For hikers, having a good time and preventing or responding to mishaps depends on preparation. Alright, so we’ve all heard the basics: good shoes, water, snacks, first aid kit, compass, emergency flares, etc. But if you’re really serious about hiking, or you just want to be extra prepared, here are five hiking tools that are worth their weight and that you may not have thought of.
1. Wool Socks
The wrong kind of socks can get you blisters, a cold, or worse. Wool socks are great because they keep your feet well-cushioned, well-insulated from the cold, and they are far less likely to slip down and cause troublesome friction with your foot. Cotton socks are cheap, but they may cost you in the long run if you choose to take a serious hike while wearing them. If warmth is a particular concern on your hiking trip, you might want to invest in other wool garments.
‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ is certainly a proverb that applies to hike. This recommendation allows for some leeway, but also requires some consideration. Depending on where you’re going, you may be in great need of bug repellant. Depending on where you’re going and your own skin, you may need sunblock or foot antiperspirant. If you’re planning a long trip, you may want to bring some vitamin supplements. The best hikers know themselves, their trip, and their terrain well.
Good weather is every hiker’s hope, but no hiker’s guarantee and the truth is there are a lot of things that water can ruin on your hike. Most of your clothing and equipment will be safer if you have gaiters for your boots, plastic baggies for your matches, and a waterproof cover for your map. If you’re really worried, consider bringing an emergency shelter as well. The weather forecast isn’t a sure prediction and plastic doesn’t weight much so make sure to bring the necessary waterproofing gear on every trip.
For a hiker, the darkness can be dangerous, especially if you don’t know the terrain. A flashlight is a good idea, a headlight might be an even better one. Even if you don’t think that your hike is going to keep you out past sundown, bring it along anyway. Emergencies, side-tracks, or even simple delays can leave you out in the wilderness after the sun has gone down. Remember fresh batteries for your illumination device as well.
5. A Portable Battery
Again with this one, bring it along even if you feel pretty sure that you won’t need it. If you get lost or have another kind of emergency, you don’t want to be without a well-charged phone. Also, many hikers these days just use their phone to tell time rather than bringing a watch. If your phone dies, you’ve lost your communication and your time-tracking tools. Besides, you’ll need a well-charged cell phone if you are going to be able to take a selfie at the peak.
Hiking is like Disneyland or almost any other outing, the more you know and the better prepared you are the more likely you are to have a safe, fun time. Preparing and planning ahead can even make it easier for you step off of the beaten path a bit because you are more equipped to handle yourself and you know how to get back to the path. With all the safety tips and guides, there is no reason to meet with preventable disaster while hiking. Stay safe and enjoy.