Some of the most beautiful scenes in nature can only be found by those willing to walk, run, or hike to them. Although you can camp and sightsee along roadways, you can open up even more possibilities by hiking. Whether you are an experienced hiker or just starting out, some pieces of equipment are essential for every hike. Here are 6 must-have items to take with you on your next hiking adventure:
Hydration is incredibly important, especially when you are spending the day exercising in the sun. Even if the weather is coldand rainy, you’ll still need to drink water on your hike. Some hikers love hydration packs that fit in a backpack, but even a plain water bottle can work. Just remember to take more water than you think you’ll need and to stop often for a drink.
Even when hiking a well-marked trail, it is very important to know where you are going. Cell service is not always reliable in the mountains or on remote trails. Plan ahead by acquiring a physical or digital map of your route and be sure to tell someone which route you plan to take—in the case of an emergency, communication can be lifesaving.
- Hiking Shoes
True hiking is more than just a long walk. Your feet and ankles will thank you for wearing proper hiking shoesinstead of all-purpose trainers. Hiking shoes generally provide more cushion and support than other athletic shoes and are designed to grip even slick rock surfaces securely.
- Backpack or Day Pack
Depending on the difficulty of your hike, you may want your hands free to use when climbing over rocks or down a steep descent. A snack or lunch will probably also be very welcome on a longer hike. With a backpack or day pack, you can store food, water, lip balm, a rain poncho, and more. For very short hikes, a small waist pouch might even suffice.
- Hat and/or Sunscreen
It is important to protect yourself from harmful UV rays, especially if you are hiking in high elevation. A wide-brimmed hat will also help you stay cool and avoid heatstroke. It’s not just about the heat, however. You can get sunburned on a cloudy winter day, so be sure to wear a hat and/or sunscreen every time you hike. Putting on sunscreen after you feel hot and burnt is too late. Prevention is key when it comes to sunburn and heat exhaustion.
- First Aid Kit
Scrapes and small cuts are fairly common on hikes, especially if you are hiking in a remote location where the trail is poorly maintained. Even on paved trails, it pays to be prepared. Your hiking first aid kit does not need to be extensive, but it should contain the basics: bandages, sterile gauze, a pair of tweezers, single-use medication (pain and allergy), and anti-itch cream in case of a bug bite or sting.
Hiking is a great opportunity to enjoy nature, exercise, and clear your mind. With these six items packed and ready to go, you are all set to hit the trail this weekend.