Day Hiking Essential Checklist

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Whether you are at home or away, heading out for a hike is a great way to get back to nature, explore, and spend time with friends or family, or enjoy it all to yourself. Whether you prefer rugged destination mountains or trails out in the woods, there are so many places to enjoy hiking. However, in order to really enjoy the hike, and get the most out of it all, you need to think about what you take with you on your hike. Being ill-prepared will make it not enjoyable, as well as mean that you end up needing to come back early.

Starting out by thinking about how far you plan to go can help, as well as checking out the destination. If you’re going to be quite remote, then you might need more to help you than somewhere that is more accessible. The weather can play a part too, especially if you go up mountains where things can change quite quickly. So if you are just heading out and getting into hiking, then here are some of your essentials for a trip.

Hiking Gear

Although you don’t need to take loads with you, something like a backpack is an important piece of hiking gear. Looking for a bag that is a good size, up to around twenty-liters is a good starting point for small day hikes (you’d need something bigger for longer hikes and overnight stays). You could also look for a hydration backpack, at a site like besthydrationpack.org. This means your hands are free to help, but you can quickly and easily stay hydrated. Check out reviews, check out the size, and look for ones with different compartments, as well as ones that are waterproof or splashproof, to help in inclement weather.

Clothing and Footwear

It is a must to check out the weather forecast before a hike, as that can determine what you might need to take with you. It is a good idea to be prepared for changing weather, though, with a waterproof layer in your bag or an extra top or hat. Consider getting clothing that protects you from ultraviolet rays as well. When you are going up high in a mountain, the air is thinner the higher you go, meaning there is less protection from the sun. When it comes to footwear, think about the terrain that you will be going on. For something very rugged, then a very supportive shoe is a must.

Food and Water

It is a good idea to pack food that won’t easily get crushed and will be easy to eat on the go. You will want to get plenty of energy from the food too. According to eatright.org, the best things to take are energy bars, nuts, jerky, and protein-based snacks. When you think about staying hydrated, it is best to start with around two-liters for each person for the day. If it is a very hot day, then more may be required. You may be in luck to find waterfalls on your way where you can refill your water bottles naturally.

*Post contributed by peer adventure travel lover and writer, James Crown.**

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