From safety supplies to helpful extras, we’ve taken the guess work of what to pack for your next hiking expedition. Read on for a list of what you need to have with you when you hit the trails.
First Aid Kit
Whether you’re headed out for an hour on a heavily populated path or a week in the back country, you need a first aid kit. The degree to which it’s stocked depends on the intensity of your adventure but always ensure that you’ve got the basics covered. A simple starter kit should always include bandages in several sizes, moleskin for blisters, scissors, tweezers, sterile cotton pads, medical tape, insect repellent, pain relievers, antibiotic ointment, and any sort of environmentally-specific extras that you may need (think: snakebite kits)
While the hope is always that you won’t need it, you should never, ever, hit the trail without a whistle. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to call attention to yourself, startle an aggressive animal, or just let someone know that you’re near, a whistle can prove itself to be indispensable. Most gear stores carry them and they’re generally inexpensive
At first glance, this may seem like an odd addition to your pack but it soon becomes evident just how handy this multi-purpose sticky stuff really is. Hole in your hydration bladder? Tear in your backpack? Buckle rubbing you in a painful way? Just duct tape it! From repairs to minor first aid, duct tape is the ultimate tool to have in your repertoire. Don’t leave home without it.
Notepad and Pen
When spending time on the trails, it’s inevitable that you’ll come across things that you want to remember. Whether it be a new-to-you species of bird, a reminder to turn left at a particular fork in the path, or just general musings on the beauty of it all, there’s no better way to revisit those amazing moments than by flipping through your own personal field notes. Make an effort to jot a few things down as you go- you’ll thank yourself later.
Nothing crushes the spirits of even the most upbeat hiker than ominous storm clouds midway through an epic hike. Even if the forecast promises nothing but sweet sunshine, it doesn’t hurt to keep a compact rain jacket in your pack. Easy to transport and small enough that it won’t take much space, it’s just not worth leaving it behind. If the weatherman is predicting precipitation, it’s a good idea to arm yourself with something a little more heavy duty. A water suit, rain pants, and pack cover are all good places to start.
It’s a no-brainer but bears repeating. Even if you’re just going for a quick jaunt, you need to bring fuel. Hiking is a physically exerting activity and it’s important that you compensate for the energy that you’re expending. No need to get too fancy, everything ends up tasting amazing mid-hike so even a simple sandwich will taste like gourmet fare. Homemade trail mix, granola bars, dried fruit, and nuts are all excellent options for grab-and-go nourishment. Just as important as food is water. Fill up your water bottle and sip often throughout the day to avoid dehydration.