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There are many hikers who just throw or stuff the things into their packs without any organization or order right one day before their trip. You can plan the trip and pack the things properly for improving the overall packing experience. This, in turn, will help to pack all the things without forgetting any important items along with removing unnecessary luxuries.
Packing all your hiking essentials in the right way will also provide you with better comfort and stability. The very first thing any hiker should do is to make a list of the top hiking essentials before you start packing and while you pack, make sure that you haven’t forgotten all those important stuff.
If you are specifically planning for some adventurous trip, then certain special tools, gizmos as well as some creature comforts will help you meet the unexpected.
In this article, we will provide you with the 10 hiking essentials list. A well packed and loaded backpack will help you to balance well while resting and won’t be swaying or shifting while you move around.
Remember always to cross-check the backpack list and try to prepare a note on the list which worked well during the trial, after each adventurous trip so that you can plan much well for the next.
Top Ten Essentials for Hiking
The navigation system is one of the most important items which should be included in your backpack list as it plays an important role in deciding the route of your trip before you start from home.
Also, whenever you need a help, you can depend on them and orient yourself within the local area at the time of activity. The only thing which you should make sure is to know how to make use of the relief map as well as the GPS or the compass prior to a hike.
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Even if you are taking a GPS unit with you, it is important that you should be aware of how to use the compass and map.
Another alternative is the altimeter as it will provide you with the right elevation and this, in turn, will help you in figuring out the exact location on your map. Ensure that the maps which you bring are kept in a waterproof case.
Even though all the latest technologies including GPS will take you to the destinations, keeping a map with you will help you to know the exact spot and how much distance you need to trek. Make sure that the map contains campsites, exit route in case of emergencies and the water sites.
Sun Protection Systems
Sun protection is yet another important factor, especially if you are planning to hike during summer seasons. It is always important to protect the eyes and the skin from the direct Ultra Violet rays of the sun since it may sometimes lead to sunburns or even skin cancer.
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Try to make use of some branded or high-quality sunglasses, hats and sunscreen lotions. There are even shops and online retailers who are selling sun protection clothes like pants, long sleeve shirts and many more. These can help to lower the direct exposure of your skin to the sun.
On the other hand, if you are hiking above the tree line where there are chances for skin-scorching, then the necessity of sunglasses are high since it helps to protect snow blindness and the application of sunscreen will protect you from the harsh sunburn.
If you are hiking on some snow or icy areas or planning for a long trip, then using sunglasses which are having extra-dark glacier will be the best choice. Check for the quality of the lenses before you pay for it.
Based on various elements such as the duration of the day spend, sweating etc, you should reapply the lotions on the required areas. Don’t forget to apply on your hands, neck and most importantly on your face. Make sure you never fail to notice the SPF-rated lip balm.
Emergency Shelter and Rain Protection
It is important to carry a rain protection and shelter while backpacking. Try to buy top-rated waterproof raincoat since this may be helpful for the afternoon thunderstorms if any.
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Keep in mind that the weather can change any time and you should always have an emergency option in your hand and this is where the role of a good waterproof raincoat comes into action.
The next thing to consider is a tarp or a tent which is light in weight. This will be useful while you find yourself trapped in an unexpected storm. Without these elements, it will be hard for you to survive a stormy or rainy night out. Hence make sure that you carry the tarp at the bottom of your backpack as this may be helpful in case of emergencies.
First Aid Kit
Whether it is a day hike or a night out, ensure that you keep the first aid kit inside your pack for any kind of hike. You can purchase a good lightweight first aid kit from any shops or online stores and carry it with you for ensuring your safety.
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On the route, there are tree roots, fallen branches of the trees and many other things which can be a recipe for the sprained ankles or any other hazards and these can never be avoided or left unnoticed.
The first aid kit should always include adhesive bandages, medications for relieving pain, treatment for blisters, ointment for applying on the disinfecting, gauze pads, a pen and a paper. On the other hand, if you are planning for a group hike, then make sure that every person in the group is having this first aid kit in their pack.
Never ever depend on the water which you might come across hiking to be drinkable. Take with you the drops to purify the water if you really can’t afford or carry with you a Steripen. Drinking pure and plenty of water while hiking around will help you to stay hydrated along with preventing you from hypothermia as well as altitude sickness.
