Going for your first hike anytime soon? Hiking is fun and comes with a lot of health benefits. However, you have to be careful when choosing a hiking trail and the equipment that you will take with you. This is more important when you are going with kids or family. Following are some of the most important stuff that you will need.
You will need a backpack to hold all the essentials that you’re carrying throughout the hike. The backpack shouldn’t be too big or too small. The right size will depend on the duration of hiking trip and the stuff you need to carry. Keep that in mind when buying the bag.
Footwear and Clothing
Going for a hike definitely means trekking on uneven Terrains. Hiking trails are rough and at times, dangerous too. Using proper hiking boots is crucial in keeping your feet safe from injury. Hiking shoes have a hard sole which protects the feet. Right clothing is equally important. Nature is harsh at times and a nice sunny day can turn into a rain storm or heavy winds. Know the weather and take precautions.
Nutrition and Hydration
At times, hiking trip will turn out to be longer than expected. Having abundant food and water has to be a top priority. It does not matter how small the hike is, you can never expect the unexpected. Food should be healthy and heavy in calories to keep your energy levels up. MRE (Meal Ready to Eat), canned food could be an ideal choice, Always keep extra reserves for food and water.
Safety Equipment and Emergency
Safety is the first priority so be sure to include a first aid kit with a tourniquet and quikclot gauze. The terrain can be quite rocky. In some instances you will need nylon rope(s), Carabiners and other climbing equipment. Carry pocket-size tools such as Swiss army knife or survival bracelets as well.
Hygiene and Health
You will not have access to proper washrooms or necessities in some cases. But you need to take care of proper hygiene. Carry medication and items like soaps or sanitization.
A map and a compass with the knowledge to understand navigation is vital. It will help you stay on track. Always carry a standard compass. The military-grade compass is better than those smart phone compasses, because then you will be at the mercy of the battery.
For hiking topographic map of the targeted hiking destination is great. The map will help understand your nearby surroundings.
GPS device are also great. They can help keep you updated with your location. They can also guide you using a digital map with coordinates. GPS devices are waterproof and rugged. Carry spare batteries and conserve battery when not needed.
Altimeter watch is another great item that can tell you the altitude of your latest location (height above sea level). It shows you the hiking progress as you proceed with the hike.
Repair Hardware, Tools and Important Extras
A knife (with multi-tools) is one of the most important tools that you can carry. It is a huge problem-solver with all the utilities. Swiss army knife is quite commonly used. Carrying stronger knives like Kbar can be handy too.
Your hike could last longer than expected. Always carry a light source even if you are planning to come back before night. Flashlight, Headlamps (for keeping your hands free) can be ideal. You will also need to carry extra batteries just in case.
Carrying a small, portable and waterproof shelter can help you provide some shelter for a while if circumstances change.
Although you can find dry wood, you might want to carry tools such as a magnesium fire starter. These tools make it easy for you to set fire to stay warm, dry your clothes or even cook something.
You might need sunglasses or a hat if you are starting your hike early morning. It will aid you during the afternoon when the sun is hottest.
Other extra but useful items can be the binoculars, radios for communication, camera, extra batteries, food, and water reserves.
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