Ready to take on some longer trails and day hikes with your family and friends? Maybe even an overnight or multi-day hiking adventure with your kids?
It is necessary to carry some essential items whenever you step out for an adventurous journey on foot. You may require only a few of them frequently while on a hiking trip. Still, you should also be prepared to face unforeseen situations or emergencies when these essential items help you with valuable support.
These hiking essentials should be small and compact so that you can carry them easily and use them conveniently. These are the top eight items expert hikers recommend you take on your next hiking trip.
This post is part of our outdoor adventures series
1. Navigation Tools
Navigation tools guide you about the routes and directions and identify your location. The navigation tools include the following:
- Compass: It’s necessary to carry a standard compass which is a vital tool to guide you with directions if you become disoriented during your journey.
- Map: A topographic map will help you find places and guide you about the routes (a real paper map, don’t rely on your phone!)
- Altimeter: It helps you determine the altitude and air pressure.
- GPS device: You may find it thrilling to explore new routes and locations and also want to get notified about any uncertain conditions. A GPS tracker provides you with a lot of benefits in this regard. It identifies your exact locations, helps you follow the defined route, avoids potential risks, and allows you to send alerts whenever required. Some of the benefits that GPS device provides during hiking trip are as follows:
- An effective and reliable navigation system with an accurate route-tracking facility
- Lightweight and compact so that it can be handled conveniently or used as a wearable.
- Long battery life as there may be constraints regarding the availability of a recharging facility.
- Advanced features like a compass, barometric altimeter, and weather tracker.
- Impact-resistant and waterproof to withstand the unfavourable conditions of the outdoors.
- Instant messaging and SOS alert facilities to contact a reliable source for assistance.
Another thing to remember before buying a GPS tracker for your next hiking trip is to go for one that is waterproof or comes with a waterproof case, like the Family1st Portable GPS Tracker. It is lightweight, affordable, and accurate. The tracker has various security settings making it a perfect companion on your hikes.
A bright light source is essential to find your path and avoid dangers in the dark if you’re hiking overnight or at low light. A good headlamp is an ideal choice as a source of light. It has the advantage over torchlight as it keeps your hands free for other tasks.
3. First-Aid Kit
It is very vital to carry a first-aid kit with you. It should include aids for treating injuries, blisters, disinfecting ointment, pain relievers, and bandages of various sizes, along with other regular medicines that you think are essential. You can go for pre-assembled first-aid kits or can make your customized first-aid kit.
The content of your gear will depend on the duration of your travel and the number of members. The kit should also include a guidebook to deal with medical emergencies.
4. Sun-Protection Arrangements
Your sun protection arsenal should include sunglasses, clothing for sun protection, and sunscreen lotions. These items are essentials to protect you from sun burning and premature skin aging. The uses of various sun-protection tools are as follows:
- Sunglasses: Protect your eyes from the radiation of ultraviolet rays and snow blindness. Keep in mind that opting for polarized sunglasses will decrease the glare and advance the colors and contrast of your view. Moreover, thanks to their excellent anti-glare properties, they protect your eyes from direct sunlight and harmful glare from reflective surfaces and ensure your vision isn’t damaged even in action.
- Sunscreen: Helps protect the skin while spending long hours outdoors, which can expose you to ultraviolet rays that may cause sunburn, premature skin aging, and skin cancer. A sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or above is most suitable.
- Sun-protection clothing: The clothing you use must be suitable for sunlight protection by blocking the UV rays from reaching your skin. You should also wear a hat with a full brim for maximum protection over your face, ears, and neck.
You can find more hiking clothing suggestions in our kids’ hiking packing guide.
5. Knife and Other Tools
These items serve many purposes while you are out for a journey or spend days and nights in the wilderness or other adventurous locations. A knife is a handy and practical tool for repairs, cutting, tearing, or any emergency needs.
Get a knife-holding multitool with other instruments like screwdrivers, can openers, and folding scissors, as it can prove to be life-saving in emergencies.
6. Extra Food and Water
It’s a good idea to pack food items worth one extra day in case you get detained for a long time somewhere. You can pack foods that don’t require cooking and have a long shelf life, like energy bars, nuts, or dried fruits.
It’s crucial to carry enough water with you and have some water treatment methods available during your journey to make it suitable for drinking. The amount of water you take will depend on the weather, altitude, and activities involved.
7. Emergency Shelter and Extra Clothes
You have to be ready with some emergency shelter arrangement which is essential to protect you from rain and storm and when you need rest based on your physical conditions. The shelter material should be lightweight, flexible, and easily foldable into a compact form to conveniently carry it.
The emergency shelter arrangements usually include an ultralight tent, a sleeping bag, and a blanket that weighs less and packs small. If you expect the journey to continue for longer, you should carry extra clothes that may be useful in changing weather conditions and in case your clothes get soiled or dirty.
8. Fire And Safety Arrangements
During a multi-day hiking trip, you need to light a fire to keep you warm, cook food, or protect yourself from other creatures that may harm you. A lighter is a good option as matches sometimes do not work in wet conditions. You need to ensure to keep the matchboxes in waterproof containers.
The use of a firestarter, an element that ignites fire quickly, even in wet conditions, is an ideal choice for this purpose. You should include fire fuels like chipped wood pieces or dry timbers in your list. Candles can light up your shelter and surroundings as and when required.
While planning a cross-country trip or any extensive outdoor hiking adventure, it is necessary to carry some items as essentials that make your hiking trip enjoyable and safe. These tools help to track your routes, protect you from adverse conditions, and help you make arrangements in case of emergencies.
These advanced hiking items make the journey enjoyable by allowing you to explore new locations, track your position, and guide you safely to the desired location.
More Hiking Tips & Outdoor Adventures
Dive further into our adventurous family travel blog and learn more about:
- Essentials you need for your first time hiking with a baby
- Tips to make hiking with a toddler fun!
- Pro tips for hiking with your dog