Spring is officially here which means that it’s time to start planning some jaunts outside.  While I love a good beach trip as much as the next girl, I also really love to get out and hike far into the woods. There’s something about being so far from everything and everyone that’s serene and peaceful and one of my favorite things on earth. It’s a good reminder that we’re really just little specks in a giant universe.

So, whether you’re new to hiking or you just haven’t gone out in a season or two here’s a list of my must-haves for your next hiking adventure.

Always pack rain gear (no matter the forecast)

Regardless of your outdoor activity, it’s important to always check the weather, but even when you do there’s a good chance you’ll run into some rain.  Or in a worst case scenario, you may need to stay somewhere overnight, and in that case, the rain gear will keep you off the potentially damp ground and add a layer of insulation.

Always stay hydrated, pack water with you

Obviously it’s important to pack water, but make sure you bring extra or if you’re on a trail that definitely has water, you can bring purifying tablets or a filter.  I’ve met people who have passed out while hiking due to dehydration because they underestimated how much water to drink. This is easily avoidable if you just stay hydrated. Before any hike, you should at least a drink at least a couple of glasses of water and avoid drinking diuretics, these are beverages that promote fluid loss. Examples of these are caffeinated drinks. During the hike you need to drink water every hour to replenish the fluids you lost from the hike.

Remember: Thirst is not an indicator for your state of hydration, so always drink more water than you think you need.

Wear Layers

It can get chilly on hikes, wearing layers protects you from the cold, and don’t worry if it gets warm or hot out, you can easily take off items to stay cool while walking, you can always add them back later on while you’re taking breaks or if you feel cold again. I prefer to wear quick dry with wool under layers.

Wear shoes suitable for hiking

I’m not going to lie I frequently break the golden rule and I wear running multipurpose workout shoes hiking.  However, the best option is to wear a pair of shoes with good traction and ankle support. Especially if you’re on a trail where there could be inclines, uneven footing, or rocks. Also throw an extra pair of socks and some moleskin in your bag, just in case.

Even the smallest things matter

And finally, here’s a checklist of things I never forget to pack on a hiking trip:

  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses – you can bring whatever type of sunglasses you want, but a pair that 100% UV-blocking is preferable
  • Snacks – If you’re out all day something that has a combination of sweet and salty is the best option. However if you’re just packing “emergency” snacks, pick something light, small and full of sugar (a few hard candies maybe)
  • Lunch
  • First Aid Kit
  • Rain coat or rain jacket
  • Tissues
  • A map and compass – don’t just rely on the apps on your phone, using a map and compass will give you the complete feel of the outdoor adventure.
  • Extra hair ties
  • Flashlight
  • Flint & Steel (only if you know how to use one)
  • Water bottles – It’s always good to bring extra water than bringing the minimum estimated amount.
  • Camera  – of course you’d want to take pictures and look back on your trip later on
  • National Park Passport – if you wanna make camping a monthly or yearly thing then this small book is perfect, it looks like an American Passport but it contains details and information about the national parks across the States, you can stamp in the date of the parks you visited.

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