When you think about fulfilling and enjoyable outdoors activities, something on the top of your list might be going on a hike. I know it’s one of my favorite things to do, especially when it’s a little cooler out and I won’t be melting the whole time. One of the biggest barriers that I find is that I don’t know how to pack for a hike.
How can we do it efficiently and prepare ourselves without going overboard? After all, we don’t want to be stuck lugging a ton of things around. While there are good references out there like this one, we still need to decide for ourselves what to prioritize.
A backpack is probably the first thing that I consider important for this hobby. If you don’t have a nice one, and it ends up falling apart while you’re on the trail…well, that’s a recipe for disaster if I’ve ever heard one. So, try to find a sturdy one that can hold everything else you bring.
Because sometimes we don’t have access to cell service while we are out in the wild, bringing a map is a solid idea as well. This does require that you know how to read one, but if you don’t, I recommend learning. It will be an invaluable skill if you want to do this frequently.
On that note, don’t forget to pack some non-perishable food and water, depending on how long you plan to walk. Even if you’re not going to be there long, bringing a small snack isn’t a bad idea. Just don’t take something super sweet that will attract wildlife – be careful.
Finally, a multitool or pocketknife should be a part of your basic kit, along with medical supplies like disinfectant or bandages. I know this might all sound like a lot, but trust me, it’s worth it.
What to Wear
Obviously, there is no universal answer to this. A lot of it will depend on the location where you’re exploring, after all. If it’s going to be hot outside, there’s a good chance you won’t want to wear a parka. However, when you’re looking for hiking clothes for men, you should prioritize comfort and safety features as well.
As you go through the woods in particular, there is a risk of getting a tick. These can carry serious consequences like Lyme’s disease. We can take measures to protect ourselves against them, though, like covering up as much of our skin as possible.
This means long sleeves, close-toed shoes, and long pants. While shorts are comfortable, they’re not advisable if you’re going into an area with a lot of ticks around. That’s part of why I prefer to go to cooler parts of the country when I select my trail, but that’s neither here nor there.
Try to find fabrics that don’t easily tear, too. A jacket or sweater that gets ruined by a single branch probably isn’t worth it. If you’re serious about hiking, consider investing in higher priced but higher quality clothing that you can wear for years to come. That will probably serve you better than the fast fashion styles that can be damaged or ruined easily.
Why Hike, anyway?
You may be wondering why we should bother going for a hike, but there are actually a lot of benefits that come from it. On a spiritual level, it helps us connect better with nature. This might help us reduce our stress levels, get better sleep at night, have higher levels of energy, and generally improve our mood.
It’s also a healthy activity that we can enjoy. As far as exercise goes, it is beneficial for our cardiovascular health and can build stamina as well. Consider adding it as one of your activities in a workout week!
You can also do it with friends or family, since pretty much anyone can do it and it’s not an expensive hobby to start. Here are some fun locations you can check out if you’re not sure where to go, https://travel.usnews.com/rankings/best-hiking-trips-in-north-america/, if you’re in North America.
Because it’s free to go on most trails, there’s not much gatekeeping in the hiking world. Instead, you can even decide to start even on a complete whim. For the spontaneous people among us, this is a liberating feeling. There are even clubs and organizations dedicated to this, so you could make new friends along the way!
Wherever you decide to go and whatever your motivations are, just do your best to prepare for the trip. Dress appropriately and mitigate your health and safety risks. Take water and food to make sure you don’t get dehydrated or fatigued along the way. Bring your navigational tools to stop yourself from getting lost and have fun as you get some time outside!