Essentials For Your Next Hike
What To Pack For Your Next Hiking Adventure
Struggling with what to take on your hiking trip? Packing for a hike can sometimes feel like a daunting task. You don’t want to bring every piece of gear you own (guilty!), but you want to bring along enough to be prepared. Whether you have many hikes under your belt or are gearing up for your first trek, it’s important to know what to take hiking with you. What hiking accessories you bring with you can set you up to have a safer and more enjoyable hike. Here’s a good hiking gear list to get you started:
You might be thinking that you don’t need trekking poles, but your knees will thank you later. Trekking poles can be a great way to distribute your weight while hiking and they can take a lot of pressure off of your knees. They are great for both uphill and downhill travel and can easily collapse down and attach to your pack when you don’t need them.
Even if you’re going on a hike you have done a million times it’s important to bring some sort of navigation with you. Keep it old-school with a map and compass or invest in a gps device. These gadgets not only help you navigate your hike, but many also have the ability to send messages to loved ones to keep the up to date on where you’re or even send and S.O.S message to search and rescue if you need help.
Now that you know where you are going and how to get there, you should make sure that you can see where you are going. Whether you’re doing a sunrise or sunset hike or maybe your hike just went later than you expected, having a good headlamp or flashlight is essential for lighting your way.
While it’s nice to get out into the woods and unplug for a bit, you don’t want to be caught with a dead cell phone or gps with no way to charge them. A cell phone (if you have reception) or a gps can be useful tools for navigation or reaching the outside world if you need help, but they need to be charged. Bringing along a rechargable powerbank is a great way to make sure you’ll have power on your devices when you need it.
Accidents can happen on any hike. That’s why it’s good to be prepared. It can be as small as a scrape or bruise. Or maybe you need a splint for a sprained ankle. Having a good first aid kit on your essential hiking gear list can keep you safe on whatever hike you choose. You can find a variety of different medical kits that you can tailor to your needs.
A sunburn can ruin a hike and put you at-risk for skin-related problems in the future. it’s important to protect yourself from sun damage while you hike. You have a few different options when it comes to sun protection, but we recommend using a combination. First off, a good SPF lotion is a must and a stylish hat can help keep the rays out of your eyes and protect your scalp. You could also look into a sun shirt to protect your arms if sunscreen isn’t your thing. Sun shirts are made of lightweight materials so they will keep you protected from the sun without making you too hot. Don’t forget a quality pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes!
This might seem pretty obvious, but making sure you have the right amount of water for your hike is important. Bringing along a durable water bottle or hydration pack can ensure you’re staying hydrated.
You’re going to be sweating a lot on your hike so you want to be able to not only rehydrate, but also replenish the electrolytes you’re losing through your sweat. Using electrolyte chews or powder that can be added to your water can help keep the pep in your step through your hike.
While on the subject of hydration, if you are doing a long hike or simply find yourself without enough water, a water filter can literally be a life saver. You can’t simply refill your water bottle or hydration pack with water from a river or lake, you need to filter it to make it safe for drinking. There are many different kinds of water filters you can choose from depending on your needs.
After all of the hydrating you are doing, you are probably going to need to use the bathroom at some point. The thing is, there isn’t always going to be an outhouse or toilet nearby. Sometimes you have to go in the woods. Before you head out on your trip, make sure you know what the regulations are where you are going. Some places ask that you carry out your waste while others simply say to dig a cat hole. Bring along some toilet paper or if you are a person who squats to pee, you might want to look into a reusable pee cloth. Some hand sanitizer to clean your hands after is also a great idea to keep the germs at bay.
Whether they are homemade or store bought, snacks are a must for any hiking gear list! While not technically hiking gear, it would be hard to get through a hike without them. Bars, jerky, and trail mixes are all great items to bring on a hike because they are easy to snack on while you walk. And nothing beats a homemade peanut butter and jelly when you’re sitting on the summit!
Ultimately what you bring on your hike is going to depend on the area you’re hiking in, the weather expected where you’re going, the length of your hike, and the difficulty of the terrain. Some of the hiking accessories on this list check off a few of the categories on The Ten Essentials. Making sure you’re prepared for your hike ensures that you have a fun and safe time while enjoying your time out in the woods. Now that you have some ideas on what to take hiking in your pack, it’s time to go plan your next hike!
For more tips on planning your next hike, check out our article: What Every Hiker Should Know
Sarah Kendal is a freelance writer and avid hiker located in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. You can find her hiking adventures on her Instagram or TikTok @sarahwritesandhikes.