As you’ll know I walk a lot. With over 2500 miles walked last year, and some 2000+ the year before, I’ve got some miles under my belt. What that has done for me, beyond the mental well being and physical fitness, is give me a bit of an understanding of what you might need to take out with you. So here are my 5 hiking essentials.
I hope they help.
5 hiking essentials
- First aid kit
- Water Bottle or Bladder
- Suitable clothing
- Map & Compass
As straight forward as it may seem with all of these I think it bears a little further explanation on each of these 5 Hiking Essentials.
I would always class a decent rucksack as an essential, weather it is a simple day sack, just for the important items, or a bulkier bag for more space. A well fitting, adjustable bag should be on your list of items to buy if you plan on walking or hiking a lot. There is a lot of kit listed here that you may need to carry after all.
Currently I am using a Quecha Forclaz 20L Air Hiking Backpack from Decathlon.
First Aid Kit
I know, you don’t plan on falling or needing one, but a decent first aid kit could literally save your life! But more importantly it could save you some pain or discomfort. What you include is up to you, but I would recommend blister plasters; tweezers; some sterile liquid for wound cleaning; some kind of antihistamine cream, for bites and stings; a small bandage; and some pain killers. At least.
Water bottle or Bladder
Keeping hydrated on the trail is important. Not only is it important for muscles and recovery, but it is amazing how quickly you can become dehydrated. A well filled water bladder can keep you going all day if it is large enough. Or if you are likely to be near water and want to travel lighter, perhaps a filter type bottle is for you. You can get them so you can drink water fresh from a river etc.
Remember if you feel thirsty it means you are already dehydrated a little!
Now I assume you will be wearing clothes when you walk. But the right clothing for the weather, and eventualities is vital. Having three or four layers in mid summer is just as bad as having a t-shirt and shorts in mid winter. Layering systems are great as you can add or remove items as needed, but on almost all occasions it is worth throwing a waterproof (and wind proof) coat in your rucksack, just in case.
I’d of course recommend my The North Face Dryzzle jacket.
Map & compass
You may have a mapping app on your phone, or even an expensive GPS system, but it is worth always carrying a paper map of the area you are walking as well. Your battery may die (even if you have a portable charging station); or your GPS link may play up. Heck you might even drop your phone down a ravine! Having a backup paper map could save you from being lost and in need of rescue. An ability to read said map will also help.
I’d recommend checking out OS Explorer Maps from Ordnance Survey if you are UK based.
A bonus 6th item… Emergency shelter.
I’ve thrown this one is as a bonus. Most of us won’t carry one, but if you plan on fell walking; or heading into the mountains. It is important to note that the weather can change at the drop of a hat, and carrying one of these may well be a life saver. The below is an example you can buy on Amazon.
Is there anything I’ve missed? What do you carry as one of your 5 hiking essentials? Let me know in the comments below. Be sure to check out 5 More Hiking Essentials.
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