Whether it’s a simple day trip or a more lengthy trek, preparing for any hiking expedition can be an exhausting undertaking. Packing for a hiking trip requires a delicate balance. On the one hand, you want to ensure that you’re prepared for anything the trails may throw your way and that your pack is well-stocked with all the necessities. However, you also want to take care not to overpack, as this can cause your pack to become almost too heavy to bear. To ensure that your pack perfectly toes the line between underprepared and overstuffed, check out this guide to the most essential items to bring on a hiking trip.
Above all else, the most essential item to bring on a hiking trip is a durable, weather-resistant hiking backpack. You’ll need somewhere to store all your other hiking essentials, after all. Your hiking backpack should be just large enough to fit all your hiking materials, but not so large that it impedes your progress or presents safety risks while hiking. It’s also in your best interest to choose a hiking backpack that’s water resistant and made from durable fabric intended for outdoor use, such as nylon. Many high-quality outdoor lifestyle backpacks are also constructed with built-in compartments to help you keep all your belongings organized during your hike. This is especially beneficial if your hike spans multiple days, as your belongings will be regularly shuffled from pack to tent and back again.
The last thing you want after a long day of hiking is to lose your way back home. As such, you must pack several different navigation tools for your hike. A compass and a trail map are a good place to start and will help keep you on the right path for the duration of your hike. More modern navigation tools are also a viable option and are most beneficial when hiking in a state or national park. A GPS-enabled watch or app will help keep you on track as you trek through the park. There are even special apps for specific parks that provide detailed information to park services, events, and activities. They can also help you get in contact with park officials in the event that you do lose sight of your trail.
You never know what you’ll encounter on your hike, so it’s always best to be prepared for the worst possible scenario. Pack a small first-aid kit and keep it on hand at all times. The kit can be quite simple and should include bandages, antibiotic ointment, and insect sting treatment. You should also include a medical wrap in case of a sprained ankle.
It’s always better to be slightly overprepared for your hike. Be sure to pack extra snacks, water, and a spare change of clothes before setting out on your hike. Try to choose snacks that are small, yet high in nutrients. You should also opt for food that is nonperishable and doesn’t require any cooking. Trail mix, dried fruit, and jerky are great options for longer hikes. Be sure to pack your change of clothes in a waterproof bag and to store it at the bottom of your pack. This will ensure that the clothes stay warm and dry no matter what weather conditions you encounter.
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