Travel light, don’t take those heavy luxuries items that you don't need. Your pack can get quite heavy quickly. The whole hiking experience can change, when you get drenched and are exhausted and have to lug around a heavy pack.
Some hiking Tips:
- make sure you plan and research your trip and the terrain
- always think safety
- drink water and have water purifers
- waterproof your pack and shoes
- wear layers - not cotton
- take a backpack and pack it so you can get easy access to those things you need often.
- if you have trouble with your knees or back or weight grab a pair of trekking poles
- first aid kit
So, think about where you are going, and how long you intend to hike for. If you only going to be a few hours locally, you don’t need much of a pack, only something light and small. I would carry water, nut bars, a phone and maybe a light jacket. Now, if you are going overnight and further a field, then that’s another matter totally. You need to plan and prepare thoroughly, as it can be dangerous if you are not ready and prepared for all sorts of things.
If it has no real function leave it. If you have to carry it, think about keeping it as light as you can. Maybe you could take half of what is in that container or bottle, use zip lock bags. Using multipurpose items is ideal. If you can use packing cubes, they will help with organisation and access to your gear.
When you are packing think about your needs - physical, safety, food, water, climate control. Don't forget medications.
It's a good idea to waterproof everything before you go on a longer hike. Your gear can get easily wet, through sweating and perspiration, damp from dew, puddles, waterfalls, ocean spray and of course the rain.
Think about your backpack and its size and weight, if its too big or heavy get another one. You want to be as comfort as possible, any small irritating thing at the beginning of the hike could become a real pain in the butt by the time you finish. No regrets!
Day Hiking Gear
Safety has to be a number priority whenever you are going out hiking, either with a friend, group or alone. On any short day hike there are a few basic bits of hiking gear that are recommended for a safe and enjoyable journey.
When thinking safety think about your location and the weather and your own health and abilities. Don't go where you feel you are not capable of going or it isn't safe. Make sure to include a first aid kit, maps, tidal charts, weather apps, compass and look up all relevant weather and track reports before starting your hike. Optomo has a range of first aid kits along with joint support gear for those sensitive elbows, ankles and knees.
Water is a must and ensure you have plenty. Take a large water bottle and top it up if you know there will be places to get water along the way. You may even need water tablets or hydration straws, if the water supply isn't up to our standards. If you are camping boiling the water wouldn't hurt.
You do need to keep up your energy levels, especially on those hikes that are challenging or difficult and include rough terrain. Food such a protein bars, nuts and trail mixes, chocolate, cheese and crackers and even fruit, are always a good idea for any hike. These are light and easy to carry, and putting them into a zip lock bag will stop them from getting wet. Noodles, rice and pasta are good for an easy dinner. Don't forget the good old sandwich for a lunch. A serve of oats in a zip lock bag is great for breakfast. Poppers provides instant energy. A friend put all of the ingrediants for a chocolate cake into a zip lock bag. When she camped, she put water into the bag gave it a good shake, and tipped it into a aluminium foil cup, wrapped it aluminum and threw it into the fire. She waited and Wella! dessert.
A backpack is needed when you are hiking overnight or for a few days. You will need a backpack that is sturdy, has padded shoulder straps, without too much weight, and has a few external pockets to carry your water bottle, etc. It will need to handle the moisture make sure it has a waterproof pack cover. Your backpack will need to be the right size for your body shape, you don't want it too big nor too small, and ensure that the weight is carried on the hips and not on your back. This can make a huge difference with back aches and pain and fatigue. The Osprey Ariel 65 Women's Hiking Backpack could be a good suggestion for lighter hikes. This backpack has an adjustable mesh back system and the length of the support can be adjusted to suit your body size. It has a zip at the bottom for easy access.
Size: Different size backpack suit different hikes: the smaller backpack of 50 ltrs is suited for shorter overnight hikes. If you intend to hike for a few days then you'll need a bigger pack of around 60-80ltrs. Hikes up to a week you'll need the biggest pack of 80 ltrs. Just remember your body size and frame and the weight.
- Daypack: A daypack is used when we intend to hike for a few hours or a day. These are usually alot smaller and lighter. On these trips, you only need to take a water bottle, keys, wallet, phone, sunscreen, hat and a camera. Make sure to pack some food and snacks.
