A Day Hike
Going for a hike is one way to de-stress and explore what nature has to offer, and you can do it together with your friends and family or even by yourself.
Whether you plan to go deeper into the mountains or find some trekking nearby, there are numerous places that you can go to. It can be your state national or deep forest land, but here’s a tip, make sure you have everything with you.
What do you need for a day hike? You need to have a hiking backpack, weather-appropriate clothes, hiking boots, plenty of food, water, navigation tools, a first-aid kit, and a knife if you plan for a day hike. A knife can also serve as a multi-tool that will help you throughout your hike.
In the article below, you will get more information about the most critical hiking equipment and tools. You can also check some tips and tricks if you are planning to hike for the first time.
Things You Need To Have For A Day Hike
Whether you are casually hiking or bagging a challenging summit, carrying all of the things that you need will be a critical matter. As often do, when things go south, this can only result in minor inconvenience or dire results.
For many beginners and professional hikers, having the essentials in day hiking is crucial. It should always be part of your list of things to bring when you decided to hike.
When it comes to navigation, you have at least a topography map and a trusty compass. These are the two navigation components that can accompany you on any trip to the backcountry.
These tools are reliable, lightweight, durable, and you are guaranteed to never run out of batteries. They can also keep you from getting lost or help you find the right track when you don’t know where to go.
GPS devices and phone apps are also excellent tools for supplementing a map and a compass. But, these tools won’t do any good if you do not have the proper knowledge on how to use them.
You need to brush up on your knowledge on how to use a map and a compass properly. It is also recommended to keep your maps in a clear, waterproof map sack so you can protect them.
The only problem with these is that they can run out of battery, so you might need to bring a USB power bank to recharge them. It will take extra baggage in your backpack, so you might want to consider that.
Sun protection is one of the most important things you should not miss in any of your backcountry trips. Even the weather looks cloudy, sunscreen, SPF lip balm, sunglasses, a brimmed hat, and protective clothing should always be on your list.
Bleeding cracked lips, bad sunburns, and conditions like snow blindness can be debilitating if proper respect is not paid to the sun’s harsh rays.
Weather can be pretty unpredictable, and it can change quickly on any wilderness trip. This is why it is always recommended to bring an extra insulation clothing layer, even if you are hiking in warmer weather.
A simple layering, quick-dry clothing system will ensure that you are safe and warm when the temperature drops.
For instance, you can pack down a hooded jacket and rain protection on your hiking trip. It is regardless of the forecast because you will never know when it will rain or not.
You might need to avoid cotton products for your clothing system as this can take a while to dry and pull heat out of the body. You can wear quick-dry shirts, synthetic laters that can manage perspiration to keep your clothing from soaking with sweat.
If you plan to hike, you need to bring some reliable headlamps on every hiking trip you take. It is also important even if you are not planning on being out past dark because sometimes a hike can take longer than expected. If you got lost in the dark, it could turn into a dangerous situation.
If you ever find yourself unexpectedly in the backcountry as the sun about to set, you will be happy you have a headlamp with you. It is recommended to always have your phone with you as they have built-in flashlights.
It can serve as a good backup light source but always have a headlamp battery as an extra if you run out of power.
First Aid Supplies
If you are traveling deep into the mountain, you will want to have a comprehensive first aid kit. Many backpackers and hikers buy a pre-packaged first aid kit that provides a lightweight and reliable setup for minor accidents.
As you gain a lot of experience, you will add or subtract different things in your kits. Just make sure to replace anything as you use them, as you might need to refill them in your next hike.
Fire is your way of getting heat and your food source as well, and if you know how to make one, you are good to go. It can be a life-saving skill if you are in some nasty weather when you hike.
There are plenty of tutorials online to find ways to build fires in harsh weather. To make fire as easy as possible, you need to have small bic lighters, some stormproof matches, and some firestarter cubes.
Using fire starters is only optional, but they make fire building much more manageable.
If you look to go more into survivor mode, you can always carry a small fire flint. These are easy to make and are cheap too. But today, you can easily buy them in many survival shops online or in any physical store nearby.
