Going for a hike is an easy way to get outside and reconnect with nature and creation. Whether you choose to go for a short calming walk in the woods near your home or spend several days hiking in the mountains, it’s critical to be well prepared and pack the essential hiking gear. Why is choosing the right supplies so essential, and how can you use them to pack your hiking backpack like a pro?
The Importance of Hiking Gear
Whether you’re a hiking beginner or you’ve been hiking for a while now, you must have the right supplies with you. This stands both for going for a quick route or a multi-day hike.
Anything can happen when you’re out in nature. This isn’t supposed to sound fear-mongering but to instil in you the urge to be and feel prepared out there. You know how unpredictable can Australian weather be: you can start your hike on a sunny day that can later turn into a windy one, just to end with a storm. Such climate conditions require more than taking extra clothes. You need to bring some extras, like a windshield jacket or a lightweight shelter.
Besides weather changes, accidents are another important factor in being well prepared. Although accidents can happen anywhere, experiencing one when you’re far away from home in the mountains can be difficult. Having a first aid kit is helpful in any situation and vital when hiking and camping.
Defining the Type of the Hike
Knowing what you’re going to be doing on your hike has a lot to do with choosing the right outdoor hiking supplies. Asking yourself questions like these can be of great help.
- How long are you going to hike and stay outside? Are you going for a half-day hike, a full-day hike or staying over the night?
- How many people do you pack for? Is it just you, or is it you and your partner? If your kids are coming, that’s a whole other story.
- What’s the weather forecast?
- Where are you going to hike?
When it comes to hiking for the first time, experts say that planning is key, as is for most outdoor activities. Before you choose and pack your hiking camping gear, do your research on beginner hikes so you won’t get overwhelmed. Check the weather and download maps beforehand. And, it’s always a good idea to hike with a company. But if you decide on going alone, make sure someone knows that you’re out in nature. Having these things in mind, it’s time to choose what you’ll bring on your next hike.
What to Bring Day Hiking
If you’re wondering what do I need for a full day hike, we’ve got you!
Right Size Backpack
You can’t pack your hiking equipment without the right hiking backpack. How big should it be? It depends on different things like the time and distance of the hike and the weather. A 10-litre backpack should be enough for a day hike. If you plan to stay for a few days, you should consider a bigger one that holds up to 70 litres, as you’ll have to pack a tent or overnight shelter and other stuff. If you have a hobby that you hike for, such as photographing, consider buying a backpack that has a special protective department for your camera.
This is the most important thing about hiking since you use your feet most of the time. You don’t want sore feet and blisters from uncomfortable shoes to ruin your hike. When choosing the right shoes, consider the weather and the terrain. For a summer hike, shoes might be the best option. For a hike in colder months and on rugged terrain, hiking boots provide the best support for your feet and ankles. If you’re hiking on snow, use gaiters to protect your feet from moisture.
When going on a hike, you need to protect yourself from the rain, wind, snow, and cold temperatures. On the other side, you want your body to breathe. You want your clothes to keep you dry and warm. Dressing up in layers can help you achieve this. A three-layer system should include a base layer for removing moisture, a mid-layer to keep you warm, and an outer layer to protect you from the elements.
Although most people prefer using GPS devices and their phones for navigation, some still prefer the old-fashioned way to manage space, using a compass and a map. Whatever way you prefer, make sure you prepare and pack your navigation tools for your next hike.
Water and Food
Packing water and food for a full day hike is obvious. What’s not obvious is how much you should bring? The recommendations are at least 1 litre of water and some clearing water chemicals for extended hikes. Buying a lightweight one-litre bottle is a good idea, along with separate clarifying agents. Or you can buy a water bottle that includes a water filter.
In terms of food, most hikers like bringing energy bars, hydration gel drinks and dehydrated meals. Some prefer a sandwich for lunch. All these are light to pack, so make sure to take enough to stay hydrated and energised the whole hike.
Even if you’re not planning to stay the night, it can get dark in some wood areas or get late until you return home. It’s a good idea to have a led torch with you so you can have light at any time.
First Aid Kit
A first aid kit is one of the essential outdoor hiking supplies. It can include sanitiser, bandages, medications, snake bite bandages and other helpful stuff.
Other nice-to-have extras are:
- Personal hygiene products. These include hand sanitiser, water wipes, menstrual products for women, toilet paper etc.
- Multi-tools or a knife
- Sun protection, including sunscreen and a hat
- Trekking pole, if you like using one
- Emergency shelter and whistle
If You Plan To Spend the Night
For a day hiking, you want to pack light and not include items that can be an unnecessary burden. But if you’re planning on an extended multi-day hike, you should plan more extensively. Consider a bigger backpack and fill it with hiking and camping gear beyond the essentials mentioned above. Such gear includes a tent, sleeping bag and additional camping gear. You should bring more food and also a camping stove and pots to prepare food.
Good preparation may take greater effort, and more time, yet, it’s crucial to have a delightful outdoor adventure. Make sure you prepare well for your next hike, and we’re sure you’ll have a great time!