Whether it’s an hour of walking on trails in a state park or a week-long journey through the mountain wilds, there are a few things that every hiker should bring with them. Being well-equipped not only makes the adventure smoother and more fun, it also has the potential to be life-saving in an emergency situation. Even carry on backpacks for plane/train/ship travel can make a difference in quality of travel depending on the quality of the backpack. However, there is a fine line between being prepared and over-packing, so hikers need to make their own informed packing decisions based on their plans and their personal needs. Here are four things every hiker should pack.
1. Food and Water
Always bring a bottle of water and a snack on any hiking trip. Staying hydrated and maintaining blood sugar levels are essential for staying healthy and energetic during extended periods of physical exercise while hiking. This convenience can become a necessity if you get lost or become injured far from home, as it could be hours or even days before help arrives. It also gives you the option to extend your hiking trip a little longer than planned if the desire arises.
2. A Safe Way to Jam
Many people enjoy listening to their favorite tunes to keep them motivated and pumped while they are on the trail. However, you need to avoid the temptation to just stick a pair of buds in your ears. Headphones can block out important sounds, like a warning cry from a biker coming up behind you or the crashing of a branch falling from above. Hikers should consider using a set of portable bluetooth speakers, like Renogy wireless models, to safely listen to music on the trail. Such speakers allow the hiker to enjoy their music while being able to keep their ears open.
3. Multipurpose or Cutting Tool
Every hiker should have a multipurpose tool or safe knife with them on longer trips. A reliable and high-quality multipurpose tool is a must-have for hikes spanning days or weeks, as it can be used to repair broken devices, create bandages from clothing, and remove splinters or stingers embedded in skin. Cutting tools can also serve as a means of self-defense if there is no way to escape an imminent threat that emerges on the trail.
4. Map and Compass
Smart phones and GPS devices are accessible and accurate, but it’s not always a good idea to rely on them completely. Hikers who are traversing unfamiliar terrain should always have a backup for digital navigation just in case their device breaks or loses service. A paper map and basic compass may not tell you exactly where you are, but they can prove invaluable when finding your way back to civilization.
These must-haves are by no means the only useful items to bring on a hike. They are just a few of the hiking essentials that you should always consider bringing along when going on or off-trail. Hikers should always consider bringing a friend with them on their journey, because a companion can be the single most useful thing to have, regardless of what you’ve packed, when the unexpected happens.