Repair Kit & Tools
Having multi-tool and essential repair equipment can quite come in handy when you are going for a hike. Having a multi-tool knife will come in handy in different situations, and you can pretty much use it on any possible occasion, like cooking and finding food to eat.
Also, another tool to bring is some valuable tapes like duct tape and tenacious tape. They can be used to repair gear in the field.
Tenacious tapes help fix sleeping pad punctures, tent fabric tears, and some sleeping bag rips. Duct tapes are a great all-around repair tool used to fix a broken tent pole or repair sunglasses.
When you are preparing for a hike, you want to make sure that you bring a lot of food to sustain your burned calories. This can give you your energy for a long day of activity, and many hikers recommend having snacks on bars.
You can also opt for dried fruits, nuts, or jerky as you go along. If you are looking for some substantial lunch, you can pack some tortillas or bagels and make some sandwiches as well.
If you are in for a long hike, you can bring extra calorie-dense food if your trip takes longer than expected. Always check some backpacking food guides to get more information and recommendations on the best trail grub.
It is essential to stay hydrated all the time, which can be true when you are hiking. Your body needs water to keep all of its critical systems running efficiently.
Water can also help you to cool down when you are hot. It can warm you up when you are cold and will keep your muscles and joints working correctly.
You have to make sure that you brought enough water for the entire duration of your hike. For a 24-hour water supply, 1 gallon or 4 liters is recommended per person, and make sure it is accessible via water bottles.
Another option is to bring a lightweight water purifier and know where the water sources will be.
Water is critically important, but it is also worth mentioning that it can be one of the heaviest things you will have to carry on the trail. It is why you need to know how much you can carry ad extra water needs to be avoided.
If you plan to have multiple days of a backpacking trip, you probably need shelter in your pack. It is because you won’t be able to find a nice hotel all the way up in the mountain.
But if you are on a day hiking trip, you can bring a small, lightweight emergency shelter. It is a great way to provide shelter in case you have to spend the night outside.
There are also some emergency blankets and bivy that are lightweight and affordable that can save your life.
Beyond the Essentials
The list above is mostly the essentials you need for a day hike, and you need to have them and prioritize them. There are also some essentials that you also need to survive the harsh weather and conditions when hiking.
It would be best to have a well-fitting and comfortable daypack that can carry the gear you will need. You can choose a pack that is large rough to be able to carry your essential gear with some convenient storage compartments.
This way, you can easily store some water bottles or a hydration bladder.
When you plan to trek, regardless of the time, you need to wear trail running shoes. Most trail runners are lightweight and comfortable. They dry very quickly, help us avoid blisters, and provide excellent traction.
You do not need to have hiking boots for water protection, ankle support, and durability because trail running shoes will be the best fit. For many hikers, trail runners will be your best fit for hiking footwear unless you plan to encounter winter snow conditions.
Toilet Paper And Trowel
There is many dirty toilet paper in many trails, and it is considered the most common form of hiking litter you find. This is happening because many hikers are not prepared to bury their waste correctly.
To dispose of human waste properly, you need to dig a cathole at least about 6 to 8 inches deep before you go.
If you do not pack a trowel, you won’t be able to dig a big enough hole to cover all your human waste. After doing your business, you can either bury your TP deep in the hole or pack it out in a ziplock bag.
Having dirty hands is the most significant contributor to illness in the backcountry, and this happens because many hikers neglect their hygiene.
It is an easy issue to avoid. You only need to bring a small hand sanitizer container and use it for bathroom breaks before preparing meals.
Trekking poles sound not be considered essential items but many hikers like them for a different reason. The main benefits of having trekking poles are to reduce the impact on knees and increase your stability.
This can be especially beneficial on long uphill or downhill sections of trail and fording rivers.
In addition to that, trekking poles can be used as tent poles as well to be able to support many ultralight shelters that will help reduce weight on long-distance trips.
If you believe that trekking poles will be a good fit for your hiking style, you can check different trekking poles available online and in many physical stores.
PLB (Personal Locator Beacon)
PLB stands for personal locator beacon, and it is a device that can be used to send a GPS emergency signal. This is coming from the wilderness, even without cell phone reception, and if you are in deep isolation, you can use PLB.
