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Things to always pack when hiking | Lifestyle | – NNY360 | Gmx Pharm

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado – Staying safe when hiking means preparing properly. According to the American Hiking Society, there are 10 essential items every hiker should have on them or in their bag when planning to hit the trail.

Here’s a breakdown of the top essentials to pack for a safer hike, along with a few bonus tips and recommendations:

1. Appropriate footwear

With the right shoes, a hike can make the difference between success and failure. There’s nothing worse than being halfway through a course only to find you’re developing a painful blister.

There are many factors to consider when choosing the best shoe for a specific hike, including traction, breathability, waterproofing, foot support, protection from rocks, and more. It’s difficult to make a general recommendation when feet are so different and no two trails are the same. When it comes to shoes, I’ve found that the best strategy is to try different options over time and eventually find the best option for you.

Here are a few recommendations based on what I have in my own closet:

— Trail Runner (Altra’s Lone Peak 5): If you’re on a trail where you don’t need a lot of ankle support and prefer to go light, these are a great all-around option. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it now, and I know I’ll say it again – I love Altras and have yet to be disappointed in this brand. They have many unique models, but the Lone Peak seems to be the standard all-around option.

— Rocky Terrain (Salewa Wildfire 2): I recently tested these on the Arapahoe Basin via ferrata and absolutely loved it. They’re grippy and offer quite a bit of outsole protection, while also not feeling as clunky as some other options. Be warned – like the trail runner recommendation, these don’t have the same ankle support and ankle protection as a larger boot. That’s totally fine with me, but it depends on the specific route and personal preference.

— All-Around Hiking Boot (Oboz Sawtooth X Mid): I’ll be honest, I usually wear trail runners these days instead of full-blown boots, but a favorite standard hiking boot option of mine is the Oboz Sawtooth X Mid. Oboz makes a solid product and it shows in this model.

— Winter Boots (Danner, All Day): I have several pairs of Danner boots for winter weather and I love them all. They are great at staying warm and dry. My favorite model is several years old, so I can’t give an up-to-date recommendation here, but try a few and find one that suits your specific needs. As an added bonus, waterproof and insulated Danners are usually great for snowshoeing.

2. Navigation Equipment

Today, many hikers rely on their cell phones to navigate a trail. This can work, but tends to be a bit unreliable. While a GPS device can be an improvement over a cell phone, it is also an electronic device that can fail.

In addition to some sort of digital GPS option that might be more convenient to use, bringing a paper map and compass (and knowing how to use them) is an essential asset.

— GPS Recommendation (Garmin inReach): Note — This device comes with a monthly fee, but it’s worth it.

3. Water and detergent

Of course, it’s a good idea to take water with you on a hike. However, it’s also a good idea to bring something that can be easily refilled. In addition to something that can be refilled, also bring something that can purify the water.

When it comes to water purification, there are a number of options. One option I like is Platypus’ QuickDraw microfiltration system. It’s super compact and even if it’s not the main water bottle you drink from during the hike, it offers quick and easy filtration when needed.

4. Food

The food you take with you on a trek can vary widely depending on how long or strenuous a route is. High-calorie foods are usually a good option. Bring a little extra just in case.

Food can range from wholesome backpacking meals to something lighter like a Honey Stinger waffle.

5. Proper shifts

Similar to shoes, the layers of clothing you pack are usually specific to a particular route and season.

In general, it’s better to have more options than not enough, especially if you’re hiking somewhere where the weather can change on the fly – like Colorado. It’s also important to remember that differences in elevation can mean vastly different temperatures.

In terms of layering essentials for Colorado, it’s important to bring something waterproof—even if it’s just a cheap and packable poncho. It’s also good to bring a heavier jacket, something that can block the wind, extra socks and gloves.

