Hiking is a great way to get some fresh air and exercise, but there are a few things you need to make sure you have before you hit the trail. Here’s a quick checklist of what to bring on your next hike!
Hiking gear – what do you need to go hiking?
Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just getting started, you need to make sure you have the right gear before hitting the trails. Here’s a list of essential hiking gear to help you get prepared for your next hike.
Hiking boots: A good pair of hiking boots is essential to protect your feet and provide traction on uneven terrain. Look for a boot that’s comfortable and waterproof with good ankle support.
Hiking socks: To prevent blisters, choose a hiking sock that wicks away moisture and provides cushioning in the heel and toe areas.
Hiking pants: Hiking pants are usually made from quick-drying synthetic materials like nylon or polyester blend. They should be comfortable, loose-fitting, and provide good range of motion. Many hikers prefer convertible pants that can be unzipped at the knee to convert into shorts.
Hiking shirt: A light, breathable shirt will help keep you cool and comfortable on the trail. Choose a shirt made from moisture-wicking material with UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) sun protection.
Hiking hat: A wide-brimmed hat or baseball cap will protect your face and neck from harmful UV rays. Look for a hat with UPF sun protection built into the fabric.
Sunscreen: Don’t forget to apply sunscreen before heading outdoors, even on cloudy days. Choose a sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 or higher, and reapply every two hours or as needed.
Sunglasses: Sunglasses help reduce glare and protect your eyes from harmful UV rays. Look for sunglasses with 100% UV protection rating.
Hiking clothes – what to wear on a hike?
Although what you wear on a hike will to some extent be dictated by the time of year and the weather conditions, there are some items of essential hiking clothing that you should always take with you, whatever the season.
In general, your clothing should be loose fitting and comfortable, so that you can move easily, and it should be made from fabric that will wick away sweat and moisture, to help keep you cool and dry. Synthetic materials such as polyester or nylon are usually best for this, although wool is also a good option.
In addition to your main hiking clothes, you’ll also need a few extras in case of bad weather or unexpected emergencies. A waterproof jacket and trousers are essential, even if the forecast is good when you set off – conditions can change very quickly in the mountains. It’s also a good idea to pack a hat and gloves, even in summer. If you’re hiking in winter, or at any time when there is snow on the ground, you’ll need warm base layers, an insulated jacket and trousers, hat, scarf and gloves.
Finally, don’t forget your footwear. Walking boots are essential for longer hikes, but if you’re just going out for a short walk or hike in easy terrain, then trail shoes or running shoes will be fine.
Hiking boots – what are the best hiking boots?
Assuming you don’t have a pair of suitable walking boots already, this is the most important item of hiking equipment to invest in. Boots are often the most expensive item of gear but they are worth every penny – if you get a good pair that is. A good pair of hiking boots will last for years and will be far more comfortable than any other type of shoe, making your hikes more enjoyable.
When choosing walking boots, you need to decide what type you want. There are three main types:
- Walking shoes – these are low-cut shoes that offer little ankle support but are very lightweight and comfortable. They are ideal for easy trails and day hikes but aren’t suitable for more challenging hikes or carrying a heavy backpack.
- Hiking boots – these offer more support and protection than walking shoes, making them ideal for longer hikes and carrying a heavier backpack. They can be relatively heavy and bulky though, so might not be suitable for really easy trails or hot weather hikes.
- Backpacking boots – these offer the most support and protection of all, making them ideal for carrying a very heavy backpack over long distances or difficult terrain. They can be quite bulky and heavy though so aren’t suitable for shorter hikes or hot weather hikes.
Hiking backpacks – what are the best hiking backpacks?
When planning a hike, one of the most important pieces of gear you will need is a good backpack. There are many different types and designs of hiking backpacks on the market, so it can be difficult to choose the right one for your needs.
The best way to choose a hiking backpack is to first consider what type of hike you will be doing. Are you planning a day hike or an overnight trip? Will you be carrying a lot of gear, or just the essentials? Once you have a good idea of what you need, you can narrow down your choices and find the best hiking backpack for your adventure.