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Remember, without having enough amount of water, the body will not be able to perform well and can even result in altitude sickness, heat stroke and hypothermia.
If you are not purifying the water which you take during hiking, then there are high chances of harbouring small organisms which will make the hiking experience an unpleasant one later. Try to bring water purifiers or even chemical tablets; if not, boiling is the best choice.
Fire starter is yet another important element in the backpack hiking list. If possible, try to get some waterproof matches which are kept inside a water-tight container. Along with this, try to bring a waterproof or a dry striker as well.
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You can also carry with you a cigarette lighter as an alternative option. Solid chemical fuels or candles or even balls which are having compressed wood chips will perform well. Make sure that you take with you the right means to start a fire in case of emergency.
If you are hiking above 10,000 feet, then buying long pants along with fleece as this will be the best choice even if it is during the hottest summer seasons. Ensure that you choose the right clothing and the best pair of boots for the chosen terrain.
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It is to be noted that the temperature will normally drop down to 2 to four degrees for each of each 1,000 feet of elevation gain. The weather is not dependable and hence you can expect the unexpected always.
Right clothing will help to prevent yourself from hypothermia even while you are on a very short hike. Try not to use cotton t-shirts or jeans since these fabrics will take more time for drying and are not suitable for every season.
In short, keep with you some extra clothing and pack the dresses wisely after knowing the varying climatic conditions of the hiking area.
Illumination is one of the major safety features, especially if you are on a night out. Some of the most important safety items may include a whistle, light and fire. The warmth which the fire gives you along with a healthy and hot drink will aid in preventing hypothermia. Fire is considered as the best way to signal yourself if you ever get lost on your way to a destination or back home.
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Just like fire, it is important that you carry a whistle with you since this is more effective than calling out loud in your voice for an emergency. The normal code is 3 short bursts. On the other hand, if you are out later than the planned one, then making use of a headlamp or a flashlight will help you in seeing the map and show the way to your destination while walking.
Headlamps are the best choices for light since they permit a hands-free operation. They are light in weight and are compact along with providing a long battery life. There are many headlamps in the market which are providing strobe mode. This is one of the greatest options for emergency situations. Keep in mind that the headlamps will give you extended battery life if it is in the strobe mode.
The packable lanterns, as well as the flashlights, are having equal value. Some of the flashlights are having powerful beams and hence they can be well used for signalling in case of emergencies. Ensure that you take spare batteries. If you are on a group hike, then make sure that every member of the hike is having his or her own light.
Repair Kit & Tools
There are many varieties of multitools and knives which comes handy for repairing your gear, preparing food, for first aid, for kindling and for various other needs.
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The knife which you choose should have a minimum of one fold-able blade together with a pair of good foldout scissors, one or two flat head screwdrivers and a can opener.
Based on the complexity of your requirements, you can choose the tool or knife.
Last but not the least, nutritious food is one of the most important factors which anyone should keep in mind while trekking since the energy which you get from this acts as a driving force. While packing, keep an additional day’s food with you.
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You can even take a freeze-dried meal; however, it is always better if you could take along with you some no-cooked items which have got long storage times such as extra energy bars, jerky, dried fruits and some nuts.
The way your body digest the food will help you to maintain the warmth in the body. So, it would be better if you could take something on a cold night prior to bunking down. You should never leave any kind of leftovers which will attract the animals inside the tent.
Never fool yourself; even if you are sure that you can come back before lunchtime, it is a known fact that hiking in the woods will burn more calories than what you really think. Hiking with a backpack which is light in weight will help you in burning around 500 calories within an hour. This result was stated based on several studies which were conducted on people after hiking for an hour.
If you are planning the trip in the early morning, then it is sure that you will start feeling hungry by around 10 a.m. On the other hand, if you are planning a full day adventure, then keep some snacks with you.
Whenever you feel that you can’t move further and feel nauseous, take out some snacks which contain sodium as this may help you a lot in continuing the journey. Since you sweat a lot during hiking, you need to refill the sodium content and hence it is highly important that you should bring some salty snacks with you.
Of Course, candy bars are important too.
Few Other Considerations!!!
Above mentioned are the top ten hiking essentials which you should never forget to include in your backpack. However, there are various other things like the repellents for insects, gloves, orange vest (if you have a plan to hunt), a mirror for signalling, additional socks and many other.