Spending time in the great outdoors is excellent for your health, giving up exercise and allowing your lungs to breathe in plenty of fresh air. Taking a long hike is also really good for your mental and emotional well-being, as it helps to improve blood pressure and hormone levels and boost your mood.
If most of your hikes have been pretty short ones and you’re planning a longer hike, you may be wondering what you should pack. Here are a few essentials you’ll want to bring with you so that you don’t feel like quitting halfway through. You don’t want to go deep into your hike and suddenly realize you forgot something important. So, you can use this article as a checklist to make sure you have everything you need.
Don’t just bring water, but you want to bring more water than you think you’ll need. Of course, water can be kind of heavy to take with you, but you’ll be drinking as you go, so it will get lighter further into your hike. As your body gets more tired from all the hiking, the load of water will become lighter since you’re using it up. It is very important that you have enough water for the hike, because it’s going to be tough to hike without adequate hydration, and it’s not really safe to be exerting yourself outside when you’re not well hydrated. A little tip that may help you is to freeze some of your water ahead of time so that it’s still cold late into the hike.
If you are going to be hiking for more than a couple hours, you’ll want to bring something to snack on with you. Maybe you won’t be gone long enough to warrant taking a whole meal with you, but you’ll need some energy boosting food to make the hike a little easier on you. You should definitely get high-fiber and high-protein foods like granola, trail mix, nuts, and dried fruit. Just like with the water, it’s a good idea to bring more than you think you need. If you’re not used to taking long hikes, you don’t really know how tired your body will get and how much energy it will require to get through the hike.
3. Sun Protection
Depending on where you’ll be hiking, you may need some protection from the sun. It can be helpful to take sunscreen with you, even if you don’t need it. That way, if the sun does get really hot on you, you’ll be prepared for it. It’s a good idea to pack a hat and sunglasses as well for your hike, just in case the sun starts to really bother you while you’re hiking.
4. Bug Repellent
One thing that a lot of people don’t realize about hiking is that there tends to be plenty of bugs to contend with. They can be the most miserable thing on the hike and sap a lot of the enjoyment out of it. You ought to know what kind of bugs you’ll be facing in the area you’ll be walking. In some places, you want mosquito repellent, and in others you may want a more general insect repellent. It’s a good idea to use the repellent before you head out the door to hike. You should apply the repellent on any part of your body that will be exposed insects, as well as slightly underneath your clothes, just to be on the safe side.
5. A Watch
It’s also wise to have some way to tell time while you’re out hiking. You probably don’t have anywhere important you have to be right after the hike, but you should know what time it is. That way, you can have an idea of how close you’re getting to sunset and if you need to hurry back. It’s not a good idea to be out hiking in the dark, especially in an unfamiliar area. So, you should either bring your watch or a phone that’s well charged that can tell you what time it is.
6. Map and Compass
This kind of equipment may sound a little old-fashioned, but a map and a compass will come in very useful to you while you’re out hiking. If you don’t want to end up wandering all over the place and getting lost, these tools can be incredibly helpful. You should have a map of the area and a compass that you’ve tested to make sure it works. These can help you stay on track, even if you are having trouble finding the path you’re supposed to be taking. You may be relying on a smart phone to show you where you’re at and where you should be going, but your phone can lose signal and be unreliable when you’re out hiking.
7. Good Shoes
You want to take appropriate shoes for the hike. Most people think tennis shoes or sneakers are fine for hiking, and for some hikes they are. But, if you’ll be hiking in hilly or mountainous areas, you may not get the kind of traction you need from sneakers. You can end up with blistered feet that make your feet feel so badly after the hike that you’re hardly able to walk around for several days. You may end up with your feet propped up in recovery and having to call into work and hire a cleaning service to take care of your housework just because of how sore your feet feel according to Jenn with a cleaning company. Make sure you’re taking appropriate shoes, and hiking boots with thick wool socks provide excellent comfort and support for your feet and ankles. You may also want to wear moleskin on your feet to prevent friction and the resulting blisters .
Taking a long hike for the first time can be excellent experience, but you want to be prepared for the journey. Having the right supplies with you will make the hike so much more pleasant so you can really enjoy your time outdoors.