Hiking for fun and exploration is a great way to get exercise while seeing the world around you in a whole new way. While hiking isn't the most dangerous of sports, you want to be prepared in the event of dehydration, an injury from a fall and other unlikely events that can affect beginner and expert hikers alike.
The best way to have a safe and fun hiking experience is to enjoy your adventures with a partner and have proper essentials with you just in case an accident happens. Here is a list of hiking essentials you need to stay safe while you seek new terrain to explore.
Lightweight, Durable Pack
The first thing you need when you go hiking is a reliable and comfortable pack you can keep your gear in. Your back should have an aluminum frame that supports the bulk of the weight you are carrying. It should also be waterproof and fire resistant. The right pack can safely house your hiking essentials without causing you to exert too much energy due to weight.
As a general rule, you should never carry more than 20% of your body weight in your pack, although you can carry up to 35% of your body weight if you are very fit or experienced at backpacking. Keep this in mind as you fill your pack with other gear, such as a first aid kit, map or compass, extra socks, a sleeping mat, water and non-perishable food items.
For a more comfortable hiking experience, always carry your pack higher than your waist, so your shoulders and upper back carry the bulk of the weight.
You should never go hiking unprepared for an encounter with a wild animal or another dangerous situation in which a defense weapon could save your life. Carry pepper spray, a small retractable knife and flares with you so you can ward off potential predators. You can buy pepper spray at your local military supply store.
Carry pepper spray and other protective gear on your body where you can easily access it without harming yourself. It's wise to attach pepper spray and other items to your hiking belt for easy access if you feel you are in danger. Talk to a survival specialist about the best way to carry and use defense weaponry.
The right hiking boots will keep your feet insulated and dry while offering ample heel, ankle and arch support. For light hiking you will want an ankle boot or shoe with cushioning along the heel, so you have a snug fit. Longer hiking adventures, especially if you are carrying pack weight, will require a mountaineering or packing shoe with added support to help aid in extra weight distribution.
Make sure the boots you choose are well ventilated to prevent sweat from accumulating in your socks. Always wear socks made of a breathable cotton material with your boots or shoes. If you are hiking in cooler weather, you will want to wear socks that are made of wool or a breathable wool blend. Change your socks regularly on your hike to help prevent blisters and irritating moisture on your feet.
A military supply store is a great place to shop for much of your hiking gear. You can find maps, compasses, flares, flashlights, first aid kits, packs, water purification kits and other outdoor essentials.Talk to an outdoor equipment specialist about the type of hiking you do, so they can help you choose the best gear for your needs. Bargain Center carries a wide range of military and survivalist gear to make your adventures safe and more enjoyable. Stop by our store to get stocked up on the supplies you need for your next hiking trip.