Heading out on a hike this season? There are some key items you don’t want to forget to make sure your next hiking adventure is fun, safe, and comfortable.
One of the best ways to make sure you have everything you need is to have a pre-hike checklist.
Whether it’s a quick jaunt through nature or reaching some of the country’s highest peaks, these are all good things to have with you on your journey.
Just because it’s obvious doesn’t mean it isn’t essential. Unless you feel like juggling everything up and down a mountain, a backpack is a must. Hiking backpacks holding between 20-35 L is preferred, especially for longer outings.
First aid kit
Just packing a couple of Hello Kitty Band-Aids and calling it a day won’t work. The more advanced the hike, the more advanced the kit needs to be, but some basics include medical tape, alcohol wipes, non-stick gauze, hand sanitizer, and band-aids.
Extra change of clothes
If for no other reason than you don’t want to drive back from your hike in gross hiking clothes. It also helps if you are hit with some surprise weather, and you need to warm up or if you fall and need some replacements. And it’s never a bad thing to have an extra layer around in case things get colder than you anticipated.
Food and water
Look, no one plans on getting lost in the wilderness, but you also can’t pack 30 days’ worth of food just in case. A good balance is key. At minimum, bring enough bars, trail mix, apples, and bananas to get you to your destination and back, with some extra in case of detours. For water, you shouldn’t walk out the door with less than 2 L. Bringing some water tablets along in case of emergency is a good call as well.
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These can save quite a bit of time and are so convenient. If you get one to store at the top of your backpack and make sure the nozzle is out and easily accessible, you can save yourself a few water breaks by drinking on the go.
Absolutely, 100%, always, always, always bring bear spray. Bears don’t care about your plans, they are out living their lives. If that involves spotting you on a hike and you don’t have this, it can get dangerous quickly. And don’t just pack it at the bottom of the bag just because the nice Daily Hive writer told you to bring it. Have it attached to something where you can access it easily. A bear charging at you isn’t the best time to need precise movements to unhook it.
You’ve never seen a movie where the plot was “Oh no, we got lost in the woods even though our GPS was working perfectly,” have you? Of course not. Some paths can get tricky to follow at times, but having something to tell you where you are is a must.
Getting bit by bugs is no fun, and odds are you are going to be a bit sore from your hike afterward. You don’t want to be sore AND itchy, do you? Plus, some bugs carry diseases you don’t want.
I know what you’re thinking, but no, your phone flashlight won’t be enough. If for whatever reason, you are out after dark, you are going to want a quality headlamp to guide you home. They are super easy to wear, and you barely even remember it’s on you unless you need them.