The Essentials for a New Hiker
If you are in the process of learning how to properly go on hikes or what the best accessories are to have on your excursion, you may seem a little overwhelmed and confused. Experienced hikers will always have their own personal opinions about what someone should take with them, especially if they are considered beginners. You also have the hikers who pack much more than they should. These are the enthusiasts who carry a sleeping bag with them for a simple weekend day trip. Others will tell you all you need to have with you is your shoes and a knife. However, most hikers are settled in between the extreme packer and the take nothing hiker. There are some essential accessories that most hikers, especially beginners should take into consideration when planning their hiking experience.
The Most Crucial Essential
One of the most important items you can have is a backpack. If you are just starting out and taking short hikes down well-maintained trails, all you will need is a packing capacity of approximately 1000 cubic inches. This is about the size of a youth backpack. If you are planning a long excursion or a weekend hike, you will need something much larger. However, short trips only require a backpack large enough to bring your necessities. Backpacks now have numerous features and options to select from. You can choose any other the features that you prefer but your backpack should have at least an internal frame for support. It should also feature a belt that goes around the waist. This will ensure that your shoulders are not supporting the weight but your pelvis muscles are. You backpack should also be equipped with a lid or zippers that are waterproof in case you are caught in wet conditions. This will help keep your supplies dry. Finally, the backpack should be equipped with compression straps to help stabilize your backpack and make it more comfortable, as well as at least one pocket that can easily be accessed.
The Essentials for a New Hiker
Protecting Your Feet
The next important accessory to have on any hike is the footwear. It is a common rule that the more distance you are planning to hike the more durable hiking shoe or boot you will need. If you are planning a short trip on a clean and maintained trail, an athletic sneaker or cross trainer may be enough. However, if you are going more than five miles you should consider a boot or shoe that is designed specifically for hiking. This will provide your feet with more stability, support and traction. It will also help protect your feet from hot spots, blisters and athlete’s feet, as well as protection from any jagged rocks you may step on.
In addition to the footwear, you need to consider your clothing. The clothing that you choose to wear is mainly up to personal preference but you should keep in mind that cotton is not a suitable material for hiking trips. The fabric can hold in sweat and moisture which can lead to chaffing as the fabric sticks to your skin and rubs against you. You should keep in mind that your clothing is your shelter while you are on your journey. You should always be equipped with jacket and pants that are weatherproof in case you fall into poor weather. It is also a good idea to keep in mind that the colder it will get, especially if you are out when the sun set, the more layers you will need. You can keep what you are not wearing in your backpack for later.
You should also make sure that you have sunglasses or a hat to shade you and protect your eyes from the sun. The hat will also provide additional protection if you are hiking in the woods. It will keep ticks from being able to land in your hair. You should also bring sunscreen, preferably the type that is sweat resistant to protect you from harsh and damaging UV rays.
Another item of absolute importance is water. If you do not drink enough water, especially during warmer weather conditions or extreme activity you can suffer the symptoms associated with dehydration, as well as heat exhaustion and heat strokes. Serious heat strokes can lead to death so it is important to consume an appropriate amount of water during your journey. There are numerous water bottles on the market that are designed to not only keep your water cold but are designed to be almost indestructible. This is great in the chance you drop your water bottle into hard and rugged stones, it will not break. If you are limited in space you may be interested in purchasing the water bottle pouches. These inventions are great because after they are emptied they are able to be rolled into themselves to save space.
Many hikers recommend purchasing a hydration reservoir system. This includes a water bag that fits inside of your backpack with a drinking hose attached to the pouch. Most backpacks will feature a hole near the top so you are able to feed the drinking tube through. This will allow you to quickly pull the drinking hose, use it like a straw to dehydrate without stopping to pull out a water bottle. Some backpack feature an insulated section in them so the water pouch from the hydration reservoir can remain cold.
If you are going to be out on the trails all day you may need to consider bringing along food. In addition to hydration, foods that are dense in calories will help increase your energy after a long hike. You can bring something simple such as energy bars, candy bars, protein bars or trail mix.
The Essentials for a New Hiker emergency kit
In Case of Emergency
You should also make sure that you bring emergency supplies with you. If you are hiking in an area that will keep you at a distance from others but within earshot a whistle may good to stash in your backpack. If you get lost or injured you will be able to call attention to yourself with the whistle. You should also have basic first aid supplies with you. This includes Band-Aids, antiseptic, moist wipes and so on. You want to be prepared for anything and one of the hazards of hiking is tripping or losing stability on rocks and scraping your knee.
Some hikers recommend other supplies such as map, compass, fire starters, matches, extra food and a knife. These supplies will generally depend on the length of your journey. The above are a new hiker’s essentials that one must consider before going for hiking.