Over the years, I have worked hard to overcome my tendency to over pack. Hopefully this will save you some time! These are the 10 things I never hike without:
1. A good pair of Boots — I didn’t have a good pair of hiking boots, despite my love for hiking, until about 8 months ago. I was stubbornly loyal to my tennis shoes. I thought, “My tennis shoes are great, they are light and dry fast.”It took a good friend buying me a pair for my birthday to realize how much of difference they make. I have the Merrell Moab Ventilator boots . They are awesome: light, comfortable, quick drying and good support.
2. All Trails App — THIS APP. It is simply amazing. I have the free version and it lets you locate trails nearby, see reviews from other users, save your favorite trails and record your hiking path. My favorite feature is the trail recording. You simply start the record feature at the beginning of your hike and the app tracks your path of travel, your mile time, and your distance.
3. PRINTED trail map — On most trails, you won’t have cell service. Don’t rely on google to keep you from getting lost. All Trails is great and the recording and map features work without cell service, so you are covered — as long as your phone doesn’t run out of battery, drop off a cliff or sink in a creek. Sometimes the old way is the best way.
4. Water and snacks — Even if you do not expect to be gone long, extra snacks and water are a MUST. A hike could take longer and be more difficult than expected. A nourished, hydrated mind gives you the ability to efficiently problem solve. You can have fun packing a fancy picnic if you want, but it can also be much simpler. Trail mixes, apples and peanut butter sandwiches are portable and efficient. Honestly, I think some kind of chocolate could be a “must-have” all on its own. Just, please…
5. Identification — Always keep some sort of identification with you on a hike. If you are hurt for some reason, it is important that you can be identified.
6. Layers — Clothing comfort is important when hiking. It is difficult to gauge comfort at the trailhead because you will probably get hot, cold, wet, itchy, and sweaty throughout the hike. An easy way to make sure you will be comfortable mile after mile is to dress in layers. You can add or subtract them as you go.
7. Camera with extra batteries — My motto: “Don’t leave anything but footprints, don’t take anything but pictures.”
8. Flashlight — The sunset waits for no man. It is easy to get caught in the dark on a trail. A small Maglite can make all the difference.
9. Minimalist first-aid kit — You don’t have to bring your whole medicine cabinet. I always bring ibuprofen, varying sizes of band-aids, and some disinfectant.
10. An extra of everything in the car — I always leave a change of clothes, a clean pair of socks, a dry towel, a gallon of water, and a full first-aid kit in the car.
- What do you ALWAYS bring with you on a hike?
- Have you ever tried All Trails?
- Do you take pictures on a hike?