Going on day hikes are a perfect way for unwinding and escaping from the hustle and bustling city. Nothing like the fresh breeze is gently caressing you as you sweat out all the stress that has piled up in the past days. Of course, if you can spare more time, camping overnight would be great.
For the busy bees who only have limited rest days, a day hike would suffice. Studies have shown that being outdoors, may it be a simple day hike or overnight camping dramatically improves one’s emotional well being. Not only is it considered an exercise for your muscles and bones, but it also has mental health benefits.
Hiking has been known to help decrease anxiety, stress, and depression, and even improve memory and perception. Basking in nature gives a sense of being reconnected to your roots and feeling recharged.
However, although the outdoors is an excellent place for your detox, you still have to prepare for the hazards you might encounter.
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- 1 Hiking Checklist: What to Bring on a Day Hike
Hiking Checklist: What to Bring on a Day Hike
It is important to prioritize your safety among everything else. If you’re not an avid hiker, you may be wondering what to bring on a day hike. Read on for tips on how to get ready for your upcoming hiking trip and what to bring on a day hike.
Appropriate clothing for hiking
Wearing proper hiking clothes is not just for making a fashion statement. Going on a hike exposes you to a lot of elements, and your clothing is your first line of defense. It should be the first item on your hiking survival checklist.
Avoid clothes with absorbent materials, such as cotton. You will be sweating a lot, or you may be exposed to water from rivers or the rain, Materials such as polyester and spandex are perfect.
Wear tops with long sleeves and long pants. This will help protect you from getting rashes from plants, and also minimize areas exposed to the sun. It will also help protect you from insects. You may opt to use arm sleeves since your hike will make your body warm. Removable sleeves will help cool you off when you need to.
If the weather is terrible on your day hike, bring along a parka or any lightweight jacket. Exposure to rain during a walk will increase chances of hypothermia (abnormally low body temperature), so make sure you avoid being too wet on your hike.
Proper hiking shoes
The next item on your master camping list should be comfortable and appropriate hiking shoes. Just like how you need different kinds of shoes for various sports, hiking shoes are made for the outdoors. It will help you conquer the rocky and uneven trail before you.
Hiking shoes will protect your feet so you won’t feel the rocks pushing in on your soles. Hiking shoes also provide added traction to help you in slippery areas. Go for shoes with soft insoles as you will be walking for hours. Shoes with water-resistant material is a plus, especially if your trail includes crossing a river or being exposed to water.
Wearing proper socks with your shoes is also equally important. Opt for socks made with polyester material (again, avoid cotton) to keep yourself dry. It is important to stress that you must be able to dry yourself quickly when outdoors to prevent hypothermia.
A breathable hiking backpack
You will need to bring along a lot of things with you for your hiking survival, and you would need something to store them in. Your daily casual bag may not be appropriate for a hike since it wasn’t made to withstand the harsh conditions of the outdoors. Thus you need a breathable hiking backpack and should be the first on your list of, what to on a day hike item list.
A backpack type is more suitable since it equally distributes the weight on both of your shoulders, making you more stable on your hike. Most hiking bags have an extra feature that enables your back to “breathe”.
This contraption creates a space between the backpack and your back, helping you to cool down, making your hike more comfortable. Hiking backpacks also have more storage space for your stuff.
Opt for hiking backpacks made from waterproof material so you won’t have to worry when rain falls on your hiking day. Or you can choose bags with rain covers if it is your preference. It also has extra straps that could hold additional items like tents, hiking canes, water bottles, etc.
Hiking trail mix and snacks
If you are thinking about what to prepare on a hike, there’s no argument that snacks are one of the necessary things for camping. It replenishes your energy on your hike. However, they are not just your regular potato crisps and junk foods. Trail snacks should be enough to restore your lost carbs, but not too much to make you feel bloated.
The recommended trail mix snack is mainly composed of nuts and raisins. Keep in mind the ideal trail mix is composed of “gorp” – “Good Old Raisins and Peanuts,” or “Granola Oats Raisins and Peanuts.”
Nuts contain healthy fats, and dried fruits like raisins provide carbs that provide you the quick energy boost you’ll need. They are easy to carry and easy to eat since you can eat them by hand. And there is no waste to clean up afterward.
Filled water bottle with filter
Hydration is very important when engaging in physical activities. Since you will be in the outdoors with no stable source of safe drinking water, make sure to bring your own. It is recommended to bring 2 liters of clean water so it won’t be too heavy for you to carry.
