Hiking equipment can make or break your trip – if you forget something essential, you’ll sorely miss it when you’re on the trail. Whether you’re a beginning hiker looking for resources on what to bring along or a long-time avid outdoors enthusiast, you’ll appreciate this list of the 4 top hiking accessories you won’t want to leave home without.
1) A high-quality water bottle. The most important thing you can do on a hike of any length is to stay hydrated. Dehydration is a serious threat to anyone participating in physical activity, especially to hikers both in hot summer weather when you lose more fluids from sweating and in cold weather when the dry air can speed up dehydration.
Choose a bottle that won’t break and that is insulated enough to keep your water cool. You may prefer one with a strap to attach to your belt or a pack, or even one you can carry on your back. The important thing is that you bring along the best one for you and drink steadily throughout your hike.
2) Comfortable, appropriate footwear. The right shoes are absolutely essential hiking equipment to have. Don’t set out wearing just any shoes. You’ll need a hiking shoe or boot with a sturdy sole and stable ankle support for rugged terrain. For foot arch support and cushioning, insert a Journey Hiker insole for comfort and fatigue reduction. These insoles provide shock absorption and help reduce heat and friction in your shoes.
3) Layered clothing. It’s good to be prepared for changes in temperature and weather conditions when you’re on the trail. A hot day can become chilly in the woods, and you might work up a sweat even on a winter hike. Come ready with clothing you can easily add and subtract without creating a burden for yourself. See this guide from The Hiking Life for help deciding on the right attire for your trip.
4) Skin care products. A hiking day is not a spa day, but you should still be taking care of your skin when adventuring. Wear sunscreen and bring more with you for additional applications if you’ll be out longer than a couple of hours. The same goes for insect repellent, especially if you’ll be in a wooded area or near standing water. Bring along a hat as well to protect your eyes and scalp from damaging sunlight.
These supplies will have you well on your way to a great hiking experience and are all you’ll need for shorter trips. On longer hikes, be sure to carry some salty snacks like nuts and raisins. For more intense adventures, you may want to purchase backpacking gear to bring along more essentials like a tent, sleeping bag and cook stove. Finally, be sure you know where you’re headed on hikes of all lengths and types – understand trail markers or carry a map or even a GPS to stay on track.