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The Essential Gear Items for Hiking Anywhere

  • Staff
So you have a backpack but now you are wondering what to pack! Packing too much can really be a pain...to your shoulders and back and can even cause you to have injuries or worse, hate hiking! Packing too little can also resort of loads of problems and make your hiking experience and regrettable experience. So how do you find a balance on what to take and what not to take? I recommend just starting with the essentials to ensure you have a positive hiking experience. The follow are my essentials for hiking anywhere.

#1 - Navigation and navigational backups
Whether you are a map and compass kind of hiker or your prefer an app on your phone, you need to make sure you are bringing navigational tools with you. Don't get lost while on a hike. And while you're at it - bring an extra form of navigation in case your other one fails. I try to bring maps, compasses and the applications on my phone as well as a power brick for charging up my phone if needed.

#2 - Food and drink
This should be your heaviest items. Bring plenty to drink and plenty to eat. I recommend bringing enough to last you for two days even if you're just day hiking. You never know what might happen and you need your energy sources to keep trying to get back home. Go with energy bars that are high in fuel and drinking solutions with electrolytes in them. I always try to keep a water filter packed as well just in case but make sure you've used it at home first and that you know how to use it.

#3 - First Aid Kit
A first aid kit is important! Injuries should be tended to in order to prevent further injury and mitigate infections. We've heard about people getting limbs amputated because of swimming in creeks with cuts on their feet. I don't want to become one of those people! Pack a first aid kit but only pack the items you know how to use and will be practical for hiking. Pack the basics... I also throw one item into mine that most probably don't and that is a stop-bleed solution just in case.

#4 - Sealed layers and TP
If there is two things to take and two things to be sealed, it's extra layers and TP! TP as in toilet paper for when nature calls and you don't want to catch a rash from some weird looking leaf! Just remember to dig a hole and Leave No Trace. You might bring a little hand shovel with you for that. As far as extra layers sealed - this is for those special cases when you get your clothing wet and need something dry quickly. My extra layers are a pair of insulation running tights, socks and an insulated running compression shirt - all of these items are super light weight!

#5 - Lights, Fire & Shelter
Lights - bring a flash light with extra batteries. If you get stranded in the dark without a flash light, things can go very wrong for you. Fire - bring some fire making tools in case you need to make a fire to stay warm. Stuff happens and you might be stranded, no need to freeze to death while awaiting help to get there. Drier lint is a great source of fire by the way! Shelter - Kill two birds with one stone by bringing a full size adult rain poncho. That way, its a rain poncho for when it rains and a make shift shelter for when you need to have something over your head. Survival Tip: If leaves are dry and you can handle it, stuff them in your shirt and pants to give yourself an extra warm layer.

#6 - A good knife & protection if needed
A good knife is a good idea. Something strong and sharp. Whether you need it to defend yourself or cut some fire wood to keep warm - a good knife is a good idea. Also, you might consider protective tools per the location you are at. Bear spray for when you're in bear country or many a high-pitched sound emitting device. Some folks carry handguns - make sure you can legally do so in your jurisdiction before actually doing it.

I hope you all have enjoyed this article. If you did, hit the like button! Comment below telling me what other gear you bring with you when hiking that you feel is essential?