What’s in my Pack?: 10 Essentials for a Day Hike
Now that quarantine measures are starting to loosen, we are finally able to get outside and enjoy hiking again (responsibly of course). The gear in the basement has been calling my name for what feels like so long. So what better way to celebrate being able to hit the trails again than sharing my 10 essentials for a day hike.
It’s important to remember that your list will vary depending on the terrain, time of year, condition of the trail, difficulty level, and your own personal needs or interests. So without further ado, here are my 10 essentials for a day hike.
**I am not affiliated with any of these brands, these are just items I use and love.**
Now this one may not be essential to everyone but as a photographer it is crucial. I never want to miss the chance to photograph wildlife or breathtaking landscapes. However, you don’t need to be a photographer to consider a camera essential to your day hike. It’s great to be able to capture memories on the trail and see how far you’ve come. Even though I bring my camera, I don’t always take a ton of photos because I like to be in the moment.
2. Water bladder
After switching to a water bladder for hiking, I will never go back to carrying only water bottles. For me, a water bladder keeps me hydrated and helps me ration my water to last all day. Sometimes I will bring an extra bottle especially if it’s a hot day. Or I will bring my Sawyer Mini if I know there is a good water source on the trail.
3. Small first-aid kit
I feel like this one is pretty self-explanatory. You never know what could happen.
4. Tick puller
This was something I didn’t know was essential until we had one. My boyfriend and I primarily hike in Ontario and ticks are a reality. We bought ours from the park office at Frontenac Provincial Park. It was one of those things that we saw and thought, “that might come in handy!” Sure enough, it did. Both of us got bit my ticks on that trip (a story for another time) and we were so thankful to have that little tool.
Snacks are important to keep you full, fueled, and ready to go. One of our favourite high protein snacks is Clif Bar, especially the nut butter bars. They are a great pick me up to help you push through when you are starting to feel tired. Trail mix is also a great hiking snack and easy to customize to your personal preferences. I’m still on the hunt for the perfect trail mix.
Even if you are hiking on a well-marked trail it’s always a good idea to carry a map. It can give you a point of reference for where you are in your trek and also prepares you for the type of elevation you will face. It’s also a great way to start practicing your map skills for a situation where you don’t have a well-marked trail. That’s where the compass comes in handy as well. There’s no better way to grasp your bearings than practicing in a more controlled environment.
Protecting yourself from the elements doesn’t just mean good gear; sun protection is extremely important. I never leave the house without sunscreen or UV protective layers.
8. Bug Spray
This may not be essential for everyone, or for every season. However, if you are like me, I get pretty bad reactions to bug bites because of my extremely sensitive skin. Even though the bug spray doesn’t 100% protect you from every bite, reducing the amount can be a lifesaver. I’m still on the search for the best bug spray. I want something that’s effective but also not terribly bad for you or the environment. Let me know your favourite bug spray in the comments below!
9. Spare layers
Some spare layers are always necessary. What layers totally depends on the time of year. It’s always good to bring an extra pair of socks. The rest of your spare layers will largely be dependent on the weather (rain, snow, wind, etc.)
If you’ve never heard of GoGirl, I would highly recommend checking them out. This little device has made peeing in the outdoors so much easier and convenient. I’m not going to lie, it takes some practice. But, once you get the hang of it, it’s so great!
So there you have it! That’s what I typically carry in my day hike bag. I hope you found this post helpful and if there is anything I didn’t include that you consider essential, let me know in the comments below!
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