seem like a no-brainer to bring water with you on a hike, but you should be prepared in case you don’t have access to clean water along the way when your own supplies run out. In addition to bringing a full water bottle (or two), you should pack some water purifying tablets or a water filter just in case.
2. Food and Snacks
Even if you’re only going to be out for a few hours, you should definitely pack some snacks. Hiking requires a lot of energy, especially if you’re traveling uphill or over rough terrain, so bring along some nuts, dried fruit, and a few granola bars to snack on along the way.
3. Navigation Tools
When it comes to hiking, you shouldn’t rely solely on trail markers. Though they can certainly help point you in the right direction, you should have a backup map and a compass on hand just in case.
4. Sun Protection
While a little bit of sun exposure is good for you, too much can be a bad thing. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen in the morning before you set out and reapply it when you stop for lunch and other breaks. It also wouldn’t hurt to wear a hat to protect your face and sunglasses for your eyes.
5. First Aid Kit
You never know what you might encounter out on the trail, so make sure that a first aid kit is included in your gear. You don’t need to go all out for a one-day hike, but you should pack the basics like bandages, antiseptic ointment, painkillers, and the like.
When you’re planning for a hike, you need to choose clothing that you’ll be comfortable in. You also need to think about the fact that you’ll warm up as you get moving, so wear light layers that you can put on or take off as needed throughout the hike.
Whether you’re planning on hiking at night or not, it’s always a good rule of thumb to bring along a flashlight or headlamp. You never know when you may find yourself taking a detour through the woods or inclement weather could roll in and block out the sun. Either way, you’ll be glad you brought your flashlight in moments like that.
8. Multiuse Tool
There’s no need to bring an entire toolkit with you on a short hike but having a multiuse tool in your pack can come in quite handy. Whether you need to make repairs on your gear or cut kindling for a fire, this is a tool you’ll be glad you have.
9. Fire Starter
Even if your planned hike is only supposed to last for a couple of hours, it never hurts to be prepared by bringing along some kind of fire starter. Waterproof matches are a great option because they won’t weigh you down and they’ll work even in wet conditions.
This may seem like an obvious inclusion because, after all, how are you going to carry the other nine items on this list? Don’t just pick any backpack, however – you need to make sure it is large enough to carry everything you need but not too heavy. It’s also a good idea to choose something made from waterproof materials. Don’t be afraid to try several backpacks in the store before choosing one.
In the end, it is up to you to decide which items you need to pack for your hike. Take the time to review your planned route so you have an idea what you might encounter along the way and don’t forget to check the weather report. Being properly prepared is the key to an enjoyable hike, no matter where or when you happen to go.