For many people, packing up and leaving town for the weekend to go camping and hiking through the country sounds like the perfect getaway. However, for those without much experience, it can be a dangerous activity if you aren’t properly prepared. While some things you should take go without saying – portable shelter, food, adequate clothing – other areas get overlooked for any number of reasons. Here are a few things you should remember to take with you when you go on a hiking trip.
Making sure you have a pack that can hold everything you need to take is essential. This also limits you to taking only what you truly need because you don’t want to be too badly weighed down either. Your pack should be hardy too, able to stand up to any number of harsh climates and environments so it won’t tear in thick bush or be wet through in a rainstorm. There’s a number of brand name models that tend to go the distance like BlackWolf’s range of adventure gear. They are stocked by specialist retailers like Bags To Go Online, and hitting this URL will give you an idea of what their range looks like.
Having portable and emergency light sources is absolutely essential. Many who plan to stay overnight assume they’ll just build a campfire and huddle around it but if it rained earlier and all the wood nearby is damp then you’re kind of stuck. Portable lighting and a torch are essential and can potentially come in handy during the daylight if you come across a cave or it starts to get dark before you can return to you vehicle or campsite. Lanterns are also a great light source and can be either battery, solar or flame powered. LED work lights also work well if you have a power source readily available! Regardless, make sure you’re stocked up with plenty of matches and batteries to keep them running before depart.
The number of rookies who don’t take a sufficient amount of water on a hiking trip is insane. You’re going to be moving about in the sun for most of the day and you’re going to dehydrate. The problem is, water is one of the heaviest things in your backpack and taking a lot is going to slow you down. Research your hike beforehand – are there lots of streams, creeks or rivers that run nearby? If so, take a few bottles and a water filter. When you start to run low, you can refill with from a stream by running it through the filter. This frees you up to keep moving much longer than surviving on water you’ve brought with you and having to manage it until it’s time to leave.
GPS is a great tool for those who like to hike over long distances. It allows you to plan a hike and record specific landmarks so that you can return to different points if you get lost or have to backtrack. Portable models run basic, but still readable screens that don’t eat up as much battery life as their high-tech, in-car cousins, though you’ll still want to keep an eye on your battery if you plan to be doing a lot of waypointing.
Keeping these simple points in mind could be the difference between a decent camping trip and a great one. Remember to be prepared and pack wisely and you’ll be just fine. What are your top camping items? Share in the comments!