We are not hiking experts… but, we have been hiking for years now. For all of you out there who would want to explore and try hiking, here’s a list of hiking essentials to make sure you would have a fun, stress-free nature trip.
1. Comfortable Footwear: Hiking is all about walking on every imaginable surface possible so you would want to make sure you’re wearing your most comfortable pair of sandals, rubber shoes, or boots — and not stilettos. Unless you’re going to be having a photoshoot somewhere in the middle of the trail, you wouldn’t need your fancy high-heeled shoes or your cute strappy thong sandals.
2. Water Bottle: With water, of course! The key to hiking is to remain hydrated so don’t ever forget your own water bottle. If you’re going to hike somewhere cold, you might also want to bring an extra bottle and fill it with hot tea or coffee, whatever you prefer. Oh, please make sure you’ll use a reusable water bottle. A nature lover has got to use/reuse environment-friendly products, right? We also have hydration packs which are super convenient because you could just continue walking while drinking.
3. Energy Bars/Trail Mix: One of the best things about hiking is you get to munch on delicious nuts and chocolate granola bars while at it. Of course, energy bars and trail mix (as I have eaten them so far) are supplements and are not meant to replace your meals. If you know you’re going to be hitting lunch time while on foot, better prepare a decent meal (sandwiches, fruits, salad) for you to eat. You would not want to faint from hunger in the middle of nowhere.
4. Sunscreen: Again, since you would be walking a lot, wear sunscreen! Generously slather sunscreen all over your sexy body to make sure your skin is well-protected. Currently, what we have are these sport sunscreens from Walgreens and Banana Boat. You might also want to bring a mosquito repellent. Hiking is fun, but you don’t want to catch any diseases while at it.
5. First Aid Kit: This is a no-brainer, a must for emergencies. You could assemble your own like we have, or buy ready kits. You might also want to add a flash light and a whistle.
6. Trucker’s Hat: It helps to wear a hat when hiking. While feeling the breeze on your scalp feels great, wearing a hat helps too, especially when dealing with sun glare. It can also protect you from bird poop, or anything that might fall on you while hiking. Watch out!
Miscellaneous: A sweater or a rain jacket (depending on the weather), camera to capture those beautiful landscapes, your phone for GPS or a map, and binoculars.
Our Favorite Hikes!
How about Backpacking?
Okay, you’re feeling more adventurous and you want to backpack. Here are the backpacking essentials:
- Tent: Your home away from home. Your tent needs to be very reliable. It will protect you from rain, the heat of the sun, and the cold of the night. This is where you will be resting, cocooned in your sleeping bag, after a day spent hiking or thrill-seeking.
- Water Filter/Bottle: We can not reiterate the fact that hydration is key, so don’t ever, ever forget your water. There are places where your only source for water are creeks or lakes. You would want to use your filter. Unless you’re at the top of the mountain, where there’s virgin water sources, it would help to filter and purify your water.
- Backpack/Clothes: Even if you’re not possibly going to be showering for days, bring clothes. If you’re going to hike somewhere cold, bring layers to keep you warm. If you’re not prepared to go skinny-dipping, bring your swimwear. And of course, all of these, you place in your backpack. What’s backpacking without a backpack, right?
- Food: This is another no-brainer. Like me, you don’t want to go hungry. We normally bring pasta, rice, couscous, canned tuna, veggies, fruits, oats, crackers, granola bars, tea, chocolates, and more. Larry is sweet, he carries them all. But, the idea really is to bring lightweight, dehydrated food dense with carbs, electrolytes, and vitamins. Make sure that if you have food that needs cooking, you have a stove to use. Otherwise, you would just be hallucinating and dreaming of cooked pasta non-stop.
- Hiking Shoes/Sandals: Backpacking involves even more walking, and on every imaginable surface possible. Make sure you’re wearing your most comfortable pair of hiking sandals or boots.
- Good Book: There’s something about being at a place so peaceful and quiet that makes reading more of an immersive experience.
In a nutshell, bring these:
One last thing, expect these when hiking or backpacking:
- Having to carry your heavy bag for long periods of time: With no one to help you since everyone has backpacks to carry too. At certain times, you would feel pain on your shoulders as your bag weighs you down. This is especially true if you don’t have those hips to support the bag.
- Blisters, bruises, and bites: All these you get from brushing through thick forests, and occasionally tripping and slipping. Be on the lookout for poison oaks and ivies, and mosquitoes.
- Digging your own “toilet”: Especially if you’re going to be backpacking at a wilderness site where there are no restrooms. I panicked the first time I had to do this. Thankfully, I have a pro to teach and show me.
- Not showering for days: As you could be somewhere up in the mountains where there are no streams (or there would be waters but could be ice-cold).
- Possibly not wanting to go back home… and just wanting stay in the wilderness, be wrapped by nature for the rest of your life.
There you have it! Hopefully, this guide will make you less clueless when it’s time for you to explore the wilderness. One last thing, as you go hiking, remember this — “Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time.”