Take a Hike: 10 Hiking Essentials

10 hiking essentials

It is Labor Day! Hopefully wherever you are you are blessed with beautiful weather and barbecue plans. The extra day off is the perfect opportunity to hit the trails and take advantage of that not-a-cloud-in-the-sky weather. But if you do, keep it safe! Thanks to Janene from One Run at a Time for sharing your outdoor activity knowledge!

Looking to jumpstart your exercise routine? Take a hike! Day hikes can be a quick jaunt or a full-day adventure, and that’s the beauty of it – pick a place and go!

While it can be that easy, don’t underestimate the importance of planning ahead. Preparation is the first step to staying safe, and that means having the gear to get the job done. Here are ten things you’ll definitely want in your pack:

  1. Map & Compass: To know where you going and how to get back, you need a map, but a map is nothing without a compass. Of course, the knowledge to use them both is key; consider learning some basic navigation skills before you head out.
  2. Fire Starter: I always carry a lighter as well as matches in a watertight case. If your day hike unexpectedly turns into an overnighter, fire can go a long way in keeping you warm, dry, and in good spirits.
  3. Whistle: A whistle is a useful signaling tool that can help rescuers find you quickly or scare off animals trying to crash the party.
  4. Food: You’ll need fuel for your hike, but extra food can make an unexpected detour more bearable. Some extra granola bars or trail mix will do the trick.
  5. Water: More is always better when it comes to water. Also, carry Potable Aqua tablets – they’re a pocket-sized and easy to use method to purify water in a pinch.
  6. First Aid Kit: You can find prepackaged first aid kits at any big box store or make your own. At the very least, basic supplies can make your hike more comfortable and in extreme cases, can be a lifesaver. Couple this with a course in wilderness first aid  and you’ll be set.
  7. Sunglasses & Sunscreen: Squint for long and you’ll earn yourself a splitting headache, and adding sunburn to the mix will do you no favors.
  8. Pocket Knife: A good pocketknife or multi-tool has countless uses in the outdoors, in both outdoor living and emergency situations.
  9. Light Source: A headlamp is best since it frees up your hands, but a small flashlight would do in a pinch as well.
  10. Extra Clothing: Even on day hikes, bring along an extra layer of clothing – preferably something water resistant. Staying dry is the key to avoiding hypothermia, and while it may not be the most restful night’s sleep, some extra warmth can make the difference if you’re forced into a night outside.

Keep in mind that different situations call for different essentials. Hiking in the desert? Focus on water and food. Scaling a mountain or snowshoeing? Clothing should be your priority. Use common sense and tailor your essentials to your own needs.

Now, get out there and enjoy!

Read more from One Run at a Time.

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