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The right gear makes hiking enjoyable and safe.

 

Hiking is a good summer activity and bone density builder. My plan is to do day hikes and to stick to the beaten paths. However, it’s always good to be prepared for the unexpected so I’ve been updating my essentials.

 

If you’re inspired by the thought of a walk in nature or what some refer to as forest bathing, here are a few things for your list.

 

Seven essentials

 

1/ Backpack

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

 

2/ Socks

Light weight, sweat wicking and breathable is the magical combination to help keep your feet comfortable, healthy and blister free. They are typically more expensive than cotton socks but 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. I’m using a sunscreen lotion 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 will help keep your water cool or your tea hot. Experts recommend a liter for a day hike. So plan to carry 2 bottles.

 

6/ Whistle

I’m adding a whistle to my pack this year in case there are bears, mountain lions or coyotes.

 

7/ First Aid Kit

It’s good to be prepared for a bite, cut or blister so I’m adding a small kit to my 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.

 

2/ Warm Layer: I’m taking a wool layer in case my hikes are longer than expected. It’s happened and the evenings can really cool off.

 

3/ Snacks: Unless you’ve done 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: Another item that can help protect you from the sun and help maintain your body heat if the weather changes.

 

5/ Bug Spray: It depends on the conditions of where you hike. 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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