Heading to the mountains and countryside can be ideal if you want to leave the everyday stress behind. But if you really want a stress free time, there are a few things you should probably bring along. These are the hiking essentials to making your day the most enjoyable and safest it can be.
Here are 8 hiking essentials you might want to stick in your backpack for your day hike:
1. Water – even on a short hike you need to stay hydrated. Dehydration is an unpleasant condition, at the least it’s a mild head ache at the most its hospitalization. Generally between 1 to 2 litres is fine but it is really down to individual needs and the weather, warmer days require more water generally, along with more active days. Whilst more gentle strolls will require much less. Whether you chose a bottle or a hydration bladder is completely personal, bladders do let you drink on the move though negating the need to stop every 5 minutes to re-hydrate.
2. Food – on a short walk of a few hours a couple of cereal bars will suffice, but on longer walks something a bit more calorific is better. What you take is up to you but make sure it gives you a good balance of quick and slow release energy. Good mountains snacks include trail mixes made up off mixed salted and unsalted nuts, dried fruit and some form of sugary sweet or chocolate. Flapjacks are another great mountain staple.
3. Waterproofs – even on the driest of days a downpour can creep up on you, plus a lightweight waterproof is a great windproof layer for that summit sandwich stop. In summer a lightweight set is great but in winter something a bit more substantial is a must! When choosing waterproofs make sure they are breathable, otherwise the inside will be as wet as the outside through sweating.
4. Warm layers – even on a summer scorcher, a warm layer for when you reach a summit or if you’re still out come evening time is a great idea. They can range from an extra micro fleece in summer to a duvet jacket or merino base layers in winter. This also includes hats and gloves because even in summer your extremities can get a little bit chilly.
5. First aid kit – equipped for everything from blisters to broken bones. The knowledge to use everything within in the kit is also a must. You never know you may need it one day. Its always handy to have some long lasting emergency food in your first aid, wrapped in duct tape, to be consumed in emergencies only. With this a survival bag to wrap up casualties is a must to help keep them warm. Plus a whistle, to attract help is a great addition.
6. Map and Compass – the essential navigational tool. You can take a GPS unit or use your phone if you want but GPS signals are unreliable. Plus having an electrical battery limits the usage time. So knowledge of how to use a map and compass is essential so you can find your way out of a situation.
7. Mobile phone- switched off and tucked away to conserve the battery, you never know when you’ll need to call for help. If you want to take pictures take a separate dedicated camera so that you know you’ll always have enough charge on your phone for long calls to get help.
8. Head torch – even if you plan to be back before dark a head torch is essential. You never know what a trip into the hills may lead to. Unintentional detours may lead to you staying on the hill later than planned, or mist and fog may require a head torch to see. Plus a head torch is great for exploring caves and other dark places.