Do you hear that? Its the great outdoors calling your name! There is an abundance of research that suggests that being outside in nature is beneficial for both adults and children with some of the most noteworthy being increased creativity, improved self-esteem, decreased stress and improved energy. It just so happens that it’s the absolute perfect season to hit the trail and enjoy all that nature has to offer. Before you head out, here are a few essentials for your hiking pack.
Water: Hydration is key and the secret to keeping hydrated on the trail is to hydrate before you go. Make it a priority to drink at about 20 ounces before you head out. The amount of water you will need while on the trail will depend on the adventure ahead, how long you will be out there, what the terrain looks like and so on. We recommend using a water bladder to keep your water accessible at all times. Be sure to take small sips often along the way.
Water is one of the heaviest items that will go in your pack. If you are worried about weight, a water filter will be your friend. It’s actually in your best interest to keep a water filter in your pack and have an idea of where the nearest streams, lakes, and rivers are “just in case”.
Nourishment: You are going to exert energy and that energy will need replacing. The best foods for hiking are loaded with nutrients and provide lasting energy. This means we want to avoid sugary foods and instead go with a combination of proteins, complex carbs and healthy fats that release a steady supply of energy. These nutrient-loaded foods will keep you satisfied and feeling your best throughout your adventure. Some of our favorite options are a can of sardines in olive oil, a packet of tuna or chicken, nuts, seeds, a protein bar (shoot for 6 grams or less of sugar), jerky, and dried fruits/veggies. For an added boost of nutrients, we recommend throwing in a packet of Essentials. These handy packets are loaded with a variety of vitamins and minerals, phytonutrients, amino acids, enzymes, and probiotics.
Skin Protection: It’s important to protect your skin from the elements. Be sure to put on sunscreen before you go and pack layers. A light long sleeve shirt, hat, and versatile hiking pants will help provide protection from both the sun and pesky mosquitos you may run into along the way.
Be sure to throw your favorite natural bug spray in your pack as well. You never know when you will run into mosquitos and will certainly want to be prepared if you do.
Navigation: Physical maps are a thing of the past. New technology allows you to pull up a map on your cell phone from anywhere. Before you head out download an app like “All Trails” or another well-known app. Be sure to download the map to your phone before you leave. This will allow you to view the map whether you have service or not.
Pro tip: Make sure you have a power pack and charger to keep that thing full of juice.
Emergency Kit: Expect the best but be prepared for the worst. It’s important to put together an emergency/survival kit before you hit the trail. Be sure to include the following in a waterproof container:
- Antiseptic wipes
- Assorted bandages (including butterfly bandages)
- Gauze in various sizes
- Medical tape
- Leuko tape (for blisters)
- Antihistamine (for allergic reactions)
- Medical gloves
- Safety pins
- Information on how to use your supplies
- Emergency heat-reflecting blanket
- Fire: matches, lighter, flint, tinder and/or stove
- Water treatment tablets
- Duct tape
Happing hiking and adventure-seeking!