For your water bottle, choose the one that is sturdy so you won’t worry about it leaking if ever it falls off. The ones with straps are easier to carry. It is recommended to have one in neon or bright colors, so it is easier to spot, especially in the dark.
Also, it is better to have a water filter to make sure you are drinking clean water. Water filters will also help if you refill with water from an untrusted source. Your phone with maps (you can also bring a compass or any navigational system you wish to bring like a compass).
Your phone is a necessary hiking survival tool. No, not for the Instagrammable photos, nor real-time updates to your social media accounts. Your phone is an all-in-one communicator and navigation device. If ever there is an emergency, you can immediately call for help.
Given you have enough account balance and cell service, make sure to save emergency numbers in your contacts before going on your trip.
The GPS and Maps app can significantly help you when you get lost or if someone is greatly injured, and you need to specify your location for the rescue service to pick you up. Play around with your phone and figure out how you can get your current coordinates (latitude and longitude) and take note of it.
It is also important to keep your phone charged so you can use it. Bring along a portable power bank with you so you won’t worry if your battery gets drained. Make sure to place your devices in a waterproof bag in case it will rain.
If you have training on using it, carry along a compass with you. It will greatly help you with navigating your trail if ever you get lost. Or have a compass app installed on your phone so you won’t have to carry a lot of stuff.
First aid kit
A first aid kit should always be in your master camping checklist. These will help you in case you encounter emergencies on your way. However small it may seem, first aid will significantly help while waiting for rescue teams to arrive.
There are a lot of things you can include in your first aid kit, but make sure not to bring bulky items. Disinfectants, plasters, bandages, masks, flashlights, knife, cotton buds, and common medicines should be included in your kit.
You could also bring a rope. If you have undergone training, a rope can be used for anything, like a makeshift stretcher.
A hat should be part of your trekking getup. Hats protect you from the sun’s heat and can be used as a fan in case you feel hot. It will also keep your hair in place so you won’t have to worry about it getting stuck on branches.
If it rains, hats keep your eyes protected so you’ll have a better view of where you are going. Aside from its benefits, it completes your overall hiker look.
One of the elements you will be exposed to during your hike is the sun’s heat. It is important to protect your skin to avoid painful sunburn, or worse, skin cancers. During your hike, you may not feel its effects on you as you are high on endorphins.
But the pain comes afterward when you are all relaxed, and you suddenly notice the red patch of skin on your arms. It’s impractical to carry around an umbrella with you, so why not use sunscreen lotions instead. Go for sunscreens with SPF 30 or 50 as it provides you with balanced protection from both UVA and UVB rays.
Higher SPF, like SPF 75, may seem to provide higher protection, but don’t be fooled. It simply means it has higher protection against UVB rays, but not UVA. It is also important to note that you must reapply sunscreen every 2 hours as your sweat and other external factors will wash away the lotion.
Another necessity to bring on your day hike is a bug spray or lotion. Bugs and insects carry viruses that can make you ill. Most common of these are mosquitoes that are known carriers of malaria and dengue, among others.
To protect yourself from these nasty critters, have a bug repellent spray with you, or put on some lotion. There are also available patches which you can easily place on your clothes. These patches give off a scent that repels most insects, such as mosquitoes.
Sunglasses are not just worn to look cool. They are called sunglasses for a reason – they protect your eyes from sunlight. Walking around for hours under the sun will put some strain on your eyes. For people with light sensitivity, it will easily make them tear up and have sore eyes. Some may even experience dizziness.
Sunglasses help by blocking some of the light to make you see and feel better. It is also a convenient and lightweight item, so you won’t have any difficulty bringing it along.
Often the most overlooked item to bring, tissue papers are very useful. Aside from cleaning up after defecating, which is its most common use, it can be used for wiping perspiration and cleaning up equipment.
Also, it can keep your gadgets clean and even for starting fires in case you need it. A not-so-common but practical use for it is writing important information such as phone numbers or other notes.
Much like the tissue paper, wet wipes are very useful for cleaning up. It can also be part of your first aid kit for cleaning up wounds. If you bring along food containers, it can be used for your preliminary wash.
Wipes are essential, especially for food that has a lot of grease and oil. It can also help cool you off if you feel too hot during your hike, so be sure to bring it along.