In terms of leg coverage, shorts can be nice on hot days, but sometimes it’s better to wear breathable pants instead. Something like the Salewa hemp pant is a good option there, known for being inherently tough and breathable. The Eddie Bauer First Ascent line of pants is another great option. In seasons where cold weather is a possibility, it can also be a good idea to bring some kind of base layer for under your pants. I generally wear a wool base layer from Dahlie for winter hikes.

6. Security Articles

The American Hiking Society says three important safety items to pack are a light, some kind of fire starter, and a whistle.

A great option is to just buy a few whistles and attach them to your various packs so you don’t have to worry about swapping them out. In terms of a light and fire starter, the SlideBelt Survival Belt is a fairly unique option that I’ve used for years. It has a flashlight, fire starter and cutting tool all stowed in the belt buckle – and yes, I’ve actually used the compact fire starter before, it works.

Do you have more space in your backpack? Buy a flashlight and a fire starting kit like the UCO Titan Stormproof Match Kit.

Other safety considerations to consider would be deterrents to animals and predators. Bear spray and pepper spray are two options, although I’ve also found a handheld taser helpful (I don’t taser the animal, I use the sound and flash to scare it away).

Regarding firearms on the trail, some people choose to bring them with them. As you might expect, this is a controversial topic. If you make the decision to take a firearm on the trail for safety reasons, be a savvy gun owner and make sure you are very familiar with the gun. Follow best practices to reduce the chance of an accident and make sure you know and follow local rules and regulations regarding carrying a firearm.

7. First Aid

When it comes to packing a first aid kit, the options can be daunting. Some kits may contain a few basics, while others may contain hundreds of parts. Of course you want to be as prepared as possible, but size and weight are also two factors to consider when heading out on the trail.

The basics of first aid include antiseptic wipes, antibacterial ointment, some kind of reliable bandage (variety can be nice), gauze pads, medical tape, blister treatment, painkillers, sting relief, anti-itch ointment, some kind of antihistamine to treat allergic reactions , a pair of tweezers, and some sort of small scissor device (which may already be on your multi-tool – more on that in a moment). Some sort of first aid manual or guide can also be helpful if you are unfamiliar with first aid training.

There are many kits that contain all or most of these items, with a highly rated option being Adventure Medical Kits’ Mountain Series Hiker Medical Kit, which can be found at REI. Most adventure shops have this for sale.

One more thing – while it’s not really “first aid” you should also make sure you have the right toiletries to use in the wild to stay comfortable and leave no trace. Bring toilet paper or wipes and don’t forget some kind of bag to put it in. They make bags for this purpose, but a zipper works and can easily be thrown away afterwards.

8. Multi tool

Whether you’re repairing gear or trying to cut your arm free while it’s being crushed by a massive rock, a multi-tool can come in handy on the trail. You’ll want to make sure you get one with pliers and a knife, as well as a condensed version of many of the other tools. But be warned – too many tools can be a bad thing as it can result in a clunky device and added weight. Choose the right multi-tool for you based on the tools you actually need.

There are many great options when it comes to choosing the right multi-tool.

9. Sun protection

Sun exposure can quickly become problematic, contributing to dehydration and rapid energy loss, not to mention skin damage.

Make sure you have good sunglasses that offer a wide range of protection – this may even mean goggles in the snow.

Additionally, sunscreen, sun shirts, and sun hats can all be beneficial when it comes to protecting your skin and body from these powerful rays.

In general, I drive relatively cheap when it comes to sunglasses. That way I don’t have to worry about losing or damaging them. Goodrs are polarized and range in price from $25 to $35. 10. Shelter

An essential ingredient that is often overlooked or skipped because people don’t plan on needing it. Proper protection can be a life saver when things go bad. Barring a traumatic injury or health issue, nothing kills faster than exposure.

Of course, bringing a full-size tent is an option, but most people will probably want a lighter shelter that takes up less space. Then a bivy sack and an emergency tent might be the best option. These items can protect you from the rain, wind, and cold, giving you a better chance of surviving when you have to stop moving.

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Updated: September 17, 2022 — 12:32 am

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