Deciding on what to pack on your hiking trip can be a struggle and a half. There’s lots of gear to remember, but traveling light is also very important. To help you out, this article has listed the top gadgets and important gear you shouldn’t leave home without. Some of these items may seem like common sense, while others you may not have even considered, so it’s important you take every item in this list into consideration.
A good hiking/camping knife is one of the best things you can have on your person. Need some way to kill small game for a meal? The knife is your answer. You or your camping buddy has gotten hurt and you need to make a quick splint? A knife can cut apart those small branches to help you stabilize a sprained ankle. Forgot your screwdriver at home to remove screws from a piece of gear? The point of a knife can do that for you too. There’s almost nothing a handy pocket knife can’t take care of, and many of them even have other tools as part of their main body to help you during your camping venture.
Protection from the Weather
This could be in the form of a tarp, a poncho, or a simple travel umbrella. Depending on how you’re choosing to travel, you need some way to keep dry when there’s a downpour. Being exposed to wind and rain can lower your core body temperature and make you more vulnerable to getting sick. It’s also just downright uncomfortable to be cold and wet when you should be having the time of your life in the great outdoors.
Alternatively, you also need protection from the sun, as sunburns are not only painful but can also lead to melanomas on the skin that can eventually become cancerous. Sunstroke is also a likely possibility when you’re that exposed, so it’s important that you stay cool.
Out in the middle of nowhere, you can easily find yourself without any fresh water to drink. If weight isn’t an issue, then you can always keep a cooler of water bottles on hand. But if you’re on the move, then you’re going to need to find an alternative. More and more companies like LifeStraw are making portable water filters that remove bacteria and pathogens from bodies of water, making it potable for you to drink. Other filters require you to fill them up, and they will remove the pathogens while you hike, so you’ll have drinking water at the end of your trip.
Forget about rubbing two sticks together, there are much easier ways for you to get a fire going that don’t involve you wearing out your shoulders. Pocket-sized cases now carry waterproof matches or fire starter kits complete with hunks of magnesium for you to shave over your kindling. Even lighters are becoming smaller and easier to use. Even though their fuel supply doesn’t last forever. you can easily get a campfire going in no time. Whether it’s to cook a meal or just to warm yourself up before you settle in for the night, you really can’t go wrong with having a reliable way to start a fire.
Maybe you enjoy hiking with your favorite music from your iPod, but you don’t have the means of keeping your mp3 player charged on the go. Instead of having to lug around various chargers, you can harvest the power of the sun to take care of the job for you. These handy devices are pretty small and can be clipped to the outside of your backpack so that they charge while you’re on the go.
Anything can happen while you’re away from civilization, and emergencies can be the worst. You could have all the gear you could ever think of, and it still may not be enough. Having a satellite phone on you may mean the difference between life and death, whether you’re lost on your route or need to make an important phone call to emergency services. These phones are designed and built to withstand a lot of punishment, and have a long battery life to minimize your need for recharging. Definitely a must-have for any trip, no matter how far you’re going.
Many of these are now the size of a watch that can be worn on your wrist, but no matter what kind you buy, you’re better off than without one. A GPS will keep you moving in the right direction and will show you the same path back so that you won’t get lost. And when you are, it can redirect you so that you can gain your bearings and still head to your destination without having to turn back. Many GPS units also come with a compass, thermometer, barometer and altimeter so that you can be fully prepared for whatever comes your way.
You only have two hands, so you’re not going to be able to get all your gear to and from your campsite, no matter how far you’re traveling. Instead, invest in a durable camping backpack. They’re riddled with pockets for everything you can imagine taking with you on your trip, are designed to withstand the hardships of camping and hiking, and are made to feel comfortable on your back, no matter how much weight you’re carrying with you. Backpacks are usually measured in liters, which is the interior space of the bag, so the larger the number, the more things you can fit inside.
Nothing is more comfortable than being warm at night after a day of hiking. You get the chance to relax your bones and muscles so that you can be prepared for the next day. A sleeping bag is extremely important if you’re the kind to go camping during the winter months, as hypothermia is no joke. And if you’re the kind to prefer sleeping on the ground, a sleeping bag can be unzipped to use as an emergency rain shelter or blanket for insulation.