The joy of hiking, discovery, getting to know the treasures of nature is an experience that cannot be compared to any other. You just need to get going. Sounds good, right? But what exactly will you need on a hiking trip?
Before leaving the house for the trip, the most important task is getting your backpack ready. Yes, get your long-forgotten backpack out of the storage room, because it will be the most comfortable piece of accessory that allows you to carry the necessary equipment around.
Having said that, even though a backpack makes it easier to carry the weight, and being prepared for any scenario during a trip doesn’t seem like a bad idea either, an overpacked backpack and the heavy load can easily ruin the good experience, so be wise about what you choose to carry around with you!
A good backpack distributes the weight evenly on your back, it’s comfortable, light, and waterproof or dries off quickly. It’s not bigger than your back length or width-wise. Its straps and harness are comfortable and durable. Taking into consideration so many details in the case of a backpack may seem confusing at first, so we’ll write about how to pick the suitable backpack in another blog entry.
So the most important piece of equipment is the backpack. But before filling it up, consider carefully what are going to be the most necessary things that you’ll need to have with you on your trip. Don’t worry too much about it though; you’ll get the hang of how to pack wisely around your fifth hiking trip. And once you become a hiking enthusiast, your backpack will always be ready to go, you’ll only need to put water and some food in it.
Timing is key as well. Don’t leave everything to the last minute. When you’re trying to pack in a hurry, you can easily leave something essential at home. Believe me, pros also make lists, especially before a bigger trip, so they don’t forget about anything.
You must keep in mind the following when picking the equipment:
- how long the trip is going to last
- what is the level of difficulty of the trip you’re going to
- in which season you’re going hiking, and what is the actual weather like then
- what is the altitude of the area where you’re going to hike
- where you’re going to spend the night (e.g. at home=one day trip, in a tent, in a tourist hut)
- what is the infrastructure of the hiking route (e.g.: whether there’s going to be a grocery store or a spring nearby)
As you can see, many factors may influence what exactly you will need during your trip, so it is not quite possible to provide you with an exhaustive list of items that you should take with you. But having an approximate guideline or list of items might be helpful, and may make the selection of the right equipment easier. Here we undertook this challenge to make a list of the most necessary items, but don’t forget to customize this list to your needs, update it regularly, and share your version with others!
Things you shouldn’t leave at home:
- Backpack (that can hold all the necessary items) + a rain cover for your backpack
- Boots or comfortable footwear that fits the actual weather and other conditions (keep in mind the type of terrain that you’re going to hike through)
- Weather-resistant and layered clothing – clothing that keeps you warm, such as polar or softshell. I suggest you that you take several thinner layers of clothing with you, and wear a combination of those.
- An extra pair of socks, and maybe some other spare clothing
- Flashlight, headlamp (Always keep one with you! Before your departure, doublecheck if the battery and the bulb work well and change them if needed!)
- Pocket knife or a knife
- Pap or a travel guide (especially if you go on the trip alone, without a guide)
- Charged mobile phone, or a mobile phone power bank in case you may need to call for help or need assistance with finding your way (the battery dies faster outdoors than usual)
- Food in the necessary amount (take some food sources that your body absorbs gradually and last longer – e.g.: sandwich, but also something that gives you energy quickly – e.g. glucose tabs or chocolate)
- Drink in the necessary amount (take the weather into consideration – you’ll need something warm in wintertime, and more liquid than usual during summertime)
- Sunscreen (against getting sunburnt) and lip balm (against dry lips when it’s windy)
- Hat or headscarf that provides shade or gives you warmth. The body parts through which we lose most of our bodily heat are our head and forearms, so it is important to keep them covered or have enough ventilation around them.
- Sunglasses (they come in handy in the snow too, against high levels of UV radiation)
- Hiking gaiters (for canyon tour or for when the weather is bad)
- Tissue paper/toilet paper (if you want a bit of comfort)
- IDs, money, your watch.
And in case you want to be prepared for absolutely everything:
- First aid kit (medication, bandages, plasters, calcium)
- Equipment repair kit: needle, thread, cord, thin wire, extra fabric to fix your backpack or trousers with, buttons, safety pin, etc.
- Insect and tick repellents
- Plant inventory.
And finally in case you go on a hike that lasts for several days:
- Sleeping bag, air mattress (it is possible that there’s no bed or bed linen where you’re going to stay overnight)
- Spare underwear
- An extra bottom layer of clothing
- If you sleep in a tent: tent (of course), sleeping bag/air mattress, equipment for camping (pot/mug, portable outdoor gas burner, and refill, silverware, something to light fire with (in waterproof packaging), toiletries)
- If you like photography: your camera and video recorder.
If you’re interested in what you need for more extreme hiking trips or what kind of specific preparations the different seasons require, I recommend you to check our other blog entries.
And what’s the last thing that’s still missing from the lists above? Good vibes and an open attitude with wide-open eyes! Have a great trip! :)
If you have any questions, feel free to ask us!