Every hiking experience can be a pleasure and a joy, but when it comes to needs, it can be tedious and boring. Sometimes, when the time comes when you have to make lists, plans, packing, etc., you are prone to postpone and even feel frustrated. We understand all that and for that reason we decided to compile a list with all the essential elements when it comes to hiking in nature.
We will give you valuable knowledge that comes from experienced hikers. Some of the advice and ideas also come from the bad experience, when a hiker forgot something or faced a situation for which he was not prepared. To help you with this task, you will read about all the necessary elements and the preparations that must be made in advance.
The essentials for your next hiking trip.
We will focus here on the first articles that we will consider preparing. Without these tools, better not go anywhere. These are really the basic elements of hiking, without which a pleasant hiking adventure can become bad.
Navigation – Get a GPS device, or activate a GPS system on your smartphone, or at least prepare a map and a compass. In fact, all these options are mandatory. Keeping them all will be the best you can, because if one is damaged or lost, you will have a backup plan. Of course, you must learn to use the map and the compass together. It can be a bit complicated if you’ve never done it before.
Then, before leaving, practice in a nearby park, a nature reserve, etc. The same applies to the use of a GPS. If you have never used one, check the configuration and how it works. Experiment with it too until you feel comfortable using it in nature.
Solar protection – This is especially important for hiking in the summer. The sun can be very strong, and this is even more true in areas farther south of the equator. Avoid the midday hours and preferably establish a shelter during that time. Not only will it be protected from strong harmful UV light, it will also retain precious energy and prevent dehydration, if water is infrequent.
Therefore, for sunscreen, always get the one with the highest UV factor and apply it often during the hottest part of the day. However, remember that the morning and night sun rays are beneficial for good health, so you do not need sunscreen at that time.
Clothing – Appropriate clothing is of extreme importance. No matter where you go hiking, summer nights can still be a bit cold. Be prepared with good insulation for your clothes. Your best options would be to get polyester or nylon underwear. They are a light synthetic fabric that keeps the skin dry and warm. It is the preferred fabric for both hikers and climbers. For unexpected weather with wind or rain, be prepared with a waterproof and windproof jacket and pants. This is valid even for summer excursions.
Of course, for trekking in winter is undoubtedly your main priority. For cold seasons, along with outer layers and windproof and waterproof undergarments, you should also have an intermediate layer, preferably wool. A thick woolen sweater or thick fleece would be ideal. It depends on how low the temperatures are, so you will also have to consider that factor.
Footwear – The clothes will be incomplete if we do not talk about the right footwear. From one-day trips to multi-day trips, you should always be prepared with comfortable support shoes. If the terrain is going to be irregular and rocky, definitely get some boots with high rims to give good support to your ankles. Also, if you expect to cross rivers or streams, your boots should definitely provide protection and be water resistant.
If you are hiking in desert areas, you will have to find breathable boots or trekking snikers to keep your feet ventilated. When shopping, look for summer (or winter) boots depending on the season you go hiking. Do not forget to pack several pairs of socks: thick for cold weather and thinner (made of nylon or polyester) for warmer climates. Always try the shoes in advance. Weeks before they walk every day with them; Go gardening, running, etc. to loosen them.
Light – During the day the light is abundant enough, and we assume that we have light at home when night falls. It happens that the inexperienced hikers forget completely about that essential element. It is a mistake that you should not commit.
Any type of light, from spot light to a stronger propagation light, will work well. You can opt for a headlight (with a very compact point light and you have your hands free), or a flashlight, or even a small flashlight (which can have a much stronger light propagation). Do not forget extra batteries, chargers or even a solar panel to recharge the batteries when you rest.
Food – Where can you go without eating? A hiker can not go very far without any kind of nutritious food, so prepare yourself with camping or hikers food. There are many light options, such as nut bars, proteins and proteins, mixed nuts, peanut butter in tubes, dried fruits, powdered foods (lyophilized) that only need boiled water to make a complete meal, etc. You can even prepare your own homemade meals, such as sandwiches with tuna, and if you add dried meat and peanut butter, it can be a nutritional and energetic booster.
Water – Of course, without water, all the other elements would not even appear on this list. Water is basically your savior in any climate, cold or hot. It is estimated that mountaineers, hikers and climbers dehydrate during the winter as well as during the summer. The only benefit of winter is that there is a lot of snow around you, and if you have (what you should) a small compact gas stove, you can melt the snow every time you need a drink or soup.
Therefore, here are the basic concepts. A human body needs at least 1 liter a day (any liquid may be sufficient). Of course, the more you drink, the better hydrated your body will be. Water also helps eliminate toxins from your body and helps the digestive processes. We also recommend that you bring a water purification system so that you can use any water source on your way.
You should check where your hiking route is located and plan ahead of time what sources of water to use, and if any. If you plan to go hiking in a desert area (for example, the Grand Canyon), you must rely completely on your own resources.
First aid kit – An absolute necessity for hikers, campers and hikers. There are many first aid kits on the market and online stores. You can also compile your own kit and write a manual to help you when you use it (or someone else uses it).
Fire – At first it may seem like something unnecessary to consider, but sometimes you may have to make a camp urgently. You may feel hurt, or have misjudged the travel distance, or need to cook your food (if you have picked up your own prayer). There can be many reasons to learn how to make a fire. Prepare for that and bring a reliable lighter and cotton (catches fire easily when soaked in petroleum jelly). You can use other dried leaves and foliage around your area (if there is one).
Practice before hiking and learn how to make a reliable campfire. It is complicated and it is always better to have that knowledge and experience in advance, not when it is urgent and you are frustrated.
