Thursday, August 15, 2013

Day Hike Essentials

As things typically occur with us so they did on our latest day hike to Sitting Bear… We set our on our day hike with a small day pack that James carried, three bottles of water (one each and one extra), a camera (of course), a small first aid kit, our phones and a map of the general area. While on our hike we realized there are other essentials you should always have on day hikes (we also determined that the day pack we have isn't the best pack for a day hike, more on that to come stay tuned).

Here is our list of day hike essentials; we’d love to know if you have an essential that we didn't include!

· A day pack is a must! You don’t want to find pockets for all these essentials. We will be working to find the right day pack for us and will share in a future post. You will want to find something smaller in size, light weight, supportive and comfortable.

· Water is so important, think about how long you plan to be out hiking, how hot it will be, what type of elevation change you will be doing and take along plenty of water!

· Sustenance… Food… We realized on our hike that we should have brought along a snack! Energy snacks/bars would have been a great easy thing to throw in our pack or even some GORP (good ole raisins and peanuts)!

· Bring along a knife, for the trail we were on a larger camping knife would have been great, several sections of the trail were grown over and with the proper knife we could have easily cleared the path along the way.

· A map of the area and a compass should reside in your pack! In some areas the trails are not well marked, some areas are overgrown as I mentioned before and in some places people have made other trials off the trial and you do not want to get lost! A hand held GPS would also be nice as long as you have battery life and signal. (You could take your Goal Zero solar charger to keep your batteries charged… Just a thought)

· A first aid kit is so very important to have. A few of the items to be sure to include are and personal medications you take, roll bandages, triangular bandages, ace bandages, butterfly bandages, sterile compresses, adhesive tape, sterile gauze pads, antiseptic wipes, miscellaneous band aids, mole skin, antihistamine, pain reliever, etc.

· Throw in an emergency blanket too, these are small and light weight and will save your life in the event of hypothermia! Actually take two; one can also double as shelter if needed.

· You may also want to include insect repellent, sun protection (sunglasses, sunscreen, lip balm), and toilet paper (in a plastic bag).

· If you wear contacts bring your glasses! It would be a bit of a crisis to lose a contact on a hike and have to get back to the car with impaired vision.

· Bring along your cell phone, you may not have coverage but if you do it will be handy to have in case of an emergency.

· Pack a flash light or headlamp even if you don’t intend to be out late, you never know what could happen. If you get turned around in the woods it could take time to find your way back and it would not be fun to be stuck in the woods after dark with no way to see your surroundings.

· Also pack a fire starter/waterproof matches! Just in case!

· Bring a whistle in case you got lost to sound for help.

· Dress appropriately; wear wicking, quick drying clothes are best, good supportive shoes and socks, layers in colder months, and wear a watch.

· A bandana or a Buff! We got hot on our hike and having one of these would have been great!

· You may also want to have a hat for shielding you from the sun, rain and ticks!

· Pack a rain jacket or poncho, in the mountains pop up showers are storms happen often…

· Don’t forget your Camera, you are going to want to document the trail you conquered, the views you saw and maybe even the critters you encountered along the way

· Be sure to also have a change of shoes and clothes for in the car, you have no idea how dirty or wet you can get on a hike and you will want to be able to change into comfortable clothing and shoes when you get off the trial!

It sounds like a lot but it really isn't. This should all pack easily into a small day pack and not weigh you down. Pack according to the trail, type of hike, weather and location conditions and length of time you anticipate being on the trail (remember to add extra time just in case).

Day hikes are a great way to get outdoors, reconnect with nature and explore the beauty that surrounds us!

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