Essentials to Bring on Your Next Hike
Everyone loves a good hike – but being prepared is of the utmost importance. Whether hiking for 3 or 15 miles, it’s best to be ready with ample hydration, protection against the elements, and more. Preparing doesn’t mean carrying ten pounds of supplies with you but knowing what items are essential and what isn't.
It’s important to keep your hydration levels up while hiking in any environment. Ensuring you’ve got a full water bottle, and depending on the length of your hike, maybe a few extras are crucial. However, drinking water on a long hike isn’t always good enough. As your hike progresses, your body will lose electrolytes through sweat, urine, and general bodily functions. Packing our portable, single-serve Keppi Stick Packs will ensure you keep your electrolyte levels up and stay hydrated throughout your hike.
We know it seems obvious, but make sure you know your trail's general path, direction, and length! Most hikes have a map at the beginning of the trail, and we always suggest taking a photo with your phone, so you'll always have a point of reference. Most fitness watches, such as Garmin and Apple Watches, offer a compass and a few other useful gadgets that can make tracking your location much easier. Keeping an offline map on your cellphone is also helpful in case you lose service. Resources like Alltrails can be super helpful for this.
3. Sun Protection
While we love basking in the sun’s warm rays, ensuring your skin is protected against harmful UV rays is essential. Always bring sunglasses, a hat, and sunscreen with you. In the short term, hiking unprotected can lead to sunburn and eye fatigue; in the long term, it can lead to premature skin aging, skin cancer, and cataracts.
4. First Aid
Anything can happen on a hike. While cuts and burns seem like little accidents that don’t need medical attention, they can get infected. It is critical to have and understand the contents of a first-aid kit. Pre-assembled first-aid kits save the guesswork of creating your own, while many people adapt these kits to meet their specific needs. Blister treatments, adhesive bandages of various sizes, multiple gauze pads, adhesive tape, disinfectant ointment, over-the-counter pain medicine, and pen and paper should all be included in each kit. Nitrile gloves should be supplied as well. The contents of your pack will be influenced by the length of your journey and the number of individuals involved. It's also a good idea to keep a little handbook on handling medical crises on hand.
5. Extra Layers
Weather, especially at high altitudes, can change almost instantly. Conditions in the wilderness might suddenly become rainy, windy, or frigid, so it is in your best interest to always pack layers. For longer multiple-day hikes, consider what you would need to survive an unexpected lengthy, idle period out in the elements when determining what to pack - it might seem excessive, but better safe than sorry! A layer of undergarments, an insulating cap or balaclava, extra socks, gloves, and a synthetic jacket or vest are all common possibilities. Bring insulation for your torso and legs for cold trips.
Knives are useful for gear maintenance, food preparation, first aid, kindling, and other emergency requirements, making them an absolute must for every adventure. Every adult in your party should have a knife with them. A simple knife may merely feature a single foldout blade; more complex knives and multitools may contain one or two flathead screwdrivers, a can opener, and a pair of foldout scissors. The more intricate your requirements (for example, leading a novice group), the more options you'll want in your knife or tool.
Even if you’re an experienced hiker, it’s always a good idea to review the essential checklist before hitting the trail. That way, you can be sure to bring everything you need and avoid any unnecessary surprises along the way. What are some of your must-haves when packing for a hike? Let us know in the comments below!