Hiking can be an exhausting, physically demanding hobby that will test your fortitude. That said, it’s also a very rewarding, healthy, and fun experience. Regardless of whether you’ve just picked it up or you’re a seasoned hiker, it’s important to have the right gear before you set foot in the great outdoors.
Today, we have a rundown of the top five hiking items every hiker needs to have. Let’s dive straight into it:
Pocket knives are the most versatile tools a hiker can have, as well as one of the most essential items any hiker needs to bring at all times.
You can remove splinters, cut fruits, whittle pieces of wood, sharpen your other tools, cut meat, prepare kindling, open bottles, and defend yourself - all with a pocket knife.
A super-light, compact knife allows you to be prepared for any kind of hiking scenario while occupying an insignificant amount of your storage space.
Comfort is certainly the most important quality a pair of shoes needs to be suitable for hiking. However, comfort is conditioned by a few other factors, such as material, design, sturdiness, and more.
Hiking shoes need to be waterproof, as no one can feel comfortable with their feet wet, not to mention the health hazards that come with not keeping your feet dry. Sturdiness is imperative, as worn-out, flimsy shoes can leave your feet and ankles unprotected when you need them the most.
Breathability is also an important factor to consider. Non-breathable shoes constrict the blood vessels and can cause severe foot pain. This leads to increased fatigue and painful discomfort as well.
In terms of design, low-cut shoes are great for light hiking. They offer minimal ankle protection and better breathability, and they’re usually lighter than other types. Mid-cut models offer additional protection against scratches while providing extra ankle support.
High-cut shoes are the heaviest and least breathable type generally useful for mountain hiking. This type of design is convenient for winter-time hiking, but it’s all but practical for use in hot weather.
A compass is the essential navigation tool to have on hiking at all times for obvious reasons. Taking a few steps off the beaten road can make you spin in circles for hours on end with little else but the sun to rely on for direction.
While GPS systems and apps may be a bit more practical, certain spots aren’t mapped, and these gadgets are only useful for as long as the battery lasts. Compasses are easy to read, remarkably light, and beyond everything, dependable.
Using a compass in unknown locations may be a challenge, but at least you will be able to retrace your steps much easier than you would without one.
Traditional compasses are practical, but modern designs are even better for hiking. For example, modern compasses also feature brightly lit pointers and direction indicators, as well as minute detail indicators expressed in numbers.
First Aid Kit
It’s hard to call a doctor when your phone signal measures half a bar and you are miles away from society. A clumsy trip can leave a nasty bruise, an untreated cut can lead to infection, and a bite from certain insects can lead to allergic reactions, so you should definitely bring at least a basic first aid kit whenever you plan to go on a hiking trip.
A couple of bandages and some gauze can help treat minor injuries on the fly while antiseptic wipes and cold packs can treat infections. The easiest course of action is to buy a first aid kit, but you can also make one yourself.
Essentially, you’ll need a lightweight box with at least two separate compartments. Keep the tools (tweezers, adhesives) in one while keeping antiseptic sprays, antibiotics, and bandages in the other.
The main thing to consider when making a first aid kit is to create a box that will stay dry and is easily accessible. Be mindful of its weight and size. For ultra-lightweight hiking, it may be best to use a pouch instead.
Portable Sleeping Pad
Whether you’re hiking on trails you’re familiar with or exploring new ones, you may need to spend the night. It's also easy to get lost in the thick of the woods, even with a functioning compass, so the best thing to do is rest.
Some hikers don’t plan on sleeping outdoors, and hauling a sleeping bag for miles can be tough. However, a portable sleeping pad paints a different picture. Lightweight, waterproof pads can be easily placed anywhere, and they will still feel comfortable.
Inflatable pads are the most practical solution, as they normally weigh below a pound and require little or no setup whatsoever. Furthermore, the versatility of sleeping pads extends to their usefulness for camping trips, traveling, and even as extra beds whenever needed.
Outdoorsman Lab UL Camping Sleeping Pad
Outdoorsman Lab’s UL Camping Sleeping Pad is an inflatable ultra-lightweight pad tailor-made for camping and hiking.
Weighing in at barely one pound, its compact size allows for simple storage and easy carrying. It’s only eight inches tall and three inches wide when deflated, and it comes with a complimentary carry bag.
Speaking of which, Outdoorsman Lab also provides a free repair kit.
The UL Camping Sleeping Pad is roughly two inches thick, offering adequate support and optimal comfort. It’s made of 200 ripstop Nylon and reinforced with a laminated coating for extra durability. Additionally, the package also features an inflatable pillow that sports the same inflatable valve design.
The Outdoorsman Lab UL Camping Sleeping Pad is available at an affordable price and backed by a Lifetime Warranty and 30-day Money-Back Guarantee.
We hope that this rundown was useful and you’ve found an item or two that was missing from your list. Make sure you are staying safe and have a good one, guys!