Finally some good weather. You can already see yourself packing your things in the car and driving up the mountains to set up camp and spend a great weekend with the family, camping and hiking. But before you do just that, are you sure you know what are the basics you need to pack with you? Have you ever hiked before, and are you aware of the dangers it can entail?
From shelter to hydration, there will be different areas to cover. In this article you will learn what are the top 10 things you need to have in your backpack if you go hiking. Don’t take chances. Don’t get caught in a harsh situation without the proper tools or instruments to assist you. Stay safe and pack wisely. Stick around and learn all you need to have in your hiking backpack checklist.
10 Essentials in Your Hiking Backpack Checklist
Firstly, this hiking backpack checklist will focus on the required gear that everyone going hiking should consider packing. We will, however, provide you with a few examples of optional gear which can make your life easier later down the line. For now, get ready to start packing. These are the absolute top ten essentials you should pack in your backpack, if you plan to go hiking. And it doesn’t matter if you are an experienced hiker or not.
1. Maps, Compass & GPS
Don’t get lost! Navigation is of prime importance. If you don’t know where you are going, how are you supposed to get there? Find a map, find a compass, find a GPS reading device, but find something that allows you to get a sense of the direction you are about to take and tells you where you are. An altimeter is also a good option, if you plan to hike the mountains.
2. Sun screen
When you’re in nature the sun tends to act stronger on your skin. Don’t get caught of guard. Plan ahead. Pack your backpack with a good sunscreen, lip balm and of course, a good pair of sunglasses. If you do so, you are ready to lead the way.
There’s a reason why hikers tend to go for clothes designed for that specific purpose. A good jacket, pants, gloves and a hat can help to protect even further from the strong sun and make sure you stay hydrated. One thing you should NOT do is underestimate the novice effects the sun can have on your hike if you are not careful.
If you think a good light source is only handy to have at nigh time, you’re wrong. Wherever you are, it’s a must have in many situations. If you get lost, you are ready for night time. But if you are hiking in day light, it’s a good way for you to see your way through that awesome cave or those amazing castle ruins. Make sure you pack matches, also. And extra batteries, just in case.
5. First-aid supplies
You want to be prepared. Most of the people who actually get caught in dangerous situations in the wilderness turn to be unequipped properly. Don’t be those people. A good kit with first-aid supplies can make all the difference in case something goes wrong. Play safe. Pack your bandages and antibiotics, and make a wich you won’t need them.
That means food, plenty of it. But not just any type of food. Pick food that’s energetic, like fruit and cereal bars. Preferably, carry stuff you don’t have to prepare. This is not the Master Chef, it’s about hiking in the wilderness. So, despite you thinking you make a great Fillet Mignon, this is not the time for it. Settle for a Snickers bar, instead.
Bring water, of course. Enough to keep you hydrated throughout your hike. It’s not only a good idea to get a really sturdy water bottle, you should also consider acquiring a water filter. It can make the difference in extreme situations. If not, consider another form of water treatment system. It can even help you save money.
Yeap. Just like in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. A towel may very well be fundamental for any traveler. This includes hikers, of course. Rain, a quick swim in the lagoon, or whatever entails made you get wet; dry it all up using your pre-packed amazing towel. You get it.
If you’re going hiking, you will probably pass through amazing landscapes. A pair of binoculars can help you make the most of it, and even find some cool extra spots to explore. Today they make them real compact and light, making them perfect for people on the move, just like you.
10. Radio Transistor
Stay tuned. A small radio transistor will suffice in making sure you get the news from what’s surrounding you. This is especially critical in dangerous weather situations, like snowfalls and thunderstorms. Having access to these news can help you find the best route and avoid trouble. Pack a radio, it will also keep you company when you need to stop and take a brake. Just tune in to a nice song.
Wrap it all up and get moving!
Now that you know your essentials hiking backpack checklist, there’s a few extra things to consider. The first one is whether or not you want to include a tent or some sort of shelter in the list. This will be useful but only if you plan to stay for longer periods than a day. Remember, hiking is an extraordinary experience but not always an easy task. It’s very important to be well prepared and geared if you want to enjoy a hike, rather than suffer from it.
I know plenty of people who gave up after one hiking experience they didn’t enjoy. Of course, this happened because they were unprepared. So, there you go. Don’t make the same mistake. I hope this hiking backpack checklist helps you understand the needs that come with an awesome hike. Feel free to use it and pass it to friends. If you need some guide on buying a hiking backpack, check out my ultimate comparison.