- Waterproof bags are good for those belongings that need to stay dry.
- Hydration pack is a bladder that you fill with water and you can wear it like a daypack, or put inside your backpack. Water is something you are going to need when you hiking, hydration packs make it easy to sip water along the way.
A hat can come in handy for so many weather conditions. A wide brim not only helps in those sunny conditions, it can keep the rain off your face. Make sure that the hat is breathable, and has mesh either in it, to keep you cooler. Get a hat that doesn't mould, especially if you have allergies and it will last longer. A Beanie is a must, if you intend to hike in windy or very cold conditions.
Sunscreen is a necessity, especially if you have sensitive or fair skin. There is a big array of sunscreen, make sure you pick one that has a high SPF of 50. Wear long sleeves and long pants if you are prone to burn easily.
Insect repellent is a must have, getting bitten by mosquitoes and being annoyed by flies can be a real downer. Insect repellent can help with keeping ticks at bay and leeches off your legs, pants and boots. There are a variety of sprays, wipes and creams. If you prefer, you can wear a net that fits over your hat and covers your shoulders.
Of course you’ll need a PLB with a GPS to get you to your destination and home again. The Garmin eTrex 30x GPS has good colour and readability in sunlight. It has a full range of maps that show shaded areas and also has a great memory.
- Map: How about grabbing a map of the area and studying it before you go on your hike. It will show you the area size, the terrain, and other landmarkers on the landscape.
- Tidal Chart: If you intend to hike anywhere that water will be influenced by the tides, it will be very important to know what the tide is doing. You don't want to be caught somewhere alone in an isolated spot with the tide coming in. Think about those caves along the coastline.
- Compass: Using a compass to find you way around is fun. It's back to basics and military style. A compass can come in very handy if you have no wifi signal.
The Foxelli trekking poles are lightweight, collapsable, have cork grips and comes with a bag. I find walking with poles helpful with balancing and pushing through difficult terrain, going up and down steps, and slippery slopes. They are especially helpful if you have knee, weight or balance problems. Choosing walking poles that are made from aluminium are easy to maintain.
It is highly recommended that everyone has their own form of lighting. It's a real nuisance if there is only one light and someone needs to go the the bathroom.
- Torches: Torches can come in very handy. If you intend to hike for several days then a smaller torch or two, would definetly be a good idea. Don't forget extra batteries. There are a wide variety of torches, some with UV aspects and are rechargeable. Some you can wind by hand. Make sure it is waterproof.
- Lanterns: Camping Lanterns are really good as the let off alot of light and last for ages. Easy and light to carry about and can be positioned and left. They can be big and bulky.
Head Lamps: A head lamp is used by most hikers as their main light source. They are especially great when hiking adventures take you into caves and you need both hands. They are really handy to use around camp, but be aware of blinding other campers with your light. You will need to take extra batteries. Solar powered lighting is now available. Some good brands are Petzl and Black Diamond.
What about sunglasses with Polaroid lenses that reflect the glare and assist in seeing into the water, such as Duduma Polarized Sports Sunglasses Unbreakable Frame . A good pair of goggles are great in those windy and wet conditions.
A pair of binoculars could come in handy; to spot those birds in the trees, especially that eagle soaring high above the mountain, or that whale breeching in the ocean.
A watch is a great asset when hiking, especially in those areas where there is no internet service, and one with a compass who be real handy. Make sure it's tough and sturdy, waterproof and shock resistant.
I like the idea of having a small hand towel in my pack. I have used it plenty of times, after a swim, to wipe off the sweat and mud. If you intend to hike overnight taking a lightweight towel or hand towel is a good idea.
Packing a pocket knife with a multi tool component are good, for all sorts of reasons.
- to cut rope or vines
- to open things
- eating utensil
- repair tool
Make sure it fits nicely into your pocket and hand. A better quality product will handle the cutting without getting blunt quickly. Be aware that these small items are easily lost, so a chain on it in your pocket could be handy.
How to Choose Hiking Gear
I have heard some people take duct tape. I could see how this little gadet could come in very handy, for fixing those walking poles, tent poles and other mishaps.
Some people take whistles for safety reasons, and I think it's a great idea. It's small and light, so its easy enough to pack, and it could be a life saver.