One of the toughest decisions the hiker has to make is what hiking gear they’ll take along on their next adventure. If you pack too much, you’re likely to feel weighed down and not be able to enjoy the trails as much as you might have. Pack too little and you could find yourself out in the wilderness without the basic supplies to get you through.
As each hiker has their own unique requirements for what makes a comfortable trip, the best hiking gear to take differ for everyone. When you’re planning a single day hike, you can limit what you take along, but for something longer you’ll also have to consider camping gear too.
For many, the sole purpose of hiking is to escape civilization and immerse themselves in the wonder of nature. Having a large backpack and a ton of supplies can counteract this feeling, so it’s often believed that travelling light is best.
Ultralight hiking is the practice of travelling with the absolute bare minimum, and it’s becoming more and more common these days. Lightweight and ultralight hiking mean you can travel faster, more efficiently, and more comfortably, as well as feel closer to nature and your surroundings.
This practice may not be for everyone, though, and if you’re happy to carry the extra weight there’s nothing wrong with taking along more supplies if it means you’re comfortable and with peace of mind.
Being comfortable on your hike is crucial, but you should also be dressing to suit the climate. The smartest way to dress for a hike is with layers, allowing you to subtract or add clothes as the weather permits.
Your hiking shoes are also important hiking gear and not an area where you want to withhold on quality. Avoid using standard running shoes and instead purchase hiking boots, as these have been designed specifically to handle the tough terrain found on a trail.
A backpack is essential hiking gear, no matter the length of hike you take. Depending on the length of your trip, you’ll need adequate space to store your supplies. Consider the size you require, extra features you need, and whether the backpack will be adequate enough to suit future hikes you plan to take as well.
When you’re planning on a shorter hike that won’t require camping, you can afford to travel fairly light. As you’re not needing to pack shelter or sleeping supplies you’ll be able to considerably decrease your load.
Here are just a few essentials you’ll need for a day trip, so you can feel free to add more if you’d like anything extra.
On top of the essentials you would take along on a short hike, you’ll also need to consider your sleeping and shelter arrangements. The best camping gear for sleeping and shelter are those that are lightweight, easy to assemble, and accommodating to how many hikers are intending to use it.
The most common form of shelter for a hiker is a tent, but if you’re looking to travel light you can shed some weight even further and stick to a simple tarp. For sleeping arrangements, you can use either a sleeping bag or hammock, depending on your preference, with the hammock generally being the most lightweight option.
Ensure you’ve calculated enough food and water to see you through the extra days, and pack extra clothing and sanitary supplies to keep your hygiene in check. For extra creature comforts from home, some might even like to bring along a radio or other entertainment device, remembering to pack as lightly as possible.
Just as with anything to do with hiking, preparation is key. Whether you’re planning a day-long hike or something more long distance, you should always prepare a list and check it thoroughly before you head off.
Packing the best hiking gear to suit your needs will ensure you’re able to enjoy the most of your trip. With too little equipment or a heavy load, you’re going to subtract from the comfort of your hike, and will spend most of your time focusing on things other than the amazing environment.