When going on a hike there is often a dilemma about what to pack. You do not want to carry unnecessary weight but also do not want to be in a position whereby you do not have what you need. At altitude, the weather is variable regardless of the season. The best hiking kit prepares for all eventualities. See below for some suggestions:
1. Backpack (30 L minimum)
Backpack should be large enough to carry all necessary equipment. An element of waterproofing would be wise. Outer compartments that allow quick access to kit would be ideal. Stability boards generally make them more comfortable and breathable on your back.
Plenty of snacks are important to sustain energy levels. Energy consumption is likely to be high on hikes, especially on steep climbs, bogland and when going through long grass. The terrain during a hike causes greater work for lower body musculature hence carbohydrate replenishment is important. Foods with low glycemic index such as grains and oats would best consumed early on and high glycemic index foods would be useful at higher intensity parts of the journey.
At least 1 ltr of water should be carried and more during summer months to compensate water loss.
Suncream is important all year round. In the mountains, you will have prolonged exposure to sunlight which can take it’s toll over time. Also, suncream can help compensate the constant wind drying out your skin.
Sunglasses are a wise piece of kit to carry because you will be able to enjoy the journey better without having to squint all day and it will be more comfortable for your eyes. Also, they shield your eyes from the wind.
Hats can shade your face from the sun adding extra protection from sunburn and provide shade for the eyes. Hats also protect your hair from wind and sun damage.
7. First Aid Kit
First aid kits are good for managing injuries and preventing them getting worse.
8. Foil Blanket
These are a good contingency item for those occasions when travel has to stop. Hypothermia will only make a bad situation worse.
Headlamps are a must bring. If it gets dark, you will need your hands free and some light to spot hazards whilst navigating.
Hands loose heat fast and gloves can help prevent this. They can provide protection from rough rocks, skin damage and stiffness.
11. Extra Clothing
Extra clothing in the bag would be useful for changing out of wet clothes.
Ability to contact people could prove useful for keeping safe.
14. Map and Compass
Map and compass are important for getting home safely and making decisions during the journey. These tools can help you identify your current location.
It is easier to use a whistle repeatedly than it is to shout repeatedly. Another contingency item that could prove very useful during an adverse incident.
16. ICE Contact Details
Emergency contact details should be attached to backpack.
17. Walking Boots
A reliable pair of hiking boots with waterproofing are an essential piece of kit especially for off trail. You will enjoy hikes most when you are comfortable. Adding insoles to boots can boost comfort when travelling on tarmac or rocky terrain.