Hiking is a fun way to stay in shape and enjoy the great outdoors. But, it can quickly change from a fun adventure to an uncomfortable or even dangerous situation if you're not prepared. Whether you’re taking a stroll to check out a nearby waterfall or tackling a difficult summit, it’s absolutely critical to have the right equipment.
The more prepared you are, the more you’ll enjoy your next day hike. However, since you also have to carry everything you bring, you also don’t want to lug around a bunch of stuff you’ll never use. That’s why it’s so important to understand exactly what to pack for hiking – and what to leave at home. The following list of ten hiking essentials will help ensure you have everything you need and none of the stuff you don’t.
1. Navigation Tools
Even if you think you know exactly where you’re going, it’s important to bring a map and a compass with you on your hike. Sure, you can use your phone’s GPS in most cases, but don’t forget that the further you venture out into nature, the more likely you will lose cell reception. If you happen to get lost and can’t find a signal, you’ll be glad to have an old-school backup.
Choose a waterproof and tear-proof map that will stand up to the elements. Also, spend some time brushing up on your map-reading and compass-using skills so you feel as comfortable as possible before you head out.
2. Sun & Insect Protection
If you don’t remember anything else when you start to pack for hiking, you must remember to bring sun protection. Even if the weather looks cloudy or you're hiking in the snow, you’ll still be impacted by the sun’s harsh rays. A bad sunburn or cracked and peeling lips are sure to ruin your hike and make you suffer for days after.
Sunscreen, SPF lip balm, polarized sunglasses, a brimmed hat, and protective cloth