Right now, it’s safe to say that many of us have spent far too much time inside and are looking forward to getting back outside, amongst nature, and into the great outdoors.
If like me, you enjoy the fresh air, panoramic vistas, and amazing countryside, you’ll definitely enjoy today’s post. Why? Because I’m going to be talking to you about hiking.
For as long as I can remember I’ve had a keen interest in hiking and I’m very happy to say that nothing’s changed years later.
I don’t know whether it’s the fresh air, the stunning views, the wildlife, the endorphins I get from exercising, or simply the fact that it gets me out of the house for a few hours each week, but there’s just something about hiking that I absolutely adore.
I’m of course not alone in my love of hiking as it is one of the most popular pastimes in the world. If you’re new to hiking, though, you need to pack the essentials and prepare in advance.
Here are my se7en mandatory things to pack for a hiking trip.
A fire source
Okay, if you’re just planning on going hiking through the local countryside for a few hours on a Sunday afternoon, you might not consider this first item mandatory.
However, if you plan on hiking in the wilderness a long way from home, and perhaps camping and making a night or two of your hiking trip, a fire source will definitely come in handy.
When you watch those over the top survival shows on the TV, one of the first things that the experts recommend you do in the wilderness is starting a fire. There is a very good reason for this, in fact, there are several good reasons for this.
Fire will keep you warm when it’s cold, it will help you to purify water, it will allow you to prepare your food, plus if you do get into trouble, a fire will help you get spotted from a distance.
Ideally, you should pack some waterproof matches and/or a waterproof lighter, though if you want to get more adventurous you can purchase fire-starting kits as well, which will make it easier to start a fire if resources are scarce, or if your wood is damp.
If you’re thinking of going hiking through the mountains in the same trainers that you wear at the gym then just don’t, okay?
Without a doubt, one of the most essential pieces of kit that I can recommend you pick up before your hiking trip is a pair of hiking boots/shoes.
Hiking footwear is designed specifically to be worn while hiking, as you can tell by the name.
It is designed to be comfortable, to help wick moisture away and keep your feet dry, to provide grip and traction on rough surfaces, and to help prevent blisters and foot injuries.
Okay, this one may seem quite controversial, but hear me out.
A lot of people will argue that hiking is all about getting amongst nature and away from modern technology and distractions of that nature.
We all know that smartphones are making people increasingly anti-social, but despite this, I have to admit that I’d be lost without mine.
For hiking, smartphones are very useful because they have in-built compasses, torches, GPS maps, and there are also apps you can download specifically for hiking that will perhaps show you trails for you to follow.
Finally, the last reason you’ll need your phone is in case you get into trouble and need to call for help.
Oh, and an extra tip is to also pack a portable battery charger, just to be safe.
Food and water
This may seem a bit over the top if you’re just planning on a small hike for a couple of hours, but for longer hiking trips, or for people that just have bit appetites like me, food and water are essential.
Water is especially important as you may sweat when hiking and will lose fluids, and dehydration can be very serious.
As far as food goes, if you’re camping you can pack MRE packs (Meals Ready to Eat) and other foods designed specifically for use in the wilderness.
If you’re just going on a leisurely hike for the day, just back your favourite sandwiches and maybe a sweet snack or two to keep your blood sugar levels high.
First aid kit
I’m not trying to be a ‘Debbie Downer’ here, but when hiking there are always a lot of risks.
You never know what Mother Nature might throw your way, which is why it’s important to always be prepared. As the saying goes ‘failing to prepare is preparing to fail’.
When hiking, no matter which route you’re taking, or how safe you feel, you should always have a first aid kit handy in your hiking pack.
There are plenty of first aid kits designed specifically for hiking, camping, and outdoor adventuring so do your research and find one that best suits your own specific requirements.
A map, torch, and compass
Even if you have your phone with you and you plan on using its in-built compass and GPS map function, you should still pack a physical map and compass.
If your phone gets wet, damaged, has no signal, or just runs out of battery, you won’t be able to use it which means that you won’t be able to access its maps, torch, or compass features.
Packing physical items means that, as long as you keep them safe and handy, you have access to them at any place, at any time.
Knife or multi-tool
Watch any survival show on the TV or Outdoor survival channels on YouTube, and you’ll see that they always recommend a good knife and/or multi-tool.
These are very handy as you can use them to cut firewood, repair your gear, cook and prepare your food, clear obstructions, and much more besides.
Multi-tools are also very useful as they have things like scissors, tape measures, and corkscrews and bottle openers so you can crack open a bottle of wine or a few beers as you sit around the campfire at night, waiting for your dinner to cook.
I hope this article inspired you to go on a hiking trip! Make sure not to forget something important.
Until next time stay safe, stay curious and don’t stop wandering!
Photo sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14,