Hiking food – what food to take on a hike?
There is no one answer to this question as it depends on a number of factors, such as the length of the hike, the terrain, the weather, and your personal preferences. However, there are some general guidelines that can help you plan your hiking food.
Energy bars and gels are a popular choice for hikers as they are lightweight and easy to carry. They can provide a quick energy boost when needed and are easy to eat on the go. However, they are not always the most nutritious option and can be expensive if you are hiking for multiple days.
Another option is to pack trail mix or other snacks that you can eat throughout the day. This is a good way to get a variety of nutrients and it can be easy to find recipes for nutritious and delicious snacks online.
If you will be hiking for more than a few hours, you may want to pack a lunch or dinner. Some hikers like to stop for a picnic lunch, while others prefer to cook their meals over a campfire. There are many freeze-dried meals available that just require water to prepare, which can be a convenient option if you don’t want to deal with cooking on the trail.
Whatever food you decide to take on your hike, be sure to pack enough for everyone in your group and enough to last the entire trip. It’s also important to think about how easy it will be to carry your food – you may want to pack lightweight items that don’t take up too much space in your backpack.
Hiking water – how much water should you take on a hike?
One of the most important – and often most forgotten – items on any hiker’s packing list is water. It’s essential to stay hydrated while hiking, both to maintain energy levels and prevent dehydration. But how much water should you take on a hike?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer, as the amount of water you will need will depend on a number of factors, including the temperature, the difficulty of the hike, and your own individual needs. However, a good rule of thumb is to take 1 liter (about 34 ounces) of water for every 3-4 hours of hiking.
If you are hiking in very hot weather, you may need to drink more than this. It’s also a good idea to carry an extra liter or two in case you get lost or run into other difficulties. And if you are hiking with young children or pets, be sure to pack enough water for them as well.
Dehydration can cause headache, dizziness, cramps, and other problems, so it’s important to drink plenty of fluids while hiking. Water is the best choice, but if you prefer something with flavor, consider packing along some sports drinks or fruit juices. And be sure to rest and drink often – don’t wait until you’re thirsty to take a break!
Hiking trails – where to find the best hiking trails?
There are many wonderful hiking trails all over the world, so it can be hard to decide where to go. However, there are a few factors you can take into consideration to help you find the best hiking trails for your needs.
One factor to consider is the difficulty of the trail. If you are a beginner, you will want to find a trail that is not too challenging, so you can enjoy the hike without getting too frustrated. On the other hand, if you are an experienced hiker, you might be looking for a more challenging trail. Another factor to consider is the length of the trail. Some trails are only a few miles long, while others can be over 100 miles long. You will want to choose a trail that is the right length for your hiking goals.
Finally, another factor to consider when choosing hiking trails is the scenery. Some trails offer beautiful views of mountains or forests, while others might take you through more urban areas. Think about what kind of scenery you would like to see on your hike before choosing a trail.
Hiking safety – how to stay safe while hiking?
Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just starting out, safety should always be your number one priority. Here are a few tips to help you stay safe while hiking:
-Plan your hike before you go. Make sure you know the route, and have a map or GPS device with you.
-Dress appropriately for the conditions. In cold weather, make sure you have enough layers to keep you warm. In hot weather, wear light-colored clothing and a hat to protect yourself from the sun.
-Wear proper footwear. Make sure your shoes are comfortable and provide good support. In wet weather, wear shoes with good traction to prevent slipping.
-Bring plenty of food and water. You’ll need energy to hike, and it’s important to stay hydrated.
-Leave a trip plan with someone at home. Let them know where you’re going and when you expect to return home.
-Administer first aid if needed. If someone is injured, take care of them first before continuing on your hike. Be sure to bring a first aid kit with you on your hike.
-Hike with a friend whenever possible. There’s safety in numbers, and it’s more fun to hike with someone else anyway!