Hiking is a great way to get outside, enjoy nature, and get a great workout. But before you hit the trails, it’s important to prepare properly. This means packing practical items and gear. From sunscreen and insect repellent to a first aid kit and purified water, here are all the essentials that every hiker should have in their daypack.
A light source is one of the most important things to bring on any hike. You never know when you’ll need it, and being caught in the dark is no fun.
A headlamp is an ideal light source because it frees up your hands while you hike. Consider headlamps with useful features like multiple lighting modes, rechargeable batteries, and an adjustable lighting angle to meet various lighting demands and situations on the trail.
No matter the time of year, it’s important to wear sunscreen when hiking. However, the sun’s rays can be more intense at higher altitudes, so it’s best to err on the side of caution and slather on some SPF before heading out.
With sunscreen for hikes, choose a formula specifically designed for outdoor activities. This type of sunscreen is typically water-resistant and has a higher SPF rating. It’s also important to reapply sunscreen often, especially if you’re sweating or hiking in hot weather.
Bugs can ruin any hike, so it’s always a good idea to pack insect repellent. Mosquitoes, ticks, and other pests can not only be annoying, but they can also transmit diseases. Apply insect repellent liberally before heading out and reapply it as needed throughout the day.
When choosing an insect repellent, consider the type of hike you’re going on. Most hikers do fine with a natural repellent like eucalyptus oil while others prefer a stronger version that contains DEET.
Water Purification Method
Another must-have for any hike is plenty of water. But if you’re hiking in an area where potable water isn’t available, it’s also important to pack a water purification method. This could be a handheld filter, chemical purifier, or UV purifier.
No matter which purifier you choose, ensure it’s easy to use and designed for the water you’ll encounter on your hike. For example, a more robust purifier, like a handheld filter, may be better if you’re hiking in an area with questionable water sources.
First Aid Kit
Every hiker should have a small first aid kit in their daypack. This doesn’t need to be anything fancy or extensive. Just pack the basics like bandages, gauze, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers.
If you have specific medical conditions or allergies, it’s also a good idea to pack additional items like an EpiPen or inhaler. And if you’re hiking with children, remember to pack extra supplies like wipes.
While hiking in hot weather or at a high altitude, it’s important to stay hydrated. But plain water isn’t always enough to replenish lost electrolytes. That’s why it’s good to pack some electrolyte tablets.
These dissolvable tablets can help prevent dehydration and heat exhaustion. They’re also lightweight and easy to pack, making them a great addition to any hiker’s daypack.
If you’re hiking in bear country, bringing bear spray is a must. This powerful pepper spray can deter an attacking bear, giving you time to escape.
When choosing bear spray, look for an EPA-certified product specifically designed for bears. It should also be easy to use, with simple instructions on how to deploy the spray.
No matter where your hiking adventures take you, ensure you bring a daypack filled with these essentials. With the right gear, you’ll enjoy every minute of your hike while staying safe and comfortable.