The right gear makes hiking enjoyable and safe.

 

Hiking is a good summer activity and bone density builder. Even if you’re planning to do day hikes and to stick to the beaten paths, it’s always good to be prepared for the unexpected. If you’re inspired by the thought of a walk in nature also referred to as forest bathing, here are a few things for your list.

 

Seven essentials for day hiking

 

1/ Backpack

 

The AmazonBasics lightweight backpack comes in 2 sizes and is relatively inexpensive. The smaller is large enough to carry all the essentials for a day hike.

 

2/ Socks

 

Light weight, sweat wicking and breathable is the combination needed to help keep your feet comfortable, healthy and blister free. They are typically more expensive than cotton socks but splurge worthy because they also last longer.

 

3/ Sunscreen

 

According to dermatologists, SPF 30 is enough to keep your skin fully protected as long as you reapply every 2 hours. Use a sunscreen base and purchased body spray, face powder and a stick for lips/eyes to reapply the protection on the trail.

 

4/ Windbreaker

 

A good windbreaker can help shield you from the sun and keep you warm if the weather changes. Plus they are lightweight and easy to pack. There are so many good options at different price points.

 

5/ Water Bottle

 

A lightweight insulated bottle to help keep your water cool or your tea hot. Experts recommend a liter for a day hike. So plan to carry at least 2 bottles.

 

6/ Bear Whistle

 

Add a whistle to your pack this year in case there are bears, mountain lions or coyotes on the trails. Most trail heads now have signage about the potential threat.

 

7/ First Aid Kit

 

Be prepared for a bite, cut or blister by adding a small first aid kit to your pack this summer.

 

Other items to consider

 

1/ Trail shoes or hiking boots: Both options will give you more traction and more support than cross trainers. Essential if you plan to do hikes over two hours.

 

2/ Warm Layer: A wool layer in case your hikes are longer than expected. It happens especially when hiking new trails. The air can get really chilly in the evenings.

 

3/ Snacks: Unless you’ve hiked the trail before and know how long it takes, it’s best to take some snacks. Bars, trail mix, fruit and nuts are all good options and easy to pack.

 

4/ Hat: Hats can help protect your skin from the sun and help maintain your body heat if the weather changes.

 

5/ Bug Spray: Mosquitos make bug spray an essential.

 

Start with the essentials. Then add and upgrade your gear once you’re hooked and have a better idea of what you need to make your hike more enjoyable.

 

 

 

 

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