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Hiking is an excellent opportunity to relax and get away from the stresses of the real world. You are at one with nature, enjoying the goodness that it brings.
Chances are, you might have worried about the right equipment that you need in order to make your trekking plans perfect. After deciding on locations and getting proper information about them, now is the time to make your own list of essentials.
Let this article become your guide on those necessities for a more enjoyable hiking experience.
If you are planning on going on a short hike, a day pack can get you through the day. It is a small backpack that’s designed without a frame. It can store trekking essentials like water, food, rain gear, additional clothing and other small-sized stuff like insect repellant or a camera.
It is available in plenty of sizes and shapes and many day pack models include several compartments or pockets to store and organize items. It can store extra clothing in case you want to travel to a place with colder or wet climes. It is also an ideal way to carry most of your equipment since it leaves your hands and arms unoccupied.
However, not all day packs are waterproof so consider bringing a rain cover for it in case you have plans to venture to a location with unpredictable weather. A rain cover can be bought in most hiking gear stores. Choose a day pack with secure and sturdy straps and durable material so it will give you plenty years of use.
A backpacking backpack meanwhile will give you more room if you have plans to do overnight hikes. It features internal and external frames to bring stability to the backpack and supporting the weight on your hips instead of on your shoulders. This will make carrying heavier backpacks easier and less tiring. A backpacking backpack must fit well with your length of your upper body and most backpacks have an adjustable frame for better fitting.
Clothing and Footwear
The clothing you will bring with you will majorly depend on the locale, the season, the weather and temperatures. If you are planning hikes during the summer, you won’t need additional clothing while colder/rainy seasons and locations will require you to pack extra.
Mountainous areas will require hikers to pack warm clothing because the weather conditions can change quickly. Wearing layers is often recommended; bring with you a number of lighter layers as compared with lugging heavy ones since each layer you put on will provide extra insulation. Once you start feeling cold or a bit overheated, you can add or take away a layer.
Recommended clothing materials are wool, silk and synthetics since they can still give insulation even when wet. It is alright to wear cotton clothing but it’s even better if you bring along some of them synthetics or wool items.
Heavy socks in synthetic and wool fabrics are the prime choice of hikers everywhere because it provides additional padding in those hiker boots. Plus it provides warmth as well. Wearing liner socks can also help prevent the onset of blisters on your feet due to the boots.
If you like wearing pants, loose nylon ones are your best bets because they let wearers move freely. Shorts meanwhile are nice for hot weather. However, shorts are a disadvantage at times especially if you will be treading backcountry or rugged tracks; your legs are vulnerable to insect bites and scratches as you cross tracks with overgrown bushes.
There are convertible pants available if you want a quick change. The pant legs can be zipped off and you’ll have your shorts in a snap.
Underwear made from synthetics is a better choice as compared with cotton ones since it can get damp with sweat easily.
As for sweaters, wool ones are very much the first choice as well as fleece and synthetics. They are light, sturdy and a number of them can wick humidity.
Windbreakers are recommended for places with rainy, cool or windy weather. They are designed from synthetic materials like nylon and are often light, waterproof or water-resistant.
Pack a pair of light gloves or mittens with you if you plan on trekking in places with temps that are below 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Wool caps or any synthetic cap will provide comfort and warmth for those cold weather hikes. Covering your head with a snug cap will instantly bring the warmth back in your body.
Swimsuits are optional; if you are going to hike within the surrounding area of a river or any body of water on a sunny day, you can pack some swimwear with you if you have plans on swimming. Just remember that swimming isn’t safe everywhere (crocodiles, poisonous water) and that regulations differ with every locality.
Last but not least, a good pair of hiking boots is a must. Hiking boots are designed in a way that it will give hikers comfort and support while treading craggy terrain. Wearing a pair will help minimize fatigue on your feet and decrease your risks of acquiring injury while trekking.
They are padded sufficiently and provide low flexibility at the ankles of your feet. These boots feature treaded lug soles to give excellent traction on a number of surfaces, and these soles are also unyielding to maintain balance. Lastly, they safeguard your feet from water or mud.
It should provide your feet a good deal of support plus flexibility, but not so much flex that your ankles are not protected. Take your time to try out a pair of hiking boots before buying them. There are many different fits and of course boots for men and women.
Other Essential Items
These are other items that you might need. Then again, these items will depend on the weather and your route.
Backpacking tent (buying guide here)
- Sleeping bag (buying guide here)
- Compass and maps
- Hiking GPS unit (buying guide here)
- First-aid kit (with meds)
- Insect repellant
- Sun hat
- Spare batteries
- A small amount of toilet paper
- A small knife with a folding blade
- Hiking pole or walking stick
- Food and water for hiking
It can be tough as a beginner, but in time and with much experience, you will be able to master the list. Prior to the trip, in the course of it and after the hike, take some time to know which items you really need and use most often. Knowing this will help you clear off excess cargo and will make you more practical.
With those basics mentioned above, you will be guaranteed to have a positive, enjoyable and safe hiking trek. Make and bring a checklist with you to ensure that you will gather all of the items you require.