Hiking is a favored pastime, there is nothing quite like the wanderlust of getting lost out in nature. There are many kinds of hikes. Some are just for the day while others are for multiple days. Some are easy and some are hard. Some are flat and warm while others are alpine and cold. Hiking is also one of the great family activities - even more, if it's possible to combine it with camping. But how should someone prepare for a hike and what equipment should be brought along? What questions should be asked before embarking on an epic quest into the middle of nowhere? Here are some of the essentials to bring along no matter the kind of hike.
Snacks And Water
Depending on the type of hike one should bring along plenty of snacks. These should be lightweight and easy to pack and carry. Dehydrated food like muesli bars, beef jerky, chocolate, cheese, nuts, etc. is great to bring along. If one is only going on a short hike or even for the first day of a longer hike, one can also bring along refreshing food like tangerines (too many will be heavy). Another more filling food that does well on a hike (at least on the first day) is fried chicken.
One a shorter hike one may be able to carry all the water one needs. If on a longer hike, one will need to be able to drink the water in the wilderness. To safely do this, bring an approved water filter, water purification pills, and/or a means to boil the water.
Clothing is very important on a hike. Of course, this depends to a large degree on the climate of where one is hiking. But one should always prepare for the worst weather. In hot zones, plenty of water, sunscreen, a large protective sun hat, and sunglasses are musts. In wet and cold climates, windproof and waterproof raincoats, warm clothing are musts. And one's clothes should be in a waterproof bag to keep them dry.
In cold and wet climates never wear cotton clothing. One's clothing should be synthetic and/or woolen. Woolen clothing may take a long time to dry but it will still keep one warm when wet. Synthetic will also keep one warm when wet and be fast to dry. Wet cotton shirts and socks suck the heat out of the body! Get some good-quality woolen socks.
One of the most important aspects of one's kit is footwear. It is important to have good quality shoes and not high heels or flip-flops (flip-flops may be ok on a walk but not a "hike"). Generally, it is best to buy a pair of shoes or boots actually designed for hiking.
- Tip: Brake The Shoes In Before Going For A Hike - Never Hike In Brand New Shoes For Risk Of Blisters
- Tip: If The Boots Are Rubbing And Causing Blisters, Wear Two Pairs Of Socks
- Remember: Wet Cotton Kills!
To avoid getting lost, one should bring conventional equipment like a compass and a detailed topographical map of the area. That being said, today one's phone can generally do all of this - and even better. Make sure a compass app is installed on the phone and maps are downloaded and can be used offline. One of the great advantages of using the phone over the conventional map is that the GPS will inform the hiker exactly where one is. Thus it is almost impossible to get truly lost unlike in the bad old days.
- Survival: If In A Wet Zone Consider Bringing A Survival Poncho Emergency Made Of Aluminum
- Tip: Smartphones If They Are Kept Charged And Installed With The Right Apps Are Incredibly Useful
- Navigation: A Detailed Topographical Map And A Compass - These Don't Run Out Of Power Or Get Broken Screens
The problem with phones is that they run out of power. To conserve power put it on airplane mode and on a battery-saving mode - this greatly increases the life of the battery. Also, consider bringing a battery pack and keep the use of the phone to a minimum.
Basic first aid is very important for a good and safe hike. These may include aspirin, headache pills, antiseptic cream, bandages, and other things.
- Tip: Bring Insect Repellent (May Not Be Needed In An Alpine Hike)
Some other types of equipment like flares and satellite phones are needed for serious hikes. For average hikes, they may not be needed.
It is always important to be prepared for a hike. There are some basics that should be followed on just about any hikes. With hiking one should always prepare for the worst weather!