13 Things to Take on Every Day Hike
Being comfortable and prepared are the two most important things hikers can do to have the most enjoyable experience possible and it doesn't take much to get there. We've put together a list of 13 basics that will help make your day-hike a pleasurable adventure.
What do you take with you? Let us know in the comments.
Making sure your feet are comfortable at all times is probably the most important action you can take to improve your overall hiking experience. The foot is a rather amazing part of the body and should be treated with respect. By taking care of your feet, you're also taking care of your ankles, knees, hips and back. If you're not sure what to get, locally owned sporting goods stores are generally happy to let you try on a few pairs and the staff is very knowledgeable as they live and adventure in the same outdoor playgrounds as you.
Socks have come a long way and technology has created a market that offers a pair of socks for almost any situation. As with boots, it's important that the fit of the sock is considered. You're less likely to get blisters with a proper fitting sock and the right fabric will help regulate the temperature within.
There are just some things you're going to need to take with you when you go hiking so having a well-made, comfortable backpack can make your hike significantly better. You don't need anything fancy or expensive, just something that will hold your keys, food, phone, first-aid kit and other hike necessities. For water, we recommend a backpack that has a spot for a hydration bladder.
To avoid shoulder, neck and back pain, head to your local outfitter, try on a few packs and get some advice from the staff. Make sure to put some weight in the pack while you're trying them on so you get a more realistic idea of how it's going to feel.
Hydration Bladder -
The general convenience of a hydration bladder and the fact that you'll likely drink more water using one while you're on the trail makes it worth the investment. Most bladders will hold up 3 liters, some more, and we suggest a high-quality one to avoid leaks and the plastic taste that comes with some cheaper bladders.
Hiking burns calories and for both safety and endurance it's important to give your body the calories it needs to get you out and back.. The science behind foods can get pretty intimidating but packing the right foods doesn't need to be. Fruits, proteins and good fats are a few things that generally work.
Maintaining body fluids is important for your body's natural cooling system. It also keeps joints lubricated and promotes cardiovascular health. We cannot stress the importance of staying hydrated before, during and after a hike. Fortunately, most bladders are designed to hold more water than the typical day hiker would need so fill it to the top and be on your way.
Sunblock, Hat, Sunglasses -
The sun is not your friend and it's important to protect yourself, even on days when it doesn't seem so bad. In addition to some sun glasses and a little sunblock, a lightweight sun hat is perfect for protecting your head, face, neck and ears.
1st Aid Kit -
Whether you decide to buy a first-aid kit or build your own, it's an important part of any hike. This is one of those low-effort / high-reward type of things that you won't regret including in your pack. There may be sprained ankles, blisters, cuts and other things one would expect to encounter while out hiking but it's also things like aspirin, icy hot and eye wash that can make a huge difference in how your day goes.
Compass / Map / GPS -
It's okay to trust your gut when you're out hiking but it doesn't hurt to verify what it's telling you. A good compass and a map of the area you're hiking can help you navigate out of some tricky situations.
Comfortable Clothing -
For many day hikes, whatever you're comfortable wearing should suffice. As you begin to take on more challenging trails and distances, layering, weight, the clothing's material become more important. What you wear and how you layer depends on your environment but cotton should be avoided. Cotton absorbs sweat and holds it which affects your body's ability to regulate itself and will make a nice hike turn uncomfortable pretty quickly.
Multi-Use Tool -
A good, multi-use tool will serve many purposes on the trail, while camping and in a number of other situations. If well taken care of, it will last for years and will pay for itself many times over. Resources included in many multi-use tools vary but most include a knife, scissors, wire cutters and pliers. Most even come with a bottle opener so there's that.
You may want to hike a little more of a trail as you're losing light, catch an incredible sunset from a remote location or you might just lose track of time, but suddenly, you're out there and it's dark. A good headlamp is low-cost, lightweight and like your first-aid kit, becomes ultra-valuable when it's time to call it into use. Don't forget extra batteries
Bug Spray -
When you head out into nature, it's inevitable that you're going to be dealing with some bugs. A little bug spray will go a long way in helping you stay bite free and bugs can go about their day too.
Written by NorCal CK for Norcalpulse.com