Everything You Need When Going Hiking
You’ve planned an outdoor excursion with family or friends, but now the time has come to pack. Do you know what you really need when going hiking? Follow our list below and you’ll have all the essentials to keep you safe and comfortable for your adventure!
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Wearing a comfortable outfit can make take a hiking trip from good to awesome. Cushy socks in a quick-drying fabric ensure your feet won’t take you out of the game too early. Loose and stretchy clothes in moisture-wicking materials allow you to move freely and ensure you won’t feel sweaty and gross no matter how long your adventure lasts. To get designer activewear that will keep you comfy all day long, check out TJ Maxx. They have a huge selection of brands like Reebok, Nike, Adidas, and more for a steal!
No matter what the time of year, dress in layers (or at least pack some extra cold-weather clothes in your bag). The tops of mountains and the interiors of caves are chilly all year round! Start with a lightweight tank or t-shirt in a moisture-wicking fabric to keep you cool and comfy. Then add a fleece sweatshirt or a long-sleeved t-shirt on top if your arms get cold so you can enjoy your hike without shivering.
Even if the weatherman is calling for a perfectly sunny day, remember to pack some rain gear just in case. Ponchos are great because they fold up super small to fit into your backpack. On the other hand, a waterproof, breathable jacket works even better at keeping you safe from the elements. You won’t get all sweaty and gross but you won’t be soaked with rainwater, either.
When you’re trekking up a mountain, nothing is worse than having sore feet. Whether they are tired from lack of support, rubbed raw, or riddled with blisters, foot problems will definitely cut your hike short. That’s why wearing a pair of high-quality, well-fitting boots is key for a hiking trip! Unlike sneakers, proper hiking boots keep both your feet and your ankles supported as you explore uneven terrain. They also have a sturdier tread on the bottom so you don’t slip on rocks or loose ground. A higher top, especially when worn with thick socks, can even protect you from ticks and other insects during the warmer months.
Hiking can take a lot out of you in no time at all. That’s why packing plenty of nutritious, energy-boosting snacks is key to a hiking trip of any length. Whether you choose to buy ready-made snacks or prepare your own at home, make sure you pack more than you think you’ll need. Running out of food during an emergency makes a bad situation even worse!
Sources of complex carbs like whole-grain crackers, pretzels, and sweet potato chips are perfect for hiking. They keep your body fueled and even help replace the electrolytes you lost during your sweaty trek. Dried fruit is another yummy way to get a quick burst of energy. It won’t get damaged in your bag like fresh fruit but it’s still packed with fiber and calories to keep you going for hours. My favorites are pineapple, raisins, and apricots but health food stores have dehydrated versions of nearly every fruit out there. Don’t forget the protein! Nuts, seeds, puffed quinoa bars, and beef jerky are all packed with protein to help your muscles recover after a day of physical activity and give you the energy you need to finish your hike.
Lots of Water
Of all the things you need when going hiking, water is at the tippy-top of the list. As a general rule, try to pack between 2 and 4 liters of water per person for a summertime hike. If you’re a heavy sweater or it is crazy hot outside, bring even more to be safe. Though carrying all that liquid can feel heavy on your back, you’ll be thankful you have it after sweating for hours.
Metal water bottles are great for hiking because they are sturdy, but they can really weigh you down. To lighten the load in your backpack, try a BPA-free plastic bottle or even an easy-to-use water reservoir with a drinking tube. In case you run out of clean water, you can also pack water purification tablets. That way you can drink whatever water is around you.
Accidents happen, especially if you’re kind of a klutz like me. You could be having a perfectly lovely hike and end up twisting an ankle, suffering from a bee sting, or scraping your knees. That’s why I always have first-aid supplies wherever I go, but especially on outdoor excursions. While you don’t have to pack the entire huge box like they had at Girl Scout Camp, here are some essentials you definitely need when going hiking.
- Bandages (both stick-on and the wrap-around kind) and gauze
- Sticky tape that can be used on skin
- Tiny scissors
- Pain relievers
- Sterilizing wipes or ointment
- Tweezers (for those pesky bee stingers and splinters)
- An Epi-Pen if you have severe allergies
- Cream or spray to relieve the itch and pain of insect stings and bites
- Disposable gloves
- Hydrocortisone cream
No one wants to get trapped in the woods in an emergency. Luckily, packing smart can help you get through any number of mishaps! A flashlight with extra batteries ensures you won’t get caught in the dark while flint and steel or matches ensure you can stay warm during the night. Sunscreen and lip balm protect your skin from painful burns. Pack a knife or multi-tool to solve all kinds of emergencies and a whistle in case you get lost. Finally, a tarp and a quick-dry towel are great for if you get caught in the rain. Need a one-stop shop for all the gear you need when going hiking? Check out Moosejaw to find everything on this list and more!
Maps and a Compass
As someone with absolutely no sense of direction, I can’t stress the importance of maps enough. A hiker’s worst nightmare is getting lost in the middle of nowhere with no way to call for help and limited supplies. Be prepared by packing maps and a compass on your next trek. If you plan to hike in a less deserted area, you can even use a GPS (including the one built into your phone). Going off the beaten path can be fun, but make sure you’re prepared to get back on track before nightfall.
Now that you have a packing list of everything you need when going hiking, it’s time to get going! Follow our tips and you’re sure to have the awe-inspiring experience only nature can provide.