The weekend is finally here! The workweek was long and arduous and you’re really looking forward to some relaxation. A friend handed you a pamphlet about a one-day hiking expedition and you are excited to try it. It sure does beat watching TV indoors all day, right? Now all you need is to prepare for the hike. Where do you even begin? We will help you to prepare for a hike like a pro. Read on for golden nuggets on what to carry on a hike.
Safety comes first. Always.
Whenever you’re approaching the great outdoors, safety should always come first. To this effect, you need to carry along your phone. It is your primary method of communication with the outside world. While it should be off or on silent during the hike for serenity, it is essential for your safety.
Carry along a flashlight, matches, a first aid kit, a blanket and a compass. Together, these items create a firm foundation of safety in case anything goes wrong. Carry more water and food than you think you will require. They may make your hiking bag heavier but they can keep you alive if you get lost and have to wait for help.
What to wear to a hike
You may decide to hike up the Himalayas or across the Sahara Desert. As such, your choice of hiking clothes really depends on the location where you’re hiking. No matter where you go, the bottom line is that it will get cold at night. So carry an extra sweater, jacket, and raincoat. Pack a beanie hat, a scarf, and even some gloves along with you too. Wear rugged, durable footwear. Leather hiking boots with a deep-tread rubber sole are always ideal. They will grip the terrain and save you from slips and falls.
Be a hiking MacGyver
As you take in the great outdoors during a hike, anything can go wrong. Your jacket may get ripped or your hiking boot may split at the heel. Your raincoat may leak and the tent could break at the seams. To stay safe, carry some equipment for quick fixes.
Pack a needle and some string. Also, carry along some duct tape. Hikers have reported binding blistered feet and mending clothes using duct tape. A tube of super glue is also great for fixing split boots. Moreover, some nylon cord and water purification tablets can boost your survival in case Mother Nature’s wrath erupts.
The sun is not always your friend
Have you ever spent a sunny day out in the fields and ended up nursing severe sunburn? Well, a day out hiking isn’t that much different. You will encounter various weather conditions and it pays to be prepared. Carry some sunscreen with you even if the current weather is overcast. Your skin will thank you later. Taking polarized sunglasses with you is also highly advisable. If you intend to hike up snowy peaks, the sunglasses will save you from snow glare and a bad headache.
Protection from wild animals
It’s not uncommon to come across wild animals while hiking—you are in their natural habitat, after all! Therefore, it is a very good idea to carry along some items that you can use to protect yourself in case you’re attacked.
First in line is a bullhorn or a whistle. Loud sounds can scare away animals. To this effect, carry a bullhorn or a whistle with you on a hike. Also, carry a hiking staff. Not only will it provide added support on treacherous ground, it can act as a weapon in case you are attacked.
Animals generally stay away from routes that are frequented by hikers. They hear you coming and keep their distance. Help them along by attaching a hiker’s bell to your backpack. It will clink as you walk and warn the animals that you’re en route. They will go further into the bush to avoid you and you shall be safe. A bug repellent is also essential for keeping away those pesky mosquitoes.
Hiking is a wonderful experience that gets you closer to nature. It relieves stress and helps you make many beautiful memories. Prepare yourself properly so that you can enjoy the journey. The guidelines above can assist you to accomplish this. And, while different hikes will come with different needs, doing a little bit of research in advance will help you decide what’s mandatory and what should be classified as supplementary. For instance, wet, muddy terrains may strictly require you to wear waterproof, well-treaded hiking boots, while relatively well-paved trails may be conquered in sneakers. Happy hiking!