Going on a hike for a day or more can be a fun-filled activity. In fact, in the U.S. alone, almost 17 percent of the population preferred to hike as their outdoor activity. Hiking will surely be fun, especially if you packed the right things and all the essentials. However, you cannot just bring anything and everything you want. This is because your backpack only has limited space, and your back is not of Superman. Remember that it’s not just food that you need to bring. You also need to prepare the following essentials.
Clothing for Protection
It is not enough that you have clothes for the forecasted weather. There are times when the weather forecast is different from what is bound to happen in your hiking destination. In reality, even the weather experts cannot always predict the sudden occurrence of heavy rain or storm. But, if you know that you have a waterproof jacket, then you won’t have to spend your hiking hours worrying about the rain. Therefore, you have to bring clothes that will protect you from the weather that’s different from what’s in the forecast.
Every hiker is pretty much aware of the importance of layering clothes. The best thing about layering is that it allows you to just add or subtract every layer depending on how cold or hot the temperature in your environment becomes. Remember that once you are out there, your protection will largely depend on the type of clothes you wear. Besides, your temperature-controlled vehicle is miles away, but if you packed the kind of clothes that will help you get through any weather, the chances are high that you will be able to get back home safe and sound.
Hiking to an unfamiliar destination requires navigation tools. Any hiking activity should not be done without a GPS, compass, or map. Otherwise, you run the risk of getting lost in the middle of nowhere. So, don’t forget to bring your navigation tools such as GPS, map, and compass. You also need to know beforehand the exact location of rest areas, campsites, water sources, maps, compass, and emergency exits. Your map and compass will serve as your backup navigation tool in case your GPS suddenly stops working. Having these tools handy helps you better plan your activities and make your hiking trip fun-filled and less stressful.
Seasoned hikers know that the ability to read a map and use a compass is a very important skill. It also proves to be a life-saver. A compass and map not only serve to tell you where you are and where you should be heading. It will also give you an idea of what’s around you and which is the best or shortest route to your desired location.
Water is one of the most important things that you need to have in your hiking bag. Hiking is a physical activity that requires proper hydration. People who are actively hiking must drink half a liter of water per hour. When temperatures get too hot, you may need more than just half a liter every hour. If you have a complete estimate of your hiking route using a guidebook, it will be easier for you to tell how much water you should bring. You can just calculate the total distance of the route you are planning to hike. Make sure you also have an idea of the speed of your hourly pace in miles. The next step would be to divide this number of the total distance of your hiking route by the speed of your pace.
If you can hike at a distance of 3 miles per hour and then your hiking route is about 9 miles, then you may need to bring with you 1.5 liters of water. However, this calculation may not be fairly accurate if your route not only entails hiking on a flat trail. Going on an uphill climb and going down steep mountains may mean you need to bring more water. So, keep this in mind when packing potable water for your hiking activity. Your drinking water should be placed inside durable water bottles and tucked on the outer part of the backpack for easy access.
Your safety essentials should include a phone, whistle, and mirror. It is even better if you bring a satellite phone. But, you can also bring any phone and make sure you have backup power such as batteries. A phone is truly a life-saver as it could increase your chances of being rescued promptly. Remember to ask the locals in your hiking route about the existence of a phone signal. There are also hiking destinations where there are satellite phones available for rent. Your whistles and mirror will serve as your tool to attract attention. These tools do not need batteries, and they can be a very helpful backup when your phone loses signal. Also, whistles and mirrors are lightweight, so make sure you have these in your backpack or one of your pockets.
A firestarter, match or flint should be brought even when you are planning for a daytime hike. You will never know what could happen out there. If you have these fire starters, you can easily send a signal in case you find yourself in an emergency. Firestarters not only keep you warm at night. But, they also send a signal if ever you’re lost in the middle of the night. A fire starter is also important as it helps you create smoke during the daytime to attract attention. And, of course, do not forget to bring with you a pocket knife or a multi-tool swiss knife or leatherman.
These essentials are what every hiker should bring with them if they are looking to spend a day or more hiking outdoors. With these essentials, it will become easier to enjoy the outdoors, knowing that you have all the safety tools and essential needs with you. Make sure to have these on your packing checklist so you won’t forget a single item.
Photo by Toomas Tartes on Unsplash