Spending an extended period of time outdoors is a luxury not nearly enough of us explore. Hiking over a weekend will see you reaching new heights physically, but also mentally. Before you set off down the trail, make sure you have the essential kit that will allow you to enjoy the experience without any unwelcome surprises.
1. Appropriate footwear
Great hiking shoes will make you feel as if you are walking on air, rather than the rough and unpredictable terrain that awaits all hikers. Wearing runners and other shoes that ‘should be right’ will not serve you. Best case scenario your feet will be unsteady and sore, and worst case scenario they cause you to call your hike off. The right hiking shoes will get you to the summit, so don’t rob yourself of the comfort and ability to do just that.
Securing the right backpack requires more thought than you may think. Durability and weight should be the key criteria, as anything else may hinder your hike. Cotton-based fabrics won’t weigh you down, and they are breathable enough to keep your equipment and food in optimal condition. The size you decide on will vary depending on your hiking activity, and whether or not your weekend adventure is an overnight one or simple a day adventure. If possible, it’s a good idea to feel and try on your backpack before you commit to a style.
3. Water bottle
Attempting a hike without a water bottle gives a whole new meaning to extreme sport, and should not be a situation that you find yourself in. Hiking water bottles will come in either plastic, stainless steel or glass – with the latter not always the best idea. Plastic water bottles are the most common, and thick BPA free bottles can certainly do the job. Stainless steel is most preferable as it is both durable and insulating.
A common misconception among new hikers is that any tent will measure up on a hike. Unfortunately is simply not always the case. That faithful four-person tent is great to throw in the boot for a camping trip, but it’s not ideal to be carrying that sort of unnecessary weight on a hike. No matter how comfortable it is. Look for a lighter, more pared back, tent which can be worn on your back compactly.
5. First aid kit
Each hiking first aid kit will look different, but most hikers will share a few items in common. Be sure to include: a first aid manual, bandages, ointments, repellent and saline creams. Beyond the basics, you can add personal medications and any items that will make your hike safer.
6. Sustenance and eating food supplies
There is no one type of hiker, which means dinner will look different for everyone. Anything non-perishable is your best bet, and try to opt for items that are small in size and weight but will also stretch over a few days. The compact stove has come a long way, so before you rule out any equipment – check out the latest camper stoves.
Sunscreen must be taken on every hike. You can be assured that any outdoor adventure without sunscreen will brand your mistake all over your body for the following week, with untold future damage. Use a misting solution instead of a lotion so you don’t feel thick and slippery on your hike.
There’s a lot of fun to be had on a hike, but the experience can turn sour without the right essentials on board. Before you take on a weekend hike, do some smaller scale hikes so that you can identify what you need and what you can stand to leave at home.