So you have decided to start hiking – kudos! Hiking is a fun activity to share with friends and see new, beautiful places around the world or even in your hometown. Now the next step is to learn the essential gear to take on your first hike and all hikes. Although hiking through nature is fun and exhilarating, precautions must be taken. Not only for your safety but also for your personal health.
Below are four essentials for starting off on your first hiking journey!
1. Constant hydration
You knew this one was going to be a part of your must have gear. During any outdoor activity, but especially while hiking, hydration is of utmost importance. Staying properly hydrated on the trail ensures that you have enough energy and are safe from dehydration related injuries or illnesses.
Water bottles are often the easiest solution for day hikes. If you’re like me and you like fun water, colorful, or even fandom-related durable water bottles, consider Corkcicle. However for backcountry travel with limited access to sources, a filter system such as a pump or gravity filter may be preferable. consider electrolyte supplements like Liquid IV for your hike. Not only are they delicious, but they help to replenish lost minerals in your system. Liquid IV also helps to hydrate you faster with less liquid. So those awkward potty breaks on your hike won’t be as frequent. Use the code DONNAGAILBLOG to get 20% off on Liquid IV. On average, aim for approximately three to four liters of water per person per day depending on factors like altitude, temperature and terrain. In my opinion, electrolytes should be considered highly in your essential gear for your first hike.
Remembering to pack food as well as water is also key; simple snacks like nuts and fruits will provide energy without adding extra weight to your pack. Planning ahead can ensure you stay hydrated throughout the day so you can focus on enjoying your hiking without fear of fatigue or dehydration.
2. Proper clothing is essential gear for your first hike
Your clothing should not be as simple as a tank top and shorts. Clothing is definitely part of your essential gear for your first hike. Proper attire will keep you protected from the elements while remaining lightweight and breathable. Select materials such as quick-drying synthetic or natural wool material (merino wool if you prefer it) that allow airflow. And remember to layer up in case temperatures dip during the evening. If you can, bring along waterproof jackets just in case it rains! With regards to cold weather, thermal clothes are must have hiking gear and have also proven to be extremely effective in regulating your body heat. Be sure to pack the warmest thermal socks next time you’re tackling the wild in freezing temperatures!
And quite possibly the most important part of your clothing – your shoes. Make sure that you bring appropriate footwear for your hike as well. Hiking boots may be more suitable for steep terrain or longer treks. However, trail running shoes could work better for flatter routes with less elevation changes. Whichever shoe type you decide upon, ensure they fit properly and have been broken in before beginning the trail. Nothing would be worse than doing your first hike and coming back with huge blisters.
3. Clear navigation strategy
Lucky for most hiking trails, they are clearly marked and easy to navigate. However, it can still be intimidating for a beginner. Finding your way can be tricky in unfamiliar terrain. To ensure safe travels, it’s vital that you know how to read maps and use compasses accurately. Additionally a GPS unit may assist with this but should never be relied upon solely.
Before leaving on any hike, be sure to research the area so you can plan effectively. Learn which trails are available, where water sources are, and what terrain comprises the hike. Having this knowledge can help anticipate potential obstacles or navigation changes that may come your way during a trek. In case something unexpected comes up or technology fails you, bring along a paper map and compass just in case something unexpected comes up along your journey. Lastly, you can also talk to other hikers or local rangers as they may provide additional information about the trail and potential hazards.
4. Inform others and stay alert
Safety is first! And so is everything else in this list honestly. Ensure your family or friends know your route, how long you’ll be gone, and any potential changes in plans. In case of minor injuries or emergencies, it may be beneficial to carry a first aid kit with you as well as some form of signal device that allows you to call for help quickly if needed. Likewise keep an eye out on local weather forecasts prior to starting your hike. You want to be prepared for sudden shifts in conditions that might require quick action.
Stay alert. Keep an eye out for wildlife and give them ample space should you come across one. Also pay close attention for signs of potential danger like unstable terrain or changing weather, so as to take steps and prevent these scenarios where necessary.
With this must have hiking gear taken care of, your hiking expedition should be an enjoyable and successful one!