Whether you are a novice or experienced hiker, the 10 Essentials for hiking is non-negotiable when you pack your backpack. When you are hiking you need to go out with the mindset that anything can happen. And it often does. You need to be as prepared as possible.
The 10 essentials for hiking are practical items you need in your hiking backpack. Knowledge and skills are things you will learn and get better with each time you are out on trails. Building up experience comes with time.
Here are the 10 Essentials for Hiking
You will need a map and compass. And you need to know how to use them. With the availability of technology, many people never use maps and have never used a compass. Study the map before you leave and make sure you know how to use your compass. You can always take a GPS too but it is optional to the compass and map.
To make sure your hands are free, pack a headlamp with spare batteries. Even when you plan to only go out for the day, anything can happen and you might find yourself still out there in the dark.
3. First Aid
For a day trip, you can get away with a few things less. Needless to say, the longer the trip, the bigger first aid kit you will need. Regardless how long you are going to hike, your first aid kit should always at least have the following: protective gloves, bandage, scissors, blister dressings, pocket mask and SAM splint.
A multitool is versatile and take very little space but so handy. It can be used for anything from repairs of your gear to first aid.
I have days where I can go all day without food and then there are days where I eat non-stop. Those days happen on hikes too. To me, that is an emergency but also for real emergencies, you always need to be prepared with extra food e.g. high energy bars or dry food.
Getting dehydrated on a hike will ruin the hike and result in the need for emergency services. Rather avoid that and make sure you take enough water.
I have been in a situation where we got lost on a short, day trip and ran out of water. We were right next to a dam but couldn’t drink the water because nobody had water purification tablets. It is a good idea to always have something to purify your water. Lesson learned.
When you are hiking you are exposed. Weather changes can happen quickly and the weatherman often gets it wrong. Always have a set of dry clothes and rain protection in your backpack.
An emergency blanket will keep you warm and dry in an emergency. Of possible, have one with bright colors making it easier to be detected in case a search party needs to come find you.
9. Sun protection
You never realize how sunburnt you get while hiking. The pain comes later. Prevent that with having proper sunscreen or at least wear a hat.
10. Safety Items
I know there are ways to make a fire without matches but do you really want to go all primitive? Take enough matches to start a fire and remember to keep them in a waterproof bag. A folding saw is not necessary but could come in quite handy.
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Yes, I know I said 10 but here is number 11. Cell phones need to be on the list. Cell phones are not only part of our everyday lives but can save lives. Keep your phone in your backpack and enjoy your hike but know that it is there for an emergency.
For the times where you want to switch off from the world and go places where there is no cell phone signal, consider taking a satellite communication device that will allow you to contact someone in case of an emergency.
It is time to go pack your backpack. Have you list ready so you don’t get caught off guard out in the woods. Enjoy your next trip while building a stronger life.