Are you new to hiking? All experienced hikers know it is essential to be prepared. When you are dealing with nature, things can go very wrong, and you need to be ready.
In this post you will learn a few hiking essentials you will need to pack for a safe experience.
You cannot do without a backpack when hiking. Without it carrying all your essentials would be very difficult, if not impossible.
There are some very basic things you need to look for in your backpack. Firstly it needs to be lightweight. You will be carrying a fair amount of equipment and it can become very heavy after hiking for a distance.
Size is important.
You need to make sure your hiking backpack suits your torso length. As you can see in the image the backpack should be positioned to your shoulder height. It should also extend down to the bottom of your spine.
Straps are very important (suspension).
The right straps will distribute the load and prevent any one area of your body taking too much of the load.
Obviously the heavier the load the better suspension you will need, Here is a quick guide.
- Up to 4.5kg - Minimal suspension, no padded hip straps
- 4.5 to 9kg - Padded hip strap, Light frame and frame sheet
- 9 to 18kg - reasonable frame and padded hip strap
- 18kg+ - Substantial frame padding on the hip strap
Pockets and Compartments
The main compartment is usually the largest.
Sleeping Bag compartment is most often at the bottom or the top of the backpack. Sometimes the sleeping back is carried in a roll at the top of your pack.
- Front Pockets These are varied but are mostly zippered or for a jacket.
- Side Pockets Mostly these are designed to hold a water bottle or perhaps tent poles.
- Hip Strap Pockets Easily accessible, these pockets hold small items you often need when hiking
The volume is measured in litres and determines how much you can carry. It is important to match the volume to the length of your hike.
- 15 - 30 litres Day hikes
- 30 -50 litres Overnight
- 45 - 55 litres Weekend
- 55+ litres More than 3 days
- Altimeter watch ( if you are travelling in the mountains)
- Personal Locator Beacon
- Multi-tool or knife
- Survival kit
Food and Water
- Trail snacks
- Water bottles
- Extra days food and water
- Lighter, matches and firestarter
- First Aid kit
- Emergency shelter
- Whistle or warning device
- Leave an itinerary with family or friends outlining your start time, finish time and route.
Footwear and Clothing
You need to dress to the conditions and always be prepared for changes in the weather. Mother nature is never predictable and can change very quickly.
Always carry extra clothes and make sure your footwear is suitable for the terrain
It is a good idea to take a hat and sun-protective clothes.
- Mobile phone
- Credit card or cash
- Personal identification
Hiking is a fun way to exercise. To enjoy nature and the peace of the bush. It can be an enjoyable experience but it can also be very dangerous if you do not prepare correctly.
It is truly a matter of preparing for the worst and expecting the best.
This is a very brief overview of what you need to take with you. You will always have personal preferences on what you take with you and that is okay. As long as you have the basics.
I hope you have learned from this post, if you have any questions or suggestions for a new post please leave them in the comments section below.
As always, we wish you happy hiking and stay safe.