Introduction: Essentials of the Day Hike: Preparation
Hiking is a means of bring peace to your life through nature and purposeful isolation from your bustling life. Hiking can promote healthy living and a functioning cardiovascular system, or just make you feel good. The purpose of this guide is to prevent forgetfulness and frustration when you head on out to the trail. Assuming you have all of the necessary items and proper hiking experience, here are the items in order of necessity.
1. A day backpack or backpacking pack (for a heavier load or undesignated camping) - A small backpack as shown in the picture should hold all necessary items.
2. A water source - A quart of water preferable for a decently long hike (6+ miles or more). A couple of bottles should be fine for anything shorter. Remember to hydrate mainly before and during the hike.
3. Food - Proper nutrition is required on the trail to prevent fatigue and to enjoy your hike to it's max. Bring fruit, vegetables, a sandwich, and a granola bar for quick energy.
4. Map - You can easily print a trail map from the USGS.gov website
5. Compass - A compass and map go hand in hand. Learn how they work before you make big plans.
6. Medical kit - Many medical kits come in small sizes and you should easily find space for it in your day pack.
7. Sunscreen - Especially on sunny days, proper SPF sunscreen/lip balm is a must on the trail.
8. Footwear - Know the weather and bring proper shoes. Is it raining/snowing? Bring waterproof boots.
9. Snow chains/traction tires - You do not want to be caught in the snow without chains in your vehicle.
10. Portable phone charger - Bring a portable battery to charge your phone if something goes bad on the trail.
11. Insect repellent - Especially during early summer months, insect repellent is a nessesity.
12. Sunglasses - Preferably with UV protection.
16. A Pad/Pencil
A hiking experience can be bunk without some of these essential items, especially ones ranked higher on the list. Not only do you need these things, you need to know about the hike beforehand as well. Remember to bring a knowledgeable hiker if it's your first time on the trail or if it's a trail foreign to you already. Nobody wants to have to call the police if you're in the middle of nowhere.