So you want to go hiking…what do you do?
Just pack up a bag with some water and food, then you’re good to go?
Survival gear is necessary to go on a safe and fun backpacking adventure.
Can you imagine going out on a trail or even off trail, something terrible happening, and you don’t have any survival gear with you?
More than likely you will not have cell phone service, so there won’t be a way to contact anyone for help!
This is where that essential gear comes into play. You want to be prepared in all situations.
The typical hiker pretty much has the same list of items that are important to have on you first and foremost.
Stay with me and I’ll guide you through the most important items to pack up in that backpack!
Always bring along plenty of food with you.
Most experienced hikers recommend bringing at least an extra day’s worth of food.
This can be in the form of dehydrated foods, freeze dried foods, protein bars, canned foods, etc.
Keep in mind that you do have to carry everything that you bring, so be mindful of how heavy the food is.
This is why most backpackers bring the freeze dried and dehydrated foods; it is very light weight.
Bring your water bottles full of water, but not too much!
Water is heavy but essential.
More than likely, you’ll start out with a couple bottles of water and then you’ll have some way to filter water along the way.
This can be in the form of boiling water to drink, using specific tablets to make the water safe, or even purchasing a small pump water filter that way you can filter any water along the way and bring it along with you!
There are a number of ways to create your own shelter while hiking.
The most popular is a small tent.
(Remember, you’ll be carrying this, so don’t go out and get a huge tent. There are small hiking specific tents that are light weight)
Another option is a tarp that you will be able to hang over some cording and just do a makeshift shelter to protect you from any rain.
Lastly, a newly popular option are the camping hammocks that roll up to be small and fit right in your bag.
Most of these camping hammocks come with a rain guard or you can get one, that goes over the top of the hammock to protect you from rain and other elements.
You may not think is very important, but the type of clothing you bring or pack is extremely important.
It is important to wear/bring synthetic clothing. Not only does it breathe and wick away moisture, but it has a quick drying time.
If you’re sweating during the day and your clothes do not have enough time to dry, when nighttime comes and it gets cool outside, it is dangerous for your survival to be cold and wet.
The different types and pieces of clothing that are good for hiking could be a whole write up in itself.
If you’re really serious about hiking, you’ll want to research more on the weather you’ll be dealing with and what clothes should be worn.
There are no streetlights in the mountains, desert, or wherever you’ll be hiking.
Bring flashlights, headlamps or any light source you prefer!
Just be sure to bring extra batteries to power up your source of light!
Bring a thorough first aid kit and don’t skimp on this!
You never know when this may come in handy.
A Way to Navigate:
The best forms of navigation to have and to learn are a compass and a map.
This could also be in the form of a handheld GPS (Don’t rely on your phone)
Have a way to build a fire!
Bring along matches and/or a lighter. (I’d recommend bringing both, just in case)
For those who are really into survival, you can get a fire starter for those emergency moments.
Not only is fire essential for nighttime, but it can also deter animals, be used to cook your food, boil water, and provide warmth for cooler nights.
The type of tools you bring are really your preference, but I’d recommend a multi tool and definitely a knife of some sort.
Having a repair kit for your gear could be handy too in case something breaks, you get a tear in your tent, etc.
Protection From The Sun:
Can’t stress this one enough! Bring your sunscreen!
Getting completely burnt on the first day of a hike can ruin the whole trip!
You’ll also want to bring your sunglasses or a hat for extra protection.
As you can see, packing up for a big or small hiking trip is not as simple as bringing some food and water.
It is my hope that this list of survival gear sheds some light on what all you should be packing up in that bag.
Maybe you thought of some of these or maybe some of these were a complete shock to you, but we urge you to get all of these before you set foot on the trails.
Keep in mind, there are SO many other different items that are very important to bring along with you on a hike, but we wanted to cover the items that you definitely can’t go without!
Survival gear is not just for crazy natural disaster emergencies…even a fun activity such as hiking requires gear to ensure your safety!
Pack up and hit the trails now that you’ve got your top essentials!
Safe is fun!