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Anytime you go for a hike you need to make sure you have the right gear. Even if it’s a short hike you may get turned around and be out longer than you expected. Here is a list of my favorite Hiking Essentials that I think everyone needs.
#1: Hiking Boots
This will always be my number one suggestion. If you take one thing away from this post let it be this. Good shoes should always be a necessity. Your feet will thank you. My hiking boots are Salomon and I love them. They are quite pricey though. Irish Setter boots are also great and they are more reasonably priced. I also recommend getting waterproof hiking boots. You never know when it will rain or if a trail will be washed out.
Also, if you buy a new pair, remember to break them in before your hike. There is nothing worse than being in the middle of a hike and your shoes start rubbing on your feet wrong. Believe me, I know how it feels.
#2: Hiking Pack
Of course, you need something to put all your gear in. I use an Ozark Trail Hydration Pack which has a hydration bladder you can fill up so you don’t have to carry multiple water bottles. (We still carry one or two for the dogs.)
#3: Insect Repellant
Our absolute favorite Insect Repellant is Wondercide. It’s all-natural and safe for children and pets. It works so well. When we went hiking in West Virginia we used it and we never once got bit while wearing it. I’m one of those people that seems to attract every mosquito and this stuff worked wonders! It’s protected us against ticks, mosquitos, black flies, and chiggers. If you would like to try it for yourself, use code “HARRIS15” for 15% off your order!
#4: Hiking Pole
If you are hiking any sort of incline hiking poles are such a huge help. One time we hiked across a river and because we didn’t have hiking poles, we used sticks. Well… mine broke. I ended up with wet socks the whole hike back to the car. We haven’t bought ours yet but this is the one we will be buying before our next hiking trip.
#5: Snacks and Water
I think this goes without saying but make sure you always have water and food with you. Hiking takes a lot of energy. Make sure you bring something that fuels your body. Our favorite things to bring are fruit snacks, trail mix, Cliff Bars, almonds, and a lot of times we even bring sandwiches for when we sit and take in the views.
#6: First Aid Kit
Hiking can be very dangerous and unpredictable. Always carry a first aid kit. Ours contains: Band-Aids, gauze, Neosporin, Benadryl, Tylenol/Aspirin, WoundSeal, Ace bandages, tweezers, a tick remover, and duct tape.
#7: Windbreaker Pants
I recently used a pair of these pants and they have made a huge difference. Especially if you are hiking to a high elevation since it gets cold and windy. I bought REI brand and they worked great, but there are a ton of options. Make sure you are dressing for the temperature and conditions you’ll be hiking in.
#8: Compass and a Map
Not saying you need a full state map but at least have the directions or the trail downloaded. We manage to get turned around or take the wrong marker more often then I care to admit. Maybe you are better with directions than us, but waiting until you’re in the middle of the woods probably isn’t the best time to wish you would have downloaded the trail map. Since Morgan’s phone never works when we are out on the trails she started printing an actual trail map and the directions just in case. To use the All Trails app to download the maps.
This isn’t a physical product but it’s a good idea to know where the closest hospital or vet is located just in case you need it.
Have fun on your adventures!