Hiking is a wonderful activity that brings along many benefits for your body and mind alike. Walking the outdoors is a great hobby to get into, especially if you have family or loved ones to do it with. Even for four-legged family members, hiking is an adventure that can be greatly beneficial and promote a stronger bond in your relationship.
Outdoor activities are great for those of us living in the Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia areas, due to our closeness to some legs of the Appalachian Trail and the number of parks, hikes and outdoor recreational areas in which you can spend time and enjoy an adventure.
Today, here at Sudir Raju’s blog, we want to talk about some of the best “hacks” to make sure your hiking adventure can be as comfortable as possible and so you can maximize your space, time and enjoyment of your stroll through the woods. Some of these recommendations may work for you by using things you have laying around the house, while others may ask you to go out and purchase a specific piece of gear. No matter what your situation is, just remember to be safe and to help conserve our parks and the environment.
Pack the right gear
There are many things you should pack for a hike, and while everyone has their own list of they must absolutely have with them, here we have a list of ten things we consider essential:
Navigation equipment: Maps, a compass and even your smartphone can be very useful so you do not get lost. Learn how to read a map so you can make out topographical land features and other details that are very important when it comes to finding your bearings.
Extra clothing: Even a simple light jacket can make a huge difference if the temperature drops significantly. Dry clothes are important if you get caught in the rain or have to wade a river.
Light: Headlamps are sometimes more useful because they allow you to free up your hands and weigh a lot less. Get a good one and it will last you a lifetime.
Fire: Matches, tinder, candles or any material that can help you start a fire. Coating cotton balls in Vaseline can create a great fire starter that won’t take up much space in your backpack.
First-aid equipment: Even a basic first aid kit can make a huge difference in the event of an emergency. You can improvise a small first aid kit by packing just the essentials in a prescription bottle. That will make sure things like Band-Aids stay dry in the rain.
Tools: A multi-tool is a great piece of gear to have with you on a hike. They are great if you need to repair something, as a knife and even to get you out of trouble in an emergency.
Multi-tools aren’t expensive and they can be something that will last you a lifetime.
Water: Bring water, bring something to store it and bring means to purify your own water if you need to do so. No all hikes will grant you the opportunity to take pure water from creeks, so make sure you are prepared in the event that you need to clean water for consumption. Remember that water is also needed for cooking and cleaning.
Food: Bring small snacks that are lightweight and with a high caloric content. Since you are walking so much, you do not need to worry about packing on a few extra calories. Trust us,you will need it.
Sun Block: Even when it’s cold, the direct light can give you sunburn. Take care of your skin so your experience doesn’t get ruined later on.
Shelter: In the event of an emergency, a quick shelter can make the difference if you need to wait for help. Also, you never know if your stay has to be extended so it is best to be prepared.
Keep your valuables dry
A trash bag is a great and inexpensive way to keep the contents of your backpack dry, even in the worst conditions. Use zip lock bags to protect electronics, matches and fire starting equipment. Your documents and wallet can also be protected with a bag to make sure they do not get wet. Even in the worst rain, you will be glad you took the time to throw your things inside bags.
Duct tape fixes almost everything. Even the most experienced hikers will tell you that they do not leave their homes without it. If you need to fix a broken water bottle, a ripped backpack or a quick relief from blisters, you’ll be glad to have packed duct tape. Do not bring the whole roll; instead, you should simply wrap some around your water bottle, a pencil, your walking sticks or even itself and you are good to go.
Bring more socks
Pack twice as many socks as you think you’ll wear. They are not heavy and can be used for things other than protecting your feet. Remember clean socks can help you avoid discomfort and even injuries, so make it a having to change them a couple of times a day.