Hiking Essentials or How to Prepare for Your Next Hike

hiking essentialsBefore stretching your legs and going on a hike.  Take a few minutes to see what you’ll need, to be prepared and enjoy your time.

Whether you have a simple or strenuous hike planned, you should always carry with you the basics.  Also depending on the length of the hike and who will be with, you can have a larger or smaller pack.

What types of things go into the pack?  The terrain you will be hiking on can determine part of that also the weather conditions.  Since each hike can be different, I will give you the basics and then offer some other ideas of things you can do depending on the condition of your hike.

 Items for a small pack and Shorter hike:

  • Water
  • Small first aid kit consisting of band-aids, sanitary wipes, small gauze pads, tape, scissors, antiseptic ointment, aspirin, etc.  To make this easy click on the links of these packs I have chosen: Portable Survival Kit , First Aid Kit.
  • Extra pills of you take medication and become stuck overnight.
  • Hat to protect you from the elements you will be in.
  • Sunscreen (depending on the weather) How to make Homemade Sunscreen
  • Extra clothing items such as a rain jacket, socks, wool sweater (When wet wool retains 98% of its insulating value.  In contrast, cotton has a negative insulating value when wet, drawing heat away from your body in a deadly cooling effect.  Hence the old saying, “Cotton Kills.”)
  • High energy food such as nuts and dried fruit.
  • Compass

essentials needed for hiking Items for a larger pack and Longer hike:

  • Water
  • First aid kit.  The ones listed above will work.  Just make sure if there are multiple people coming with you, they have first aid packs also.
  • Extra pills if you take medication and become stuck overnight.
  • Hat to protect you from the elements you will be in.
  • Sunscreen (depending on weather)
  • Extra clothing items.  Rain jacket, wool sweater, socks.  Depending on the terrain an extra pair of shoes if yours become wet.  This is a heavier item, so you can also wear waterproof socks to prevent your feet from getting wet if your shoes are.  There are also products like waterproof shoe spray you can use.
  • High energy food such as nuts and dried fruit.
  • Gloves
  • Binoculars
  • Waterproof matches
  • Map
  • Compass

contacting a friend before a hikeSince we’re talking safety.  It’s also a good idea to let someone know where you’re going.  A text or phone call to a friend saying, “Heading out to Mike’s trail,” or whatever the name of the place you will be hiking at.  Let them know you’ll check in when you get back too.  Does it mean you’re a wimp by checking in?  No, smart would be the word I use.  Between environment, wildlife, and freak accidents that happen all the time, you are merely making a backup plan.

You can’t prepare for every event, but you can come close. As the old saying goes, “It is better to have and not need than to need and not have.” But remember you get to carry it on your back, so on top of what’s in your pack, I would also keep some backup items in your car.  Depending on the weather, a warm blanket, extra food and water, a map, and a change of shoes and clothes.  It’s like having a survival container for a winter emergency, only this is your hiking one, which you should keep with you always in the vehicle you will be using.

Rock climbers should have the same type of essentials and packs.

hikingExploring is great and feeds the soul, but it can also be dangerous.  Just make sure to prepare ahead and your time exploring will be amazing, fun-filled, with happy stories to tell and share at the end.

That being said, get up, grab your gear and go hit some trails.  The world around you awaits.  Oh, and send me some pictures of your adventures;).

Happy Trails -Heather Earles

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