It’s easy to have a great time hiking, but it’s also easy to have a miserable time if you hit the trail unprepared.
Below you will find a list of essentials for the average day hike.
Having the essentials covered will allow you to have a fun and relaxing time.
Just give some thought to these before you leave the house, and you can leave the worries of everyday life behind once you do.
1. Hiking Shoes
One of the best ways to have an awful time on a hike is to be wearing the wrong type of shoes.
They can cause you to develop blisters, sore heels and arches, or may pinch and rub against your foot in the wrong places. This may even happen with a pair of shoes you wear every day, because hiking is likely more strenuous than what you usually put them through.
A comfy pair of runner should be okay for a shorter hike, but you might want to choose actual hiking boots if you plan to be on the trail for the better part of the day.
Classical hiking boots with ankle support will be important if your trail is going to involve steep inclines and declines.
2. Outdoor Clothing
Make sure that you check the forecast before you head out, and dress and pack accordingly.
It isn’t much fun being wet, cold, and miserable in the middle of the woods, and being too hot is no good either.
Dress for the weather and bring some extra clothes in your pack in case the weather changes.
Bring a sweater even on a hot day, especially if you will be out after the sun dips below the mountains.
3. Meals, Snacks, & Water
Make sure that you bring enough water with you, as you don’t want to get dehydrated out on the trail.
Food is important as well, to keep your energy and your blood sugar up.
When you are taking a very long hike, then plan to stop and have a picnic (making sure to carefully clean up after yourself!). Leave no trace.
Bring snacks even for a short hike in case you get hungry.
4. Trekking Poles
Trekking poles are incredibly useful on long trails, and can even be helpful on short ones.
Ascending and descending a trail can put a lot of pressure on your knees and thighs, which trekking poles will help to ease. They are also great for crossing streams and offer security on a slippery trail.
Use trekking poles if you are going a long distance, on a rough trail, or have problems with your knees.
Check out this guide on what to look for when buying trekking poles>>>
5. First Aid & Miscellaneous Items
There are, of course, many other items that you can bring on a hike with you than the four listed above.
You should also have some basic first aid supplies such as bandages and painkillers, and items such as bug spray and sunscreen are important depending on where and when you are going.
You will also want to bring a compass, sunglasses, pocket knife, hand sanitizer or wet wipes, and a bear bell and bear spray.