Whether preparing for an afternoon hiking excursions in the woods or a weekend trekking trip in the mountain, preparation is Key. By packing so that you expect the unexpected, you ensure that you have everything you need should things go wrong in your hiking excursions.
Better to include that water purifying kit than find yourself alone on a trail with no water. Or better to take that map along even if you think you know the trail than to wind up turned around because a significant trail marking was missing. The 10 can’t miss items to pack for every hiking excursions trip are as follows:
- Map: Not every trail you hike will be well-marked and it’s all too easy to get turned around or overlook a trail marker. Make a habit of taking along a map, preferably a topographic map that shows elevation change, to prevent becoming lost in the woods.
- Compass: Should you become lost, your compass will help you get back on track. Of course, a compass is no good if you don’t know how to read it so do make time to familiarize yourself with compass operation.
- Flashlight: This is a basic necessity if you plan to camp out overnight. Even on a day hiking excursions, night may fall before you expect it. Don’t get caught on a trail without a flashlight, headlamp or other light source.
- Food: Always pack enough food and water for you to consume on your hiking excursions. For an afternoon hike, bring a sandwich and piece of fruit, for example. However, also pack extra food in case things do not go as planned. Should you become lost in the woods and stay the night, you’ll be glad of the extra snacks. The extra food can also help you think straight in a situation where you are nervous and provide energy when your body is depleted.
- Clothing: Extra clothing comes in handy when you become wet or cold, two conditions that cause potentially dangerous loss of body heat. Stash an extra tee shirt and pair of pants in your bag. Carry a hat to shade the sun from your eyes and insulate your head. Make sure you have something to provide warmth, such as a fleece.
- Rain gear: Rainproof outerwear is a must should the weather turn for the worse on your hiking excursions. If you carry a pack, bring along a rain cover to keep your gear dry. It won’t matter that you’re dry if Your sleeping bag has become soaked.
- Fist Aid Kit: Cuts, falls and scrapes happen on a hiking excursions. Keep everyone protected with a basic first aid kit.
- Pocketknife: A basic utility knife can cut fabric and plants, open cans and shave wood for kindling.
- Fire Starter: Get a campfire going easily with a fire starter. Make your own or purchase one at a camp store. On the trail, you can’t be sure of dry wood or kindling so cover the bases with a fool proof fire starter.
- Matches: Matches stores in a waterproof container are essential for lighting camp stoves and starting fires.
While not part of the Top 10 essentials list, these items can be invaluable in the woods. If space allows, consider adding the following in your hiking excursions:
- Space blanket
- Toilet paper
- Duct tape
- Insect repellent
- Water purification system
- Trash bag
- Emergency contact card
Remember the Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared. Although you may not use an essential item on a hiking trip, there will be a point in your hiking that you or your hiking companion will be very glad you remembered to bring the item.
Holly is an Indianapolis native with a passion for living a healthy lifestyle and traveling. When she isn’t practicing her dolphin pose or planning her next vacation, you can find her blogging on behalf of Sears and other brands she loves.