What to Take with You on a Day Hike
Take a hike! No, literally, let’s go take a hike. Hiking is a relaxing and wonderful way to adventure. You get to experience new places and enjoy the beautiful scenery around you. However, you do not want to set off unprepared. Here are a few things you need to take with you when you’re going on a day hike.
1. Water and/or Water Purification
The number one thing you need is water. You will be using more water than usual, too, since you’ll be very active while hiking. Depending on where you’re hiking, there might not be water available. So, plan accordingly and make sure you have enough water for yourself and a little extra in case you have an emergency.
You can also take water purification with you if you want to be extra prepared. You can buy purification water bottles that you simply fill with water and it purifies the water as you drink. You can also get something like a LifeStraw that allows you to drink directly from freshwater sources. No matter what you bring, it’s always good to have a backup water purification system in case you run out of water or there is an emergency.
2. Layer Up
Depending on where you are hiking, you will also want to dress in or bring along some layers. You might assume it’ll be cold, but you might find that as you hike you get rather warm and sweaty. So, being able to take off layers can be really helpful. The same is true for the cold. You might think it’s going to be a warm hike and end up with wind or rain. So, watch the weather and bring along an extra layer for warmth in your bag just in case. Mother Nature is beautiful, but she is unpredictable and can throw curveballs.
3. Lizard Tail Belt
You definitely don’t want your pants falling down while you’re hiking, and you probably don’t want to wear your nicest leather belt. So, opt for a more outdoor-appropriate belt, such as the Lizard Tail Belt. These belts are made from sturdy rope and utilize strong knotless technology. They also come in a wide variety of colors, patterns and sizes. So, there’s one for everyone. The belt might also come in handy in a pinch since it’s made of rope.
4. Sturdy Backpack
You’ll want to take a sturdy but lightweight backpack along. While not required, it’s much easier to hike with your hands free and with an easy way to carry things. You’ll want a place for water, sunscreen, a warm top layer and more. A backpack just makes it much easier. Just don’t pack too much or you might have a tough time carrying it.
Make sure you’re taking plenty of good snacks on your hike. Granola bars, trail mix, sandwiches, etc. can all make great meals and snacks. It’s also always good to carry a little extra in case you get delayed. It’s good to make sure as many of the snacks as possible are non-perishable. You won’t have a refrigerator with you, and there’s nothing worse than hiking and running out of snacks when you can’t easily get more.
6. Charger for Your Phone
While you might not be using your phone much, it’ll be helpful to bring along a portable charger. It can help you get access to maps, help and your camera so you can document your trip. Make sure you have your portable charger as well as all of the needed cords. This could also be very useful in an emergency.
7. First Aid Kit
This is critical to have with you. You might end up getting a small cut that needs to be sanitized or it could be a bit worse. While fun, hiking can also be dangerous and unpredictable. So, take some of the unpredictability away from the experience by bringing a first aid kit to patch yourself up as needed.
8. Good Hiking Shoes
There is nothing worse than walking for hours and hours on rough terrain in uncomfortable shoes. So, make sure you wear comfortable socks that wick away moisture (you will sweat) and wear breathable shoes with arch support. Make sure you’ve broken in the shoes too, or that could be a nightmare as well. Hiking is not the place to break in a new pair of hiking boots. You’ll have blisters for days and sore, sore legs.
9. Sun Protection
No matter where you’re hiking and what weather conditions are like, you need sun protection. Direct exposure to the sun all day long could create a risk of burns and irritated skin. So, make sure you wear sunscreen and bring along a travel-sized bottle of sunscreen for your backpack. You’ll want to read the instructions and re-apply your sunscreen accordingly as it can sweat off or become less effective after a few hours. Also, take along a wide-brimmed hat. While not the most fashionable, your face, neck, back and chest will thank you later when you’re not nursing a horrible sunburn.
10. Emergency Kit
Lastly, remember to take a small emergency kit. At the bare minimum, bring along some rope, a way to start a fire and an emergency blanket or two. All of these items can be used in multiple ways and they can mean the difference between being in danger or being safe. While no one intends to get lost or injured, it happens quite a bit in nature. So, be prepared to hunker down if needed until you can find a way out or be rescued.
While the items you take on your hike will vary greatly depending on its location and the number of hours you’ll be gone, hopefully this list gives you a solid jumping-off point when making your own hiking list. Most importantly, have a great time, stay safe and take a hike!