One of the few ways to get some undiluted nature hardwired into your system is to go hiking. The sun in the sky, the trees, the ground under your feet and the wind in your face – just the recipe for the perfect hike.
But if you’re not prepared, things (and even you) can very quickly go downhill. A hike is not the same as simply taking a longish walk. While prepping for a hike, make sure you do not leave home without these invaluable items, some of which may be forgotten by beginners.
What you know is where you go– should apply to hiking without deviation. The chances of getting lost even in the immediate vicinity of your trail are so impossibly high that they would astonish you.
Whether you prefer low-tech options like a map and a compass, or higher end options, like a navigator and guidance systems, chart your route before you start the hike.
If you’re using a map, make sure to mark in there. Ensure that you have recent and up to date maps of the area. Local geography can change a lot after rainy seasons or small events like landslides, which can throw you off, if the terrain you’re hiking through does not match your map.
If you’re using a compass, make sure you’ve familiarised yourself with it beforehand. No one who gets lost in the woods automatically learns how to navigate by the stars overnight.
If you’re using a navigation device or GPS, make sure that you’ve checked the batteries, and that it has a reliable signal. Most mobile devices do not function reliably outside populated areas. In the middle of a hike, that can spell disaster.
#2 Check Your Checklist!
Your hike will decide some of your essentials. Pack a survival tent or space blanket, sheltering tarp, torches, flashlights, knives, multi-utility tools, etc. Above all, make sure your First-Aid kit has everything you need!
#3 Food and Water
It’s always a good idea to read up on local park recommendations about what to carry and how to store it. In areas that are frequented by predators, eg. bears, it’s not a good idea to be leaving food lying around, especially at night.
Similarly, what food to carry is also important. Dry, lightweight, nutritious snacks are the ideal stash to have in your bag.
Make sure you also have enough water- and then some. It’s very easy to get dehydrated, especially if there isn’t drinkable water nearby.
#4 Clothing and Protection
When dressing for a hike, you should choose clothing that serves you enough protection, but is also light enough that it won’t weigh you down. Depending on the weather and the climate of the place, this can mean a light jacket, to a windcheater, anorak, or proper parka.
Make sure you are dressed for the weather, and the possibilities. You might need insulation or heat protection, gear to shelter in, gloves, thermal underwear, and almost invariably a hat and sunscreen.
Running shoes are generally the best thing to wear, but if you’re hitting rough terrain, you should get well-fitting hiking shoes as well as proper underwear, there are many sites online where you can get the right bra for your hiking trip, such as EBY.
#5 Equipment and Supplies
Depending on how long your hike is going to be, you should be equipped with torches, spare batteries, a basic repair kit, a flare gun (if you’re going deep into the woods), lighters or matchsticks (preferably waterproof), and appropriate tools.
And, of course, regardless of the intensity of the hike, at least one first-aid kit per hiking team. Accidents happen unannounced!