To be an activity that is supposed to get back to nature, leave no trace, or to get by with the bare minimum, there’s a lot of stuff that is available for hiking. You can visit any store or website of a sporting goods store or big box store and find a section for camping, backpacking or hiking. In those sections, you’ll find multiple selections for packs, pants, shirts, shoes, boots, socks, food, spoons, forks, sporks! (Sporks are a big deal among hikers and inmates for that matter. Sad that I know that, right?) The list goes on and on. So do you need everything in those sections to get you on the trail? You can grab them up if you want. Or no, you don’t have to have anything new to get started. There are some definite specialty items that make life on the trail easier and more comfortable. Pants for example. While I don’t NEED specialty hiking pants, I definitely do like to have a good fitting pair that make life comfier. If my waistband is not digging into my armpits, That’s less whining for my favorite hiking partner, the Sheriff to hear.
So what are a few good items to take with you when you’re first starting out? First decide what kind of hike you’re taking. Are you taking a short day hike? A long trek through the mountains? An overnight camping trip? All these trips could potentially require different things. For the sake of time and energy, let’s say as beginner, you are taking a day hike in your local state park. Here are a few items, I’d grab.
1. Good comfortable shoes. You may have invested in a new pair of hiking boots or shoes. Good for you! This is the time to try them out. See where they’re going to leave blisters, because they are! But you will be able to withstand the aggravation and whine less if your just out for the day rather than on that overnight hike to the lodge that you’ve been wanting to take.
2. A good sturdy day pack. You won’t need an internal or external frame oversized pack unless you are my husband who is an over prepper of sorts. You won’t need a pack filled to the brim to take a nice day hike but it is convenient to have somewhere to stash a few items.
3. Snacks and water. You can check out those hiking sections in the store and find all kinds of snacks, meals, canteens or water bottles. It’s your preference here. You’re just going out for the day, you can take whatever you like. If you don’t have a fancy water container, a bottle or two of water from the convenience store will suffice. (Just be sure to pack it out when leave.) You can also take a granola bar or two. The Sheriff likes to take cheese and summer sausage while I’m more partial to a granola bar and some chocolate.
4. A small first aid kit-throw some bandaids, some hand wipes, etc into a zip bag just so you are prepared. If you are lucky like I am to have a hiking partner who over prepares, I toss in the bare minimum just in case he decides to leave me stranded, one day, for all the grief I give him.
5. A bandana-I don’t know why those things are so darn handy! But it’s good to always have one in your pack because they are so good for so many things. You might need to wipe your face or hands, put your hair up, dry something off or play a game of Pin the tail on the donkey. Nah just kidding about the last part. I also attach a long scarf to my day pack for a to make it easy to grab to wipe away sweat (that’s if I break a sweat, which is probably rare), or for a quick clean up or drying hands. And, its pretty cute if I say so myself which is always a bonus!
Lastly, if you just can’t seem to say motivated, check out my post, Fake It ’til You Make It. Maybe you’ll at least get a little laugh out of it.
Some of our favorite items are linked below. Whatever you decide on just make sure that you are willing to carry it. That’s rule #1 in the land of fake made up arbitrary rules is that you carry your own pack. So the Whiny Hiker will always ask, “Am I willing to carry this without whining?” If the answer is no, then don’t take it with you. Unless it’s water, you need water.
Since I may talk about packs, pants, snacks, books or other products from time to time, these posts may contain affiliate links to these things we know and love. If you take action (if you subscribe to something or make a purchase) after clicking one of these links, I’ll earn a little college fund money for my grand-littles.