Hiking is a very healthy outdoor activity. It can help build strong muscles, improve bone density and lower risks of high blood pressure and heart disease. It’s also a great cardio workout for people of any age.
People enjoy hiking because it gives them a better perspective of the world. It’s a good way to get away from the pressures and stress of every day. Some people hike as a way to find inner peace. Others just enjoy the physical activity and spending time in the great outdoors with others.
Hiking is great exercise, but you’ll need to be prepared to bring the right equipment. Start a checklist of things to pack before you go. Having the right items can make the difference between a good hike and a bad hike.
Here are six of the top things to bring with you on your next hike:
1. A good first-aid kit. If you’re taking a lengthy hike, it never hurts to be prepared. Many hikers take a pre-packaged first aid kit along with them. It’s handy for minor ailments. You may want to add things like hand sanitizer or hand wipes, aspirin and any medications that you are regularly taking. Just make sure that whatever you use from the kit is replaced in time for your next hike.
2. Food and water. A good hike can burn off a lot of calories. You’ll want to replenish some of those calories that are lost. Energy bars and fruit make good snacks for short treks. For longer journeys, you may want to pack along enough supplies to last for several meals. You’ll also want to bring along enough water to keep you hydrated as you walk. Drinking water will help your muscles and joints work properly. Some trails offer water stations where you can refill your canteen or water bottle.
3. A sturdy backpack. Unless you’re taking a very short hike, you’ll probably need to bring a good backpack with you. Choose one that is relatively lightweight, but has enough compartments for everything that you’re taking along with you. It should allow easy access to food, water, sunscreen and anything else that you may need at a moment’s notice. It should also be comfortable enough to wear all day without causing back pain or muscle strain.
4. Trusted navigation. When you’re exploring new territory, it helps to know where you’re going and how long it should take to reach your destination. Packing a few maps or a GPS device can help you avoid making a wrong turn and getting lost. Many cell phones also have good navigation systems that can help you along your route. If you’re taking along paper maps, you may want to seal them in a waterproof bag to protect them from the elements.
5. Enough light. Although many people hike during daylight hours, there may be sometimes when you’ll need to hike at night. Having a good flashlight or headlamp is handy for helping you get where you want to go. There are also flashlight apps that you can download for your phone, although you may want to bring an extra battery pack or portable phone charger. Make sure that your flashlight or headlamp batteries are fully charged, and bring extra batteries in case your trip is going to be longer than expected.
6. Sun protection. Protecting your eyes and skin from the sun’s rays is important no matter how short or long your hike is. Wearing sunglasses and applying sunscreen and lip balm can help avoid painful sunburn and cracked or chapped lips. You can find more info here about some of the different types of sunglasses that are available. You may also want to consider wearing a hat for added protection for your eyes and insulated clothing depending on weather conditions.
These are just a few things to add to your checklist when preparing for your next hike. If you are taking an extended trip, then you may want to pack additional supplies, such as tents or other forms of emergency shelter, blankets, hand tools, toilet paper, trekking poles and locator beacons in case you should get lost. Whether or not you need all of these items depends on the length of the hike and how familiar you are with the area. You’ll also want to make sure that you’re wearing comfortable shoes, as different terrain or walking for long periods of time can cause blisters and sores on your feet.
Hiking is a popular recreational activity and is something that you can do at any time. It just takes some time and careful planning. It’s a great way to spend time exploring nature’s beauty by yourself or in the company of good family and friends. Every trip is a once in a lifetime kind of experience.