There are a lot of things to prepare before you embark on your hiking journey. You need to create a checklist of how long your hike is going to be, the type of terrain you’re going to hike in, and the weather as well as the temperature. But aside from that, there are several essentials that must be carried with you or worn at all times during your hike. Here are the 5 basic hiking necessities you must have before you set off on your hiking adventure.
Your hiking backpack needs to provide sufficient back support since you’re going to fill them with a lot of your other hiking gear. If you’re going on a hike that will last more than a day, you will need to attach a sleeping bag or even a tent to the backpack so it’s imperative that you can still carry it around comfortably up the mountain. The hiking backpack should also have many pouches, pockets, and compartments on the exterior to make your hike more convenient. Some of the best hiking backpacks include the Osprey Exos 48, Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60, Ula Circuit, Granite Gear Crown 2, and Mountain Laurel Designs Prophet.
You can always wear the pair of training or running shoes that you already own but if you’re planning to go on a more advanced trail, you may want to opt for a pair of specialized hiking shoes. Your hiking shoes should also be lightweight but sturdy enough to overcome all kinds of terrains. Durability, stability, and traction are just some important characteristics that your hiking shoes need to have as well. Also, it’s best if you invest in a pair of waterproof hiking shoes so you can hike anywhere and under any weather. The Salomon X Ultra 2, The North Face Ultra 109 GTX, Adidas Outdoor Terrex fast R GTX, and Keen Targhee II WP are just some of this year’s best hiking shoes ranked by fellow avid hikers.
Other than your shoes, of course, your attire needs to be appropriate for hiking as well. Your hiking attire must take weather and temperature into consideration and if you’re going for a multiple-day hike, you need to think about how many pieces of garments you need to bring with you. You can always put on a pair of comfy leggings or shorts and a tank top and call it a day, but professional hikers always prepare a little extra more with their hiking clothes. Hiking attire includes fleece or rain jackets, long johns, socks, hats, gloves, and more.
Water and Fire Kit
Whether it’s a short hike or a multiple-day hike, whenever you go hiking, you should always carry water with you. If your hike requires you to bring more than one water bottle, then it’s recommended that you invest in a water kit that could filter the water from a stream or river and make it drinkable. Other than a water kit, if you’re planning to stay overnight in the open, you should also invest in a fire kit to help you start a fire that you can use as a source of warmth, to cook your food, or to illuminate your camping ground. These kits can be sold separately or included in a complete survival kit specifically curated for hiking.
Last but not least, every hiker needs to have proper and enough sustenance to give them the necessary energy to complete their hike. For a short hike, you can carry protein bars, trail mix, granola bars, or other smaller, packaged treats. However, for a longer hike, you need to bring proper food with you that can easily be carried. This includes canned food, MRE (meal, ready-to-eat), sandwiches, or meat jerky. If you ran out of food mid-hike, you can always hunt or forage your own food. All you need to do is familiarize yourself with all the kinds of edible plants and fruits that are safe to eat, whether directly or after cooking.
If you have all of these basic hiking necessities, you would only need to gather a few other additional tools to prep you for your long hike. Although some of these items are not necessary for a short hike, it doesn’t hurt to have them prepared beforehand.