Hiking season is always exciting. Families come out of their homes, pack their vehicles, and visit beautiful national parks for great exercise and fresh air. If you haven’t hiked much in your life, knowing what to pack can be a tad confusing – we get it. Not everyone knows what to expect out there in nature, so you want to ensure you’re well-prepared. However, you don’t want to overpack and add unnecessary weight to your load.
How can you pack smart and be prepared for anything? Here are five backpack essentials that will ensure your adventure is safe and fun:
1. A First Aid Kit
First aid kits come with a variety of emergency supplies like bandages, disinfectant, and topical ointments. Be sure to throw in some insect repellant for added comfort during your time outdoors. Mosquitoes can ruin your hike and seriously hamper your sleep at night if you’re out camping.
Other essentials to add to your kit include the best nappy rash cream (it’s handy for rashes and burns from plants like stinging nettles), and some good quality aftersun cream to apply if you’ve had a little too much exposure to the sun during the day.
If you’re camping, power will come in handy. If you’re not camping, an emergency power source can help you to stay in touch and share your whereabouts in an emergency situation. There are a number of great power banks to look at.
Rechargeable solar power banks give you peace of mind that you will have access to a charged phone no matter what happens. Solar power banks are a bit slower at charging devices, but they’re compact and designed to fit into your hiking backpack without taking up much space or adding weight to your load.
Take a reusable water bottle as well as water purification tablets so you can stay hydrated. The tablets should be kept in your backpack for an emergency situation. This enables you to safely drink questionable water if you run out.
It’s important to follow the instructions that come with the purification tablets, carefully. These tablets are a good-to-have emergency item that you’re not likely to need, but if you ever do get in trouble, they can quite literally save your life.
4. Rain cover
Rain cover for your backpack will ensure your devices, food, and clothes stay dry during any unexpected downpours. Most backpacks come with a waterproof cover, but you can also purchase them separately.
A rain cover is easy to toss over your backpack, shielding it from the rain. Some shields will also cover the back of your head, neck, and shoulders, keeping you relatively dry and comfortable during the hike while ensuring you have fresh and dry clothes to change into when you arrive at your destination.
A multi-tool can get you out of tricky situations and it can also simplify a number of tasks you might need to handle during a hiking or camping trip. A good quality multi-tool will make it easy to open cans, cut and peel fresh fruit, and it can help with minor first aid, like removing thorns from fingers and toes. It’s a single tool with a vast number of functions. A multi-tool can even assist with sewing up holes in clothes on the spot.
Hiking is great for your mental and physical health. However, getting outdoors does require some planning and preparation, like mapping out your routes and ensuing your pack is light-weight but stocked with everything you might need.