Going for a hike, but not sure what to bring? Fitting everything into one backpack can seem like a challenge, especially if you’re hiking for a long period. Here are some hints and tips to ensure you don’t pack too much or too little.
Weight is one of the most important factors to consider when hiking – bring lots of heavy stuff and you’ll be constantly carrying more weight. You should only bring the bare essentials when it comes to toiletries and cosmetics. When packing clothing, don’t take heavy jackets or jeans that are likely to increase the burden. Opt instead for light water-proof materials such as Gore-Tex and thin wool. When it comes to electronics, try to make do with your phone if you can as Laptops and e-readers will also add weight. Remember that apps can also give your phone extra capabilities eliminating the need for other items (for example, the Flashlight app may prevent the need to bring a torch, whilst a GPS app prevents having to pack maps).
Comfort is key
Your clothing needs to be comfortable, which means no chafing or rubbing. Merino is a miracle material that can help keep you warm, whilst not chafing and smelling clean for long. A Minus33 Merino wool baselayer could be a good option for a t-shirt or vest. Merino socks are also good for minimizing blisters, whilst keeping your feet warm. Never wear two pairs of thin socks as these are likely to rub and chafe.
Waterproof clothing is a must when hiking – walking in the wet is never fun. For dressing on a budget, look for a thin softshell jacket or a waterproof poncho. Make sure that you’re also wearing a sturdy pair of hiking shoes that aren’t going to leak if you’re trekking through boggy ground or mud. A plastic bag for putting wet items in can useful to pack. On a related note, also make sure you seal items such as toothpaste in a plastic bag just in case these leak.
Handling the heat
It’s best to layer up, as you can always take off layers if it gets too hot and you don’t need them. A light t-shirt and some shorts can be useful to pack for any day of brilliant sun. Hiking shoes aren’t always ideal for the warm climates and can make your feet very toasty. Some people may wish to pack a pair of Keen Whisper hiking sandals to prepare for such an eventuality – these keep your feet ventilated whilst still providing solid grip for dealing with the hard terrain. As for protecting against the sun’s rays, make sure that you pack sunglasses, a hat and sun lotion.
If you’re using your phone for directions as well as for communication, it’s imperative you keep this charged up. Many hostels will have plug points where you can plug in a phone charger. However, a portable solar charger could be worth investing in to give you power on the go. If you’re travelling abroad, make sure to bring a universal plug adaptor.