Coat – Of course, what would all this matter if you can not sleep well? You must bring your tent or tarpaulin. If you do not have any, of course you can buy a tent or a tarp, but you can also buy one (if you are new to the excursions and can not buy all the necessary items).
With a tarp, you will have many more options for different forms and possibilities of shelters, from hammocks to hanging shelters, to the popular shelter in the shape of “A”. It is true that the tent offers a bit more luxury since the tents are specially designed for specific climatic conditions, but they can be a bit heavier. Therefore, you must decide what your preferred type of shelter is and go for it. Both the store and the canvas have their pros and cons.
Knife – The knife can have multiple uses. You can bring a multi-tool knife (swiss army knife) or a simple traditional knife. We advise you to pack both types, as they have different applications in practice. They can be used for simple things like cutting pieces of food to defend themselves. You can use them to make a trap if you want and catch your own food. Eventually you will need to prepare it so that the knife can be really useful.
A list of articles of secondary importance.
There may be many elements that may fall into the most important essential elements, but here we will compile a list of elements that may not be of crucial importance, depending on your adventure plans. Of course, for longer hiking trips, the items below will be included in the above list.
Sleeping bag and pad – If you do not plan a long trip, or if it will only last a day (without sleeping under the stars), you will not need the sleeping bag, so it is not of vital importance. On the other hand, if your trip will last longer than that and you plan to sleep there, you will not want to shake all night and cover yourself with your extra clothes. Even summer nights can be cold, so do not underestimate the importance of the sleeping bag.
There are very light bags on the market, both for summer and winter. They are divided into two groups: bags of 3 and 4 stations. The first category is for temperate climates during spring, summer and fall. For the coldest days during the winter, the best option is a bag for 4 seasons. A sleeping pad is not a crucial element, but it can save you a night of insomnia, while you try to get comfortable in the uneven terrain. During the night, when your body tries to relax, each small rock can be a big problem.
Cell phone (smart) – This element is important not only for the GPS option it provides, but also for contact with civilization. In case you get lost or hurt and can not continue without help, call an emergency phone and request a rescue team. That’s why you also need to have all the local and national emergency phone numbers on your phone’s memory card. Even for a single day hiking incidents may occur. You must be well prepared.
Whistle (or other signaling device): the whistle can also be a way of drawing attention in case of emergency. A rescue team can easily locate you if you repeatedly use the whistle. It can also be useful if you are dehydrated and can not call. In addition to emergency situations, you can use the whistle between you and your family members (or friends). You can set up a communication system and send audio messages to each other at great distances.
Rain clothes (poncho) – Even if you already have a waterproof jacket (as advised in the above list, you should be prepared with some items for the rain, such as the poncho.) In heavy rain, the jacket may not completely save you, but if add a poncho Besides that, it can be a winning combination.
The poncho is made specifically to protect against rain, but nothing more. The water and windproof jacket (as the name implies) protects against strong wind, and if it has any insulation can provide heat. Therefore, the poncho can be an additional element, but nevertheless, it is important if a rainy weather is expected.
Insect repellent – Insects during warm weather can be a real problem. Always prepare with mosquito repellents (usually based on DEET) and other insect creams. You can also get some citronella candles (or simply lit candles). The insects move away from the smoke. Prepare as many as you can, depending on the duration of the trip.
Seasonal adjustments for your hiking kit.
When it comes to food, if you plan a day trip, maybe pack only what you think you’ll need for the day. Even if that is the case (and you will not do a longer trek), you still have to consider taking some extra food. The incidents occur even during shorter trips and you have to be prepared for them. The additional foods that are light are nuts, chocolate bars, dry dates (or fresh), mixes for the road, etc. It’s basically like the previous list, but if you’ve just packed sandwiches and nothing else, then it can be a problem. Therefore, consider those options for bonus foods.
The same goes for clothes. In the summer you may wonder why you have to bring extra clothes, but you never know when the weather suddenly changes and you catch it without being prepared. For the summer, you can find extra underwear and long-sleeved shirts with pants for the coldest nights.
If your clothes got wet (rain or river accident), you can use the spare clothes you had with you. As mentioned above, also bring several pairs of socks. If it’s winter, you should also have extra wool or wool clothes. The gloves are also mandatory. Keep thicker ski gloves and mittens so you can use any of them depending on weather conditions.
During either of the two seasons, you will have to protect your eyes, not just your skin (the sunscreen). Wear dark glasses (or ski goggles during the winter) to protect your eyes from strong UV rays. During the winter, snow blindness is a common problem among hikers who are not prepared. If there is fog, it is cloudy and with snow, basically, everything merges into one, and the snow crystals reflect all the light and are unbearable to the naked eye. It can literally damage the retina and cause permanent damage in case of a longer exposure.
One last tip on our part: find waterproof matches. It is always useful if something happens to your other essential team and you have matches at hand, to light a fire or to see in the dark. If you can not find waterproof matches, you can get regular matches but keep them in a plastic bag with a vacuum zipper to keep away water and moisture. A fire lighter in your backpack can be extremely beneficial when you want to light fires (for example, a bonfire). Remember, keep matches away from a gas stove or other equipment with fuel, to avoid sudden combustion.
As you can see, the above list is really essential and provides a general idea (and also in details) about how to walk intelligently and avoid the most common mistakes. As you get used to the previous items, keep the list always at hand, you will soon memorize it. However, we advise you to always check the list before planning a walk, since memory can never be truly reliable.
CAMPING AND Hiking