This original article was first published here: Hiking Essentials for the Adventurous Man
Preparation can mean the difference between success and failure. This holds true in many respects, travelling included. Going on a trip outdoors means you can only bring a select number of items with you. If you aren’t travelling light, you’ll be more of a pack mule than a tourist. This is especially true when going hiking, where bringing proper equipment is not only essential, but it may even save a life. Here are some things that you should always bring with you wherever you go hiking.
Getting lost during a hike is one of the worst things that can happen. A topographic map and compass are the adventurer’s quintessential navigation tools that no hiker should ever go without, but they are practically useless if you don’t know how to use a map and compass. Other tools that you might want to bring along are GPS devices and your smartphone with apps such as GAIA and TopoMaps.
Whether you’re going on a hike for a few hours or for a few days, you’re going to need protection from the elements. Weather can be very unpredictable, which is why you should always have an extra insulating layer of clothing, even on warmer hikes. Always avoid cotton products as they get really heavy when wet, as they take much too long to dry, and they pull heat from your body. Quick-dry, moisture-wicking clothes will always be your best option in any weather condition.
Sunscreen, SPF lip balm protective clothing, and sunglasses should be considered essential on any hike to avoid sunburns, bleeding lips, and other conditions like snow/sun blindness. Respect the Sun’s power. The heat and brightness can wear down anyone if they are exposed long enough.
Even if you aren’t planning on being out on the trail after dark, you have to consider that most hikes take longer than expected. Nobody wants to be stumbling around in the dark, as it’s likely you could injure yourself, or fall. Always test your headlamp’s batteries before the hike. Smartphone cameras also serve as a good back up, but they should be used only as a last resort for illumination.
First Aid and Hygiene Supplies
First aid supplies will provide hikers with a lightweight and reliable treatment for minor ailments and injuries. Do not worry about adding more items into your kit, as the further you progress along the trip, the lighter your kit becomes, since various items get used. This is especially true for longer trips.
On the other hand, you’re going to need to bring hygiene supplies too, whether it’s something you’re going to use during the trek, such as toilet paper and alcohol, or something you’re bound to use right after such as these flushable wipes that have almost the same effect as taking a quick shower.
Preparation is everything. In the same way that most people are meticulous with planning their trips, they should also take as much care in selecting the gear they’re going to bring.
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