Hiking is the simplest, most elemental way to experience the greatness and beauty of the outdoors. Whether for a quick lunchtime trip or a daylong march, hikers always do well to come prepared. Fortunately, suppliers like the one online at questoutdoors.com make it easy to acquire everything required for any hike. Bring the following six essentials with you when you hike, and you will be prepared for just about anything.
1. Reliable, Redundant Navigation Tools
Way back in the 1930s, a Seattle-based group of outdoor enthusiasts called the “Mountaineers” published a list of the ten items every hiker needed to carry into the wild. The first recommendation was a detailed map of the territory and terrain to be explored.
Things have changed greatly since, but navigation tools are still essential to safe hiking. Getting lost is one of the most dangerous things that can happen while hiking and even popular trails are not always as easy to follow as would be hoped.
Even people who have never hiked before often own tools that can be used to facilitate navigation. A smartphone loaded up with digital maps which are available offline can be useful even when far from a wireless company’s coverage zone.
While high-tech devices make great primary navigation tools, old-fashioned maps can come in handy, too. A water-resistant topographical map will be there long after the battery in a smartphone or dedicated GPS device has failed.
2. Some Water (and Possibly a Filter)
People can live for many weeks without food, but a lack of water can prove fatal quite quickly. Hiking is also a strenuous activity, and the water that gets lost to sweating along the way should always be replaced before long.
As such, preparation for just about any hike should include the addition of at least one generously sized bottle of safe drinking water. Many hikers also carry compact water filters that can be used to purify water found along the way, if required. Even a few old-fashioned iodine pills could prove useful in an emergency.
3. A Basic First Aid Kit
Hiking is a remarkably safe activity, all things considered. Tramping around in the woods, though, does expose vulnerable parts of the body to certain threats.
A compact, inexpensive first aid kit that contains items like antiseptic cream, adhesive bandages, over-the-counter painkillers, and an elastic wrap should be part of every hike. It is not necessary to come equipped for surgery, but be ready to deal with the scrapes and other minor injuries that are so common when hiking.
4. Extra Clothes
Weather can change a lot more quickly than many assume, and that can be dangerous when hiking. Taking a compact, lightweight rain jacket along when hiking will almost always be prudent.
An extra pair of socks or a small towel can also make a generally uneventful hike more pleasant. Avid hikers often keep a selection of extra clothes and accessories stowed away in backpacks, ready to go.
5. A Multi-tool
Most hikers used to carry simple folding knives, but there are far better options today. Multi-tools that feature everything from basic blades to awls and small saws are perfect for hiking. Even when a multi-tool ends up staying in a pocket most of the time, it can prove invaluable at some point.
6. A Way to Start a Fire
Even people who plan on quick hikes sometimes end up spending more time in the woods than they hoped. Should the need arise to overnight away from home, being able to get a fire started can be a lifesaver? Even simply bringing a cheap disposable lighter will help, but many enthusiastic hikers carry more advanced tools like strikers made from magnesium.
7. A Little Preparation Pays Off
Collected together, these essentials should fit in even a modestly sized backpack with plenty of room to spare. While spontaneity is part of what makes many hikes so enjoyable, hikers who always carry the six items listed above will improve their odds of having a great, safe time.