Essential Gear For Hikers
Serious hikers most likely have a whole cupboard at home full of hiking essentials. They have a checklist for every different type of hiking trip and they seem to instinctively know what they need to take with them for each trip. Some things, however, are more important than others and while you may need to go on a few hiking trips before you have your own checklist, we’ll take a look at every piece of gear hikers need to make each trip a good one.
1. Appropriate Footwear
At the very top of every hiker’s essential gear list is appropriate footwear. Hiking involves an extraordinary amount of walking and if your shoes are not comfortable, you’re going to find yourself in a whole lot of trouble.
Comfort isn’t the only factor you need to consider with hiking footwear. They terrain and climate you plan on hiking through is also of the utmost importance. If the hiking trail is relatively gentle and the weather is mild, lightweight hiking shoes may be fine. If you’re heading for the mountains in cooler weather, you need hiking boots that are water-resistant and warm. If part of your hike finds you walking along a beach, you may even want to bring along walking sandals. Check your route and the weather report so you won’t be stuck with the wrong footwear.
2. The Right Clothing
When it comes to packing for hiking, less is more. That doesn’t mean you keep throwing items out of your hiking backpack, it means finding clothing that is multifunctional and light. More importantly, you don’t want to have several bulky items in your pack, taking up precious real estate. Choosing the right pieces of clothing is essential. Weather can be unpredictable so you want to have a waterproof jacket that is light and not too bulky. You absolutely must have a number of hiking socks. These are usually thicker at the soles of the feet and they should have moisture-wicking properties to keep feet from becoming soaked in sweat. A couple of t-shirts are also needed, in both long and short sleeves. If it is possible to have all of your clothing choices in quick-drying and moisture-wicking materials, you’ll find hiking a lot easier. It’s also worth investing in thermal clothing if you don’t consider snowy winter trails a deterrence form hiking.
3. A Suitable Shelter
Many popular hiking destinations have suitable accommodation available such as hostels and affordable motels where exhausted hikers can have a hot shower and a good night’s sleep. However, you may not be able to stick to your schedule despite all of your efforts to stay on track. You should always be ready to bunk down for the night before it actually gets dark. Often, this means you will need to pitch a tent and set up camp. A good tent needs to be water and wind-resistant to keep you warm and dry, but it should also be lightweight and compact when packed. If you find a tent a little too much to deal with, there are some excellent camping style hammocks available that will keep you off the ground and many also have their own canopy to ensure you are completely protected from the elements.
With a tent, you should also have a good sleeping bag. This too, should be lightweight and take up a minimal amount of space when packed. If you plan on hiking during really cold weather, consider investing in a wearable sleeping bag for extra comfort and warmth.
4. Food And Water
All that hiking is going to work up an appetite. Even on a day hike, you are going to need a decent amount of food and water. Single serve snacks such as protein bars are always a good option but if you feel you need more, opt for anything that is compact, but offers a lot of nutrients. Sandwiches are quick and easy, but you can also opt for a chicken and salad wrap or anything you find filling and nutritious. Trail mix or a variety of dried fruits and nuts make a great snack and offer lots of energy.
Water and sports drinks like Gatorade are possibly the most important consumable item in your backpack. Make sure you have plenty of fluids with you. You can pack several individual bottles of water or you can get yourself a hydration pack that is easy to carry and makes carrying a good supply of water simple and effective.
If you are hiking for a number of days with the intention of camping, you should get yourself a nice, compact mess kit. This kit has everything you need to cook yourself a nice hot meal at the end of a busy hiking day. If you have such a kit, things like packet soups and tinned foods can be turned into substantial meals that will have you ready for hiking the following day. If you do plan on cooking, choose a mess kits that comes with a small gas burner as some camping areas may not allow you to light a campfire.
5. Personal Hygiene And Safety Products
It goes without saying that you’ll want to have a shower whenever the opportunity presents itself but you may not want to cart around huge bottle of shampoos and shower gels. Fortunately, you miniature travel size products are readily available and are easy to pack. Sunscreen is also an essential item you must have Take all the essential hygiene products you need, but don’t forget to include a first aid kit in case of emergency. The first aid kit should also include a sewing kit in case an item of your apparel needs a quick fix.
6. Invest In A Good Hiking Backpack
We end this list with the hiking backpack. All of the gear we have mentioned needs to be stored in something and this is where you’ll really appreciate a good hiking backpack. Make sure the one you choose fits snugly and comfortably on your back and will fit all of your essential gear inside or have the options of clipping them to the outside.
Once you put together your own pieces of gear for hiking, you’ll really start to enjoy those exciting adventures.