When you’re planning a long hike, there are many little things you might think about taking with you. To help you decide what to pack, here’s a list of the most important items and tips on when to bring them along.
Hiking Boots or Shoes
Don’t buy hiking boots or shoes that are too new. You want to be sure your shoes are broken in so that you don’t injure yourself. If you try to hike long distances with new hiking boots, you may get blisters or other foot problems because they’re not comfortable yet.
You’re going to need a lot of water. It’s important to drink enough before you get thirsty because when you do get thirsty and drink, your body can’t absorb the water as it should. So don’t wait until then.
You could also bring along a water filter/purifier if there are any questionable water sources along your route (like lakes or streams).
A Map and Compass
If you have a map and compass, you may want to know how they work.
First, you’ll want to find north on your map before heading out on your hike. You can do this by using the magnetic needle of the compass and following these steps:
- Place the flat edge of your compass along the edge of a straight line that corresponds with north (such as a road or trail). The direction in which this line point is south; rotate your map so that south is on top (or vice versa).
- Put one end of your pencil into one corner hole in your compass and place another hole over an object in nature (like a tree or rock) that acts as a reference point for locating true north.
- Rotate until both ends are pointing toward true north—this will indicate where zero degrees lie on your dial’s face.
A Companion Or Group
Having a companion or group of hikers is the ideal situation. You can share the load, help each other with injuries, and have fun together.
There’s also safety in numbers. If you find yourself in an unsafe situation on the trail, there are several things to keep in mind: stay on high ground (which will hopefully be clear of the brush), wave your arms, and yell loudly. If all else fails, get out your emergency whistle (make sure it’s loud enough that someone can hear it).
First Aid Kit
- Bandages, painkillers, antiseptic cream, antihistamines, and tweezers
- A survival blanket or sleeping bag and a whistle, mirror, and knife.
- A compass (it can be hard to find north without one).
- A fire starter kit in case you find yourself in need of warmth on your hike.
- An LED flashlight with spare batteries is also a good idea, along with extra food rations if you’re hiking for longer than a couple of days.
Hand sanitizer is another good thing to have on a hike. It’s especially important when you’re out in the wild, where cleanliness might be hard to come by. You’ll want to keep it handy as much as possible if you’re camping or staying in hostels or other accommodations along the way.
If your regular soap and water aren’t available, using hand sanitizer will help keep your hands clean for eating food and touching surfaces that could have germs or bacteria on them.
Sunscreen and Sunscreen Wipes
Sunscreen is important and should be reapplied every 2 hours. Ideally, you’ll use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher. If you’re going to be in the sun for longer than that, you’ll want to reapply it after sweating or swimming (and towel drying).
Get to know how to avoid ticks while hiking using bug repellant wipes. You can also get different kinds of nets to protect you against mosquitos and other insects by covering all of your exposed skin from head to toe.
Hopefully, this has been a helpful guide to packing for your hike. Remember that the key is to pack light and cover all the essentials. If you’re unsure about something, the best thing to do is check the weather in advance and be prepared for any scenario with extra clothing or materials. Bring a friend or two to look out for one another, and don’t forget about nature—make sure to keep an eye on wildlife and not disturb it as much as possible. Most of all, have fun.