What to Pack for an afternoon hike
In a previous post, we discussed the joys of going on a hiking adventure while on vacation. In that article, we briefly touched upon what you should pack for your experience. For this article, we have curated an excellent checklist of things you should have on hand when planning your next hiking adventure.
Full disclosure: we are relatively new to hiking. Only recently have we gotten into hiking as a way to spend our free time as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and still follow travel restrictions. We have come to enjoy it and have made it a goal to do hikes every day off from work. We started small, with little hiking trails near our home – probably 2- 3 km, and as we got better, we found we enjoyed it more and more. Our goals changed, and we wanted more adventure. Friends of ours on social media were posting their photos from their hiking adventures along the Bruce Trail, and it looked so incredible we decided to start checking out sections of the trail as well.
Hiking became a bit addictive, and where about a year ago we only went out begrudgingly, now we find we are challenging ourselves more with each hike. We aim for more difficulty, more scenery, more wildlife, and just more hiking adventure.
By no means, are we experts in hiking, but we have learned a few things along the way. We know this list might seem a bit basic for the more experienced hikers out there. However, if you are like us and took up hiking fairly recently or want to start exploring nature with a real hiking adventure of your own, this list is for you. A simple list of things that we feel is important to have on hand for a short hike for a few hours or a day.
What To Pack for your Hiking Adventure:
Before you head out, make sure your smartphone is your first accessory and is fully charged.
Download a great hiking trail app like “AllTrails” to locate some fantastic trails in your area. It will show you where they are and track your progress and stats as you go. When travel is allowed again – this app will serve you well on future hiking adventures while on vacation.
Be it a backpack or fanny pack (yeah – they are back), having something to carry your supplies is essential. If you are only out for a couple of hours, you may want to keep it smaller.
Never underestimate the importance of suitable footwear. The proper hiking shoes/boots can make the difference between a fun and safe hike or one with an increased risk of safety hazards and injury.
As novice hikers, we didn’t have proper hiking clothes when we started. Appropriate hiking pants have made a world of difference in our hikes. They are light, water-resistant, breathable, and above all else – comfortable.
Because we are still new at this, we asked around for advice on what to get, and the results were pretty consistent. We chose Mark’s Wind River brand because they had all the elements we were looking for and at a reasonable price.
PRO TIP: more experienced hikers that we know swear by permethrin-treated clothing to help prevent Ticks. We will be buying those next purchase.
It is crucial to protect yourself against sun damage. A good sunscreen with a high SPF should always be on hand when you are outside. To help prevent attracting insects, go with unscented. The more you sweat or get wet, then you will need to reapply as needed.
Some people will try to use more ‘natural’ repellents when they go out hiking, but trust me, good insect repellent with DEET is going to make your hiking adventure a lot more enjoyable. You will not constantly be swatting or slapping the bugs away. I am a massive fan of Woods brand Maximum defence insect repellent. It is non-greasy, non-staining, and contains aloe and vitamin E. With 30% DEET, it has kept the bugs off of me more than any other product I have tried. Do not leave it in the car – especially on damp days, because you will need to reapply as you go.
Pro Tip: Spray not just your skin but also your pants and shoes, as that is most likely where ticks will hitch their ride.
Invest the big bucks in dollar store tape-style lint roller. When you return from your hike, before you get into the car, run the lint roller up and down your legs and body, looking for nasty ticks that may have hitch-hiked. If you brought your dog(s), do this to them as well. Ticks can cause serious illness to you and your pet, but they do not latch on (bite) immediately, so it is easy to collect them with the tape lint roller.
Pro-Tip: Download the E-TICK app so you can submit photos of the ticks (3 photos max per submission) to the University of Guelph Tick identification service. This service has a quick turnaround; they will let you know all about the tick you have found within hours (or less).
Stay hydrated, always. Insulated water bottles are a must. Never go on a hike without water.
Freeze water in the bottle about 1/3 full before heading out so that the water stays colder longer.
Depending upon how long you plan to be out hiking will determine how many snacks you will need for your hiking adventure. It is probably best to err on the side of caution and have a bit more than you think you need.
Simple snacks are the perfect thing to Pack for a hike:
- Oranges, pears, and apples will keep blood sugar up and help with hydration.
- Meat jerky is pure protein to keep you fuelled on the hike. They also are lightweight and take little room in your pack.
- Baby carrots & celery sticks are a nice healthy snack that also travels well for a trek.
- Protein or granola bars and similar items are also quick energy-boosting snacks convenient on the go.
Check out our article on Snacks to pack for a Road Trip
PRO-TIP: bring a bag (and gloves) so that you can pick up any trash you find along the way.
Why not take a break and enjoy the idyllic scenery you encounter by enjoying a picnic? Pack a cooler bag or picnic basket full of delicious food so you can enjoy the scenery on your hike, and refuel for the next leg of your hiking adventure.
So, the next time you go on a hike, make sure you have what you need on hand. So you can have more fun exploring nature.
If you like hiking, check out our favourite Halifax Hiking Trails.