If this is your first time hiking, know that there are essentials you'll need to bring with you. Even if you are planning to be out for a few hours on your a day hike, it's important to pack some supplies for hiking. Weather can change quickly outdoors, and something as simple as a rolled ankle can cause you to stay out longer than expected. Be a smart hiker by being prepared.
Below are the essential supplies for hiking you should pack to keep safe on the trail.
A Good Backpack
The first thing you will need for your day hike is a decent backpack. For a day hiking pack, you will want to choose a 20-35 litres size pack. This will be enough to hold your extra layers and all of the other hiking essentials I'will talk next. Other features to look for are:
- A sternum strap to prevent the pack from shifting when you are hiking.
- An interior pocket for a water bladder.
- A hip belt that will place the load on your hips rather your shoulders.
Proper Hiking Layers
Regardless of the season you're hiking in, wearing layers out on the trail is important for both safety and comfort reasons. Begins with a sweat-wicking base layer, like wool, that's breathable and helps regulate body temperature. Avoid cotton clothing. In the heat, cotton traps warmth and in the cold, it doesn't provide insulation. Always pack a lightweight raincoat, a hat and gloves, if you think it might get chilly. For your feet, choose a pair of sturdy hiking boots and wool socks that can handle whatever kind of terrain you are hiking.
There is a range of great apps and websites for finding trails. I highly recommend you to have a few of these downloaded on your phone. While the majority of people rely solely on their smart phone's advanced GPS to navigate on a trail, it is smart to have a good backup, like a map or a compass. This way, if you happen to get lost and find yourself with a dead smartphone, you will be able to find your way.
Water and Energizing Snacks
In order to function at its very best, your body needs water. So make sure you bring extra water and even a water purifier. Staying well hydrated is important to prevent dehydration and even altitude sickness. Furthermore, it will help you feel good and have fun. Also, make sure you bring enough food for the day to stay full and keep your energy up. Consider nutritional snacks that are packed with protein and fibre, such as sturdy fruits such as apple and carrots, granola bars, and jerky.
First Aid Emergency Kit and Flashlight
While it is unlikely that you will have an emergency, blisters, cramps and minors cut can happen. Pack an aid emergency kit that contains the basics for dealing with minor injuries. And bring a flashlight to help you find your way back to the trailhead in case that you get caught on the trail after dark.