When you hit the trails to enjoy God's creation, make sure you're well equipped!
Hiking is always a good idea, as it strengthens the body and brings peace and clarity to the mind. It’s one of the best ways to see and appreciate God’s wondrous creation. It’s especially appropriate to go hiking this summer, when so many indoor options are not available.
If you’re getting ready to hit the trails for a day hike, don’t forget these key essentials for a safe and enjoyable experience. And before you go, always make sure to tell someone where you’re going and when you plan to be back. It’s best to play it safe, just in case!
You might be able to get away with gym shoes if you’re heading to an area with a gravel trail or boardwalk, but if the trails will be rocky or on uneven terrain, wear your boots. You’ll be thankful for the stability and ankle support they provide.
Choose something ultra lightweight to stash your stuff, like these highly rated hiking backpacks.
You can get some serious sun exposure out on the trails, even in a wooded area. Make sure to put on sunscreen before you head out, and bring some along in case you need to reapply. A small sunscreen stick is easy to pack and won’t take up too much room (or make a mess!).
4Water bottles and back-up drinks
Stave off dehydration with plenty of water or an electrolyte drink. Some backpacks come with a straw and water pouch or “hydration pack” so you don’t have to take a water break, or you might plan on an insulated canteen to keep your drinks cold.
There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re being eaten alive on the trail! Don’t forget some bug spray or insect repellent of your preference.
6First aid kit
This doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but bring supplies to handle cuts and scrapes along the path. At the least, toss some Band-Aids and anti-bacterial cream in your backpack. You might not need it, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.
7Layers if you're hiking in the morning or evening
Morning and evening are usually the best times of day to hike in the summer, when the middle of the day is often oppressively hot. But the temperature might fluctuate a good deal over the course of the day. Plan on light layers you can add or remove as the day heats up or cools down.
Pack more food than you think you’ll need, especially if you’re hiking with kids. It’s better to have it and not need it, than not have it and wish you did. On a hot summer day, you’ll want food that’s sturdy and doesn’t spoil or melt easily, like apples and beef jerky. Leave at home snacks like string cheese or chocolate chip granola bars (the chocolate will melt and make a mess!).
9Sweatband or bandana
Especially on a hot day, you’ll probably perspire a lot, so bring something to wear on your head to keep the sweat out of your eyes and stay comfortable.
And if you’ve got a portable hammock, don’t forget to bring it along!