Hiking is a fun and healthy activity, whether you're close to home or traveling to distant places. It gives you a chance to explore the plants, animals, and natural beauty of a region. It's always important to prepare well for your hikes, even short ones. Before you head out, make sure you bring these 7 essential items for hiking.
- Food and Water - Bring at least one bottle of water for each hiker. For longer hikes, also bring water purification tablets. Never assume water you find is safe to drink. Also bring a day's worth of food, including items that don't require cooking (freeze-dried food, energy bars, trail mix).
- Items for Warmth and Shelter - Bring extra clothing such as a rainproof jacket, sweatshirt, and thermal underwear. Space blankets provide lightweight warmth and shelter.
- Flashlight - Always bring some type of illumination, even if you plan on returning before dark. Headlamps are useful for hands-free operation.
- Navigation Equipment - High tech GPS-equipped devices are nice to have. However, don't neglect traditional low-tech tools such as a compass and good maps of the local terrain. These are essential if your GPS fails.
- First Aid Items - Never go into nature without a first aid kit, including bandages of various sizes, disinfectant, and pain-killer. If anyone takes medication, be sure to bring an extra day's supply.
- Matches or Firestarter - Bring tools that let you start a fire for warmth or cooking. In addition to matches, camping supply companies sell efficient firestarters.
- Sun Protection - Always wear sunscreen with sun protection of at least 15. Sunglasses that protect against UVA and UVB rays are also helpful.
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