There are few ways to combine exercise and connecting with nature so well as than with a hike. If you’ve got access to the right hiking trails, you’ll be able to see some of the best scenery and views that Mother Nature has to offer — all while maintaining an exceptional level of fitness.
If you’ve recently been considering developing a hiking habit, but don’t know exactly where to start, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll go over the essentials of what to bring on a hike.
The Right Hiking Gear
First things first: you need the right hiking gear. And no, those old tennis shoes that you’ve had since middle school that has three holes in each shoe just won’t cut it.
The right hiking gear will not only make your hike all the more pleasant but will also keep you safe. Many a newbie hiker has succumbed to a rolled ankle or scraped elbow due to wearing the wrong gear.
The first thing you’ll want to purchase is appropriate clothing. Depending on the weather and area that you’ll be hiking, you’ll either want very light, moisture-wicking athletic wear that covers most of your body (in the summer), or several layers of warm clothing (in the winter).
You also need the right shoes. A good set of hiking shoes are a must in order to keep your feet safe from the harsh terrain. Last but not least, top it off with a pair of shades and a hat to shield yourself from the sun.
Plenty of Water
When you’re hiking, you probably won’t have access to clean water. In addition, you’ll be physically exerting yourself, and the sweat that you build-up will soon have you clamoring for some water.
Make sure that you bring plenty of water so that you can stay hydrated over the course of your hike. The last thing you want to do is cut short your hike because you’re feeling dehydrated. Not only is that an unfortunate way to spend an afternoon, but it’s also plenty dangerous.
A Hiking Backpack (If Overnight)
If you’re carrying a lot of gear and plan to be hiking overnight, then a hiking backpack is a must. The messenger bag that you use to tote your computer to the office or the bookbag that served you faithfully all through college simply won’t cut it here.
A hiking backpack is designed in a way to make the burden of the load as light as possible. The way it does this is by transferring the weight of the load from your shoulders and back to your hips with a hip belt. This makes walking around underneath the load far easier, and you’ll be able to carry all the essentials you need for a longer hiking trip.
If you’re going to be gone overnight, then you’ll need camping gear. At a bare minimum, this includes a tent and a sleeping bag. If you’re also planning to cook a bit while you’re camping, then you’ll also have to consider bringing along cooking utensils as well as something with which to start a fire.
Regardless of whether or not you’re staying overnight, a hammock is a must if you’re hiking anywhere that has an abundance of vegetation. There’s no telling where you might find a beautiful spot with a great view with two trees spaced just right.
You’ll be wanting to stop and take a couple of hours to nap and rest in the beauty of the scene, and there’s no better way to do that than in a hammock!
Most hiking trails will give you plenty of gorgeous views that you can enjoy with the naked eye. But by getting a pair of good binoculars, you’ll take things up a notch.
The next time to reach the summit of a hill, you’ll be able to see miles and miles away in close detail. You might even get the chance to spot some wildlife if you come in the right season!
A Map and a Compass
Too many movies have been made about hikers getting lost and bad things going down for you to forget the most essential of hiking tips — bring a map and a compass! Don’t rely on the navigation that you have saved on your phone.
You probably won’t have reception for too long if you’re hiking in a remote location, not to mention no way to charge your device should it run out of battery. You’ll want a physical map that you can use to trace your route out, as well as a compass so that you know that you’re heading in the right direction.
Don’t let the prospect of getting lost scare you off, though — as long as you stick to the trail, you should be A-okay.
Last but not least, make sure to bring a buddy! Hikes are always far more enjoyable when experienced with a close friend. Nothing brings people closer together than trips together and shared memories.
Not only so, but a hike is also far safer with a buddy. In the unlikely event that one of you becomes injured, the other will be able to ensure the injured friend’s safety and get help when needed.
Know What to Bring on a Hike
There you have it — everything that you need to know about what to bring on a hike. Each of these are essentials, so make sure you take some time to plan out where you’re going and what you need to bring!
If you’re not a frequent hiker, remember that a lot of the gear mentioned above can be rented from outdoor stores for a much lower cost than the full price of the gear. That way, you’re not stuck with paying for and then having to store equipment that you won’t be regularly using.
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