Hiking is one of the easiest ways to get outside and commune with nature. While all it technically takes is a trail and some walking, don't let the superficial simplicity of hiking fool you. Especially for the inexperienced, there are a few essentials that can make the difference between having a fantastic outdoor adventure, or a blistery, sweat soaked, 'Into the Wild' epic. To help you have fun and stay safe, Bentall Kennedy Residential Services brings you this list of must-have items for those new to hiking.
Shoes and Boots
While good footwear is key wherever you go, hiking takes footwear requirements to a new level. Walking for hours on end on uneven terrain exposes just how important proper footwear really is. Shoes that are a bit big, a bit small, a bit tight, or that have poor support get amplified by a factor of 10 when on the trail. Blisters, rolled ankles, and sore and tired feet are just some of the pains that are bound to befall people who think hiking is for hippies. Spend a few extra bucks and pick up a good set of hiking boots. Stores like MEC and Europe bound, in addition to many standard shoe stores, offer great options.
Water Bottle and Trail Food
While it's easy to take for granted in the city, water is a non-negotiable on the trail. Get a decent water bottle (at least a 1L) and chug a few glasses before you leave for the trail. Also, pack some protein or granola bars, a bag of nuts, or some dried fruit to keep your energy up. Also be sure to take your water in sips, not chugs. This makes it last longer and gives your body even, consistent hydration.
Your water bottles and food have to go somewhere - enter the backpack. From small to globetrotting, they come in all shapes and sizes. For day-hikes, a small one is just fine, but make sure you can fit in a water bottle, some food, and a few extra items like a spare shirt and socks, hat, bug spray, and even a swiss army knife.
Layers and Proper Clothing
A classic novice move is to hike in cotton. From socks to jeans and t-shirts, cotton is just slightly better than lead for outdoor activity: it's heavy, it gets wet easily, takes a long time to dry, and doesn't breathe. There are a ton of modern lightweight fabrics used specifically for outdoor clothing that are light, dry quickly, wick moisture from the skin, and keep you warm while wet. Best of all, they pair well with other layers for warmth in colder temperatures.
Map and Compass
Before you hike, make sure you know how to read a map and compass as they are sure fire ways to navigate. While advance study of your route is always advised, a map and compass will help you in any situation, even if just to practice your orienteering skills.
Plan for Emergencies
Take a basic first aid kit, a box of matches, a knife, and while you might be out of cell range, a battery pack for you phone. You won't need it 99% of the time, but you'll be glad to have it if you do.
Bentall Kennedy Residential Services hopes this list helps you kickstart your hiking with some essential items to get you on the trail. For more information about Bentall Kennedy properties in your city, please visit our website.