Hiking is very popular and it’s a good activity to spend your free time. It helps you to clear your mind, relieve stress and it’s also a really good exercise. However, it can turn into a horrible experience if you are not packed with the correct equipment.
You have to know some basic things before going to the mountains. So let’s start with some knowledge related to the preparing part of your trip.
Always plan ahead
You should always plan your trip ahead. First of all, plan the path of where you will go. It’s the most important because this way you will be able to calculate the estimated time of the trip and you won’t stay unexpectedly in the forest at the night. Always calculate with some rest every few hours.
When you’re planning you should also check the weather forecasts. The best idea is to check the forecast regularly. I always check it on the date of planning and sometimes it also determines the date of the trip. Then I check it every few days and also the day before I go to the trip. You should be flexible because your health and safety are way more important than a trip.
Know your limits
Be honest with yourself and don’t want too much. I know from myself that I can’t walk 50 kilometers a day because my muscles are not that strong. When planning a trip, you should always consider this! As I mentioned above your health is the most important so don’t overload yourself.
Okay, this should be a clear point for everybody but we tend to carry unnecessary things with ourselves. When you pack your bag follow the list below, always pack lightweight but also carry the most important things.
This one is crucial. There are cheaper and more expensive bags and it depends on your budget which one will you buy. The main properties of your bag are the following: It has to be comfortable for your shoulders and your back, even fully packed. The second most important parameter is the size… it should fit your back properly and has to be big enough to carry the things mentioned below.
Water & food + pocket knife
Food and water must be the heaviest items in your bag. Note that when you’re hiking you’re sweating more than in your home, so bring more water than you would drink on an average day.
A pocket knife must be in your bag too because it’s a must for eating and also cutting things. It can be handy in the mountains. It can save your life literally.
You can buy a small first aid kit at almost every shop and it’s also a must-have in your bag. For example, if you cut your finger or any other body parts, a band-aid is really important.
Shoes & socks
This is also crucial because you won’t walk on steady roads, you will step on small stones and if the shoe sole isn’t thick enough your feet will hurt so much. There are hiking shoes available in the stores but I always use my sneakers. It’s just a preference and I never had any problems so far. Although I use my everyday shoes I don’t recommend you to do this. Especially for longer trips because it can easily hurt your feet.
Socks are also important because without them your shoes will rub out your feet and it will bleed. In really hot weather it’s also important to absorb the sweat and your socks will do this dirty job.
Same as the socks, it will absorb the sweat and you will stay dry. For pants, it’s a must to be comfortable. Probably you won’t have to buy new stuff and you can use your existing pants. I always try to minimize the number of my clothes and you should do so.
Shirt & jacket, hat
This depends on the place where you are going. If it’s really warm, even if the sun is going down you don’t have to bring a jacket. But a comfortable shirt or t-shirt is really important. Don’t complicate this over, wear your everyday clothes if it’s comfortable enough. 🙂
If you are going to a sunny place a hat is a must because it will save you from heat stroke. And it will also help to keep a lot of bugs away from you.
Electronic gadgets & orientation
Always bring your cell phone fully charged with you. Not only it will show the time for you and you can use the built-in GPS on it, you can also call for help (if you arrive in a place where you have signal). When hiking you shouldn’t use your phone all day long, because your trip’s goal is to make you calm and stay away from everyday problems.
If you bring your phone and you know it has a good battery, it’s not that important to bring a GPS device but it’s recommended.
Although your phone with a built-in GPS is there, or you have your GPS device, they can always run out of battery life. ALWAYS bring a map with yourself!
Most of the phones also have a compass built-in but once again, if it runs out of battery you can experience some unpleasant moments. A compass doesn’t use up too much space, it fits in the smallest pocket of your bag.
Nowadays a camera or your phones’ camera is a must because you may want to show your photos to your friends and it’s also a good thing to look back and remember your older trips. Personally, I use a compact camera and sometimes my phone to capture my moments.
A flashlight with extra batteries is a must because you don’t know what will happen and it’s possible you will spend the end of your trip in complete darkness, you will thank yourself if you put a flashlight into your bag.
Sun is our friend and also our enemy – at least if we don’t use the correct protection tools. If you go to a sunny place bring your sunglasses and also sunscreen to avoid sunburn.
Bugs can also ruin your trip, so always bring bug spray with yourself – unless if it’s winter time and there aren’t any bugs out there.
As you can see you have to carry a lot of stuff but most of them are not heavy. Some of them can save your life in unexpected situations, some of them “just” makes your life easier during your trip.