This can save your life, but the only downside with locator beacons is they tend to be of a higher value and require a subscription.
The upside is worth it, especially if you are hiking in different remote locations, as it can allow you to trigger search and rescue if necessary. You can also send simple pre-programmed messages to your loved ones while you are out hiking.
Tips And Tricks For Hiking
Hiking can be a fun experience, and it is relaxing to experience what the great outdoors has to offer. When you go on a hike, you will explore places in nature that the roads cannot reach.
If you have never hiked before, you might feel intimidated by the idea of it, and some of you might be concerned that it will be hard. But rest assured, there is a hike out there for everyone, and it is not a race to the finish line.
It is considered a low-impact workout that you can enjoy solo or with some family or friends.
Hiking is a physical activity that can decrease the risk of heart diseases, hypertension, and diabetes. Hiking can also offer you many health benefits, including helping you with weight management and stress reduction.
In addition to that, hiking is easier than you might think as it just needs a proper push and mental state.
When you are hiking as a beginner or a professional, you always need to have comfortable shoes, water, good snacks, and a hiking buddy. But here are a few final tips and tricks you should always keep in your mind:
- The first tip is to let someone know of your hiking plans.
- You need to take only what is necessary for a safe and enjoyable hike to avoid carrying too much weight.
- Bring the recommended amount of water.
- Choose a trail you can handle, and do not pressure yourself to conquer a more strenuous trail.
- If you are a beginner, you need to hike with a companion so they can guide you.
- Always bring your phone with you in case of emergency but turn it off if you are not using it to save battery.
- Stay on the designated part of the trail, and do not go find shortcuts.
- Stretch your body before doing the hike as it will prepare your muscles.
Planning Your First Hiking Trip
By this point, you are excited to immerse yourself in nature, but you can still feel fidgety about it. The scent of nature can be a soothing feeling when you are hiking, and this can help you in so many ways to relax.
It is especially true if you are a beginner and do not have experience in hiking different trails.
Planning your first hiking trip is easy and especially with the abundance of online resources that you can get. All you have to do is to remember the following factors, and you will be good to go:
Locating the Trail
You won’t start your hiking adventure by hopping in the car and just looking for some train along the road. While there is nothing wrong with being spontaneous, it can be pretty tricky to stumble upon the perfect trail for your needs.
You need to check online before you hit the trail, as the web is full of excellent hiking websites with helpful information.
You need to ask yourself how much time you want to spend on your hiking trail. You need to check if you can commit yourself to a long-term or short-term hike.
There are different options where you can choose the length of it depending on your capability. Also, you have to consider how long it takes to get to the trail and how elevation will affect your timing.
For every 1,000 feet of elevation, you should add another hour to your overall hiking trip.
Your Fitness Level
You want to have an enjoyable experience, but it is important to choose a trail that you can handle according to your fitness level.
If you are a beginner, it is recommended to start slow as you might want to enjoy it. Then you can raise the bar high and aim for more difficult trails if you can. Just remember to think about the fitness of your friends and family who will join you.
Ask yourself what you are comfortable with in terms of distance, and consider that the type of terrain can affect your pace.
A brisk walking pace is about 3 to 4.5 miles per hour, and anything less than 3 miles is considered a leisurely walking pace. If you find a trail that is 6 miles long, it could take you two hours to complete it correctly.
For instance, steep hills can slow you down to about 1 mile per hour, which will always depend on your fitness level. You might want to start with shorter distances to get a feel for what you’re about to embark on.
Characteristics of the Trail
You need to become familiar with the trail before you even start hiking on it. All you have to do is look at many maps and brochures of the area to consider the length.
Aside from that, it can give you an idea of the difficulty level, elevation, and terrain. You need to check as well where you will park and where are the nearest restrooms. You can decide which one do you prefer. Either you can take a loop trail or try one of those straight paths.
To sum it up, planning a day hike is not just for any professional hiker ready to take on the most challenging terrains. Anyone can hike as long as they come prepared and have all the items on this list.
It can be a fun experience and requires planning on your own two feet. Just make sure you have all the essentials you need so you won’t have a problem. In the event of an emergency, you will be able to pull yourself together and be back home safely.