In my apartment I have a few spots dedicated to my hiking/outdoor gear. I have a box tucked away for all of my “grab and go” pouches and accessories, and I also have another part of my closet dedicated to larger items such as my sleeping bag, daypack, frame packs, camp chair etc. I also basically live in a glorified studio apartment, so there really isn’t much room so I have to keep things as organized as possible. I am also Queen of forgetting important things, so I like to keep things organized in different pouches, so I only have to remember to grab a pouch, and not a bunch of individual items. This list obviously changes based on what exactly I am doing that day, but not a lot. Also, depending on the type of hiker you are, your list may vary as well. These are however all of the things that to me help enhance my hiking experience.
My Hiking Essentials
This is an old Ipsy bag that I keep all of my health/beauty essentials in. (Bug spray, tissues, face wipes, eucalyptus/peppermint essential oil, small bottle of assorted pills (antihistamine, tylenol, ibuprofen, chapstick Q-tips, spare hair ties, lotion, and contact case.)
This is where I keep my Sawyer Water Filtration system. You never know when you are going to need this, so I always, always bring it. There have been so many times (especially camping) where it is impractical to bring enough water, so its important to be able to purify drinking water. I like this one over the LifeStraw because it comes with a pouch, so you can transport water into your water bottle, or into a pot if you’re camping. It also comes with a straw attachment so you can drink straight from the source. It is a very versatile and easy to maintain system.
This pouch changes a lot based on whether I am camping or hiking, but when I am camping it is a good place to keep misc things such as my Luci inflatable solar powered light, head lamp, earphones, foldable pour over coffee maker, coffee filters, toothpaste, toothbrush etc. It really is my misc. bag.
Hammock/ Bug net/ Suspension straps:
I definitely don’t bring this 100% of the time, but I do probably bring it about 80% of the time. There are so many occasions in which I come across an amazing spot where I want to lie down and relax/ take pictures/ read etc. Especially on days where I am hiking and have the whole day off. Of course you could always sit on a rock, but if you have a hammock, you may as well use it!
Water Bottle: This one is pretty obvious, but I always bring a water bottle. I have a hydration pack for my daypack, but to be totally honest, I prefer just a plain and simple water bottle. I really like My Nalgene, and Camelback with a straw because they are light-weight plastic, but sometimes if I don’t mind the extra weight I bring my Hydroflask filled with cold water.
Small First Aid Kit:
I think it is important to have a small roll of gauze, small bottle of peroxide and bandaids, just in case you get hurt. I have never even needed to use mine, but if you get a wound, you don’t want to worry about it getting infected- especially if you are far away from home. This first aid kit also contains a whistle, emergency blanket, compass, and hand warmers.
Extra Insulating Layer:
You never know when you are going to want to cover up if there is a temperature drop. I like to bring my Colombia Omni-heat jacket because it folds up really small and weights almost nothing.
Other Things to Consider
It is always a good idea to wear a hat. I have two hats I like to choose from. One is a Baseball cap style hat, and the other is a full brim hat. If I’m just going on a shorter day hike I like to bring the baseball cap, because it fits well around my ponytail and shields my eyes from the sun. However, If I am going on a long trip, or even a really exposed hike then I am sure to bring my full brim hat. The full brim hat will protect your neck and ears from the sun, as well as keeping it out of your eyes. Also, you should always bring sunglasses. I like to use a pair of polarized sunglasses because they protect your eyes better and help you see clear- as opposed to some other sunglasses that just seem to make everything look darker. Sunscreen is also important, especially again if you’re on an exposed trail. If you’re going to be out adventuring, you really need to protect yourself from damage. Also, I think it is important to wear layers. I like to wear tank tops in the summer , with a long sleeve light-weight flannel either on, or tied around my waste. Especially when you start getting into higher elevations, the temperature can drop quickly, and although you will most likely be working up a sweat, a little bit of wind can chill you to the bone if you’re sweaty! I also have a pair of convertible pants, but I don’t really love to wear them unless I am going on a multi-day adventure. The bulk of my adventures are single day hikes, so a pair of shorts or moisture wicking leggings will suffice.
Also, I can not stress enough the importance of having a headlamp or lantern of sorts. I always bring both. There have been so many times I have taken longer than I anticipated on a hike and have had to navigate down in the dark. You will have an awful time getting down if you don’t have a source of light, and that is also dangerous! My solar light I will sometimes clip onto my daypack or frame pack so it can charge while I am hiking. This is great because if your headlight runs out of charge then you will have another source of light. I also think it is important to have a downloaded map of your hike (especially if it is a new trail) and a backup phone battery. My holy grail hiking resource is Alltrails.com. It has tons of information on different hikes, pictures and advice from others who have completed the hikes and maps. If you are willing to shell out $30 a year, you can get a “Pro” membership (which is what I have.) This will allow you to download maps so your phone doesn’t die as quickly. If you’re on a trail that isn’t very groomed, it can be really easy to lose your way, which can be pretty dangerous if you’re hiking alone. Plus, if your phone dies, you can quickly get yourself in a lot of trouble. I don’t want to worry you, but these are important things to think about- and I want everyone to feel confident and safe while exploring.
I encourage you to start building your collection with easy to pack items to throw in your daypack. The easier it is for you to pack and organize for a day trip, the more inclined you will be to get out! Most of the time I am antsy and excited to go on an adventure, but somedays I’ll find any excuse I can to stay at home and watch Netflix. So make it easy on yourself and have everything alre
ady ready to go.