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For most short day hikes it’s not difficult to plan the route of the trail and be prepared. However, hikes spanning multiple days can be hard to do, especially if you’re new to such adventure. But once you overcome it, the gratification you’ll feel will be unlike any other. To successfully finish a multiple day hiking trip, planning and preparation is key, which you’ll learn more about as you read on.
Before you start packing, you should first pick a trail for your multi-day hike, which will mostly depend on your skill level. If you’re a novice to this type of hike, then you should pick an easy trail, and just work your way up. This way, you can adjust and adapt to the new dynamics of long-term hikes. There are also some very interesting and challenging trails in Asia, Australia, Europe and South America.
Once you’ve picked out an area, explore the available trails in it. Different routes mean different scenes and settings. So, if have a specific view in mind that you want to witness, like a waterfall perhaps, then find a trail that has one.
The trail will also determine how long you’ll have to walk before making it to a viable camping ground. In general, you should aim for a 3 to 10-mile per day hike, depending on your chosen path. You should also know what type of track you plan on tackling, whether it’s a loop, point to point, or if transportation is required.
For your safety, check all local regulations specific to the trail you’ve chosen. Some hiking spots need permits, while others have strict rules on preservations, particularly in terms of handling fire. You can fact-check these via local guidebooks or maps.
Always have a first aid kit with you! A strained ankle can happen very quickly, a cut in the skin from a bush is not very uncommon and other minor injuries happen often while hiking. Just be prepared so you can continue your hike in a healthy and easy way!
Just in case something more serious happens, you should also get acquainted with the closest emergency response agency around the area. Furthermore, studying the common wildlife of the region will give you the knowledge on how to deal with certain animals you might encounter.
What to Pack
What equipment and hiking gear you’ll pack, and how much, will depend on your destination. To ease up this process, you should have a checklist on hand to keep track of your items both before and after the hike.
Here’s what a typical multi-day hike item list is like:
These items will mostly hinge on your hiking site’s weather pattern, as well as the season of the year. If there’s going to be a lot of raining, bring wet-resistant apparels. For summery hikes, favor loose fitting hiking clothes. Colder areas and winter season on the other hand requires extra layers and accessories to combat the freezing environment.
- Extra hiking pants or shorts
- Extra underwear
- Synthetic t-shirts
- Layered fleece or hoodie
- Water-proof jackets and pants (rainy areas)
- Lightweight jackets
- Socks (a pair for every 2 days is usually enough)
- Beanies (colder areas)
- Sandals or slip-ons (used at camp)
Unlike with clothing, your hiking destination won’t dramatically affect what cooking tool you should bring. The biggest factor for this category is the type of food you’re planning to cook or eat.
- Hiking stove and fuel
- Portable cooking cutleries and utensils
- Water and water filter
- Food (explained more below)
- Dish cleaning tools
- Plastic plate, bowl, and glass
Multi-day hikes will also involve multiple camp set ups. Therefore, pick quality camping gears that can withstand different weather patterns. Furthermore, pack a sleeping bag that is appropriate for the night atmosphere of your hiking site. Otherwise, you might sweat towards dehydration, or freeze to the bones, if you pick wrong.
- First aid kit
- Matches or lighter
- Navigational tools (maps and compass, or GPS)
- Repair kits (duct tapes and sewing tools)
- Pocket knife or a Swiss army knife
- Documentation tools (camera, phone, or journals)
- Mirror or a whistle
No one wants to go hungry on a hike, especially if it’s a multi-day trip. But, as long as you’re hitting the ideal calorie rate each day (2,500-4,500-cal/ person), you’ll be fine. Filling in your hiking meal timetable is still the same as any regular day, which includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. But this time, the latter meal is given added importance. You don’t have to eat boring canned food but improvise and check out these great backpacking meal recipes.
Here are tips to planning your hike meals:
Repackage your ingredients in more compact bags, and label them per their intended meal time. You can also dehydrate foods with a home dehydrator in order to reduce their weight. Or, you can simply stock up on dried goods more.
Stock up on water
Ideally, a person should have access to 2 liters of drinking water per hike day. But on a multi-day hike, packing water for the entire trip from the get go is impractical, and it will only wear you down because of the added weight.
A simple solution to this is using a water filter and restock from natural water sources along the trail. Therefore, you should study all available water sources (natural or man-made) on your chosen path, ahead of time.
Protect your food
Part of setting up camp is separating your food supplies from your main campsite, which you can further reinforce via animal-proof containers. Hanging your rations from a tree is also a great setup for bear-prone hiking trails.
Don’t be afraid to munch as you go
Multi-day hikes require tons of walks and climbs, thus, you should always keep your energy high. So, don’t be ashamed to nibble on those energy bars, chocolates, nuts, and other snacks, you have hidden in your bag.
Check for allergies
The last thing you need on your hike is someone having a severe anaphylactic shock. Therefore, you should coordinate with your fellow hikers to disclose any known allergies in the group.
If you are going for a multi-day hike, it’s very important that you are well prepared. Planning sufficiently for this activity not only ensures that you have fun but also makes sure that you are safe while on the trail.