Essential Hiking Gear Checklist: 7 Important Items to Bring on a Hike
Not only is hiking a great workout, but studies actually show that being in nature can help boost your mood and lower your stress levels.
Plus, let’s not forget how affordable and convenient hiking is – all you have to do is hop in your car and head to a trail!
But, with all the benefits that hiking brings, your day out hiking can easily take a turn for the worse. Although it’s not common, hiking-related injuries and even deaths do happen.
That’s why it’s very important that you bring the right hiking gear with you so you can stay safe and have fun. So, what do you need to bring with you?
Check out this guide to learn about the essential things to bring with you on a hike.
1. Water, Water, and More Water
Water is perhaps the most important thing to bring with you on your hiking trip.
No matter the length of the hike, you should bring at least one full 32-ounce bottle of water and one full back up bottle.
If you hate the idea of lugging water bottles around with you, then consider investing in a water bladder. Water bladders can easily be tucked into your backpack, and the best part about them is that they come with nozzles that you can sip from. This means that every time you want a drink, you don’t have to stop, open your bag, and take out your water bottle.
The exact amount of water you’ll need for your hike will depend on a number of different factors. But in general, you should plan to bring about 2 cups of water for every one hour of hiking.
With water, it’s always good to overpack. Worst case scenario, you burn a few extra calories because of your heavy load and you have some leftover water at the end of your hike!
2. Hike-Appropriate Clothing
Wearing the right clothing hiking isn’t just about wearing shorts when it’s hot outside and wearing pants when it’s cold outside.
For hiking, you need to make sure you’re choosing the right types of clothing materials.
On your hike, you’re most likely going to sweat up a storm. If you’re not wearing the right materials, that sweat will dry onto your body and make you cold. Or, if you’re hiking in cold weather, the wrong material simply won’t protect you against the conditions.
All of your clothing should have moisture-wicking properties. The best moisture-wicking materials are synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon. Wool is also considered a moisture-wicking material.
However, don’t worry too much about figuring out the specific materials. If you head to a sporting goods store, most moisture-wicking material will be labeled as such.
3. Hiking Boots
While a lot of people wear tennis shoes on a hike and do just fine, you really should invest in a good pair of hiking boots if you plan to go on more intense hikes.
Hiking boots are a better option than tennis shoes because they have better grips on the bottom. This can help prevent slipping and falling. Hiking boots also offer way more ankle support than running shoes.
During a hike, it’s pretty easy to step on a rock wrong and twist your ankle. But with the right ankle support, you won’t have to worry about doing any serious damage.
Also, most hiking shoes are waterproof, which will be a huge lifesaver if the rain ever hits you when hiking.
Also, make sure you pair your hiking boots with the right hiking socks. Your hiking socks should be thick and moisture-wicking. Don’t ever wear regular socks hiking, as this is a recipe for blistered feet.
4. First-Aid Kit
As we said earlier, hiking injuries aren’t super common, but they do happen. To prepare for the worst, you should always bring a first aid kit with you when hiking.
Your first aid kit should include the following at a minimum:
- Medical tape
- Antiseptic wipes
- Antibiotic cream
- Safety pins
Also, make sure you include any personal medical items, like an inhaler or an EpiPen.
5. Hiking Backpack
Of course, you’re going to need somewhere to put all the gear you’re bringing, which is why it’s essential to buy a hiking backpack.
Now, a hiking backpack isn’t the same as a backpack you’d use for your laptop or school supplies.
You’ll want your backpack to be lightweight and to also have moisture-wicking properties.
While hiking backpacks are definitely more expensive than regular backpacks, they’re made of durable materials that last a very long time.
It’s estimated that you burn as many as 440 calories per hour of hiking. With all this calorie-burning, you’re going to need to refuel yourself with some snacks.
We suggest packing things that are light and easy to clean up. Trail mix, protein bars, sandwiches, apples, and beef jerky are all great snack options for hiking.
7. Navigation Tools
Most hiking trails these days are clearly marked. And, if you’re going on a well-known hike, you’re likely going to be surrounded by others. However, it’s still smart to bring a navigation tool with you, just in case you take a wrong turn.
If the situation became dire, a map and a compass could easily save your life, so don’t forget to pack these items.
Hiking Gear: Are You Ready for Your Hike?
Now that you have this list of essential hiking gear, you’re ready for your hike!
As we said earlier, hiking is truly one of the most enjoyable activities. So get out there and enjoy nature!
Also, don’t forget to tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back, just in case.