It’s almost time to get outdoors. And if you’re like me, you love looking at gear and preparing. And if you’re even more like me, you’re often caught ill-prepared. Nature is great, nature is wonderful, but it is the worst place to be poorly prepared in. And so, I’m doing this as much for you as I am for me. Here’s a packing list (based off of real life experience and lessons learned) of everything you should have, for that short quick hike you might be taking today, or for that more extensive one you’ve been looking forward to.
Yes, you need a backpack. How else are you going to carry your snacks and water, among everything else? The Osprey Daylite pack is everything you want in a daypack. It’s comfortable for one, it’s not too big, but still has ample room for snacks, and it offers hip support, without making you strap in that annoying hip-belt. It also has a water bottle pocket, and is compatible with hydration reservoirs, depending on which way you want to go.
Osprey Hydration Reservoir
Staying hydrated is key. Don’t think you can get away with not drinking water. I’m ashamed I even have to say this, but I do. A great way to make sure you’re drinking enough is a hydration pack. This will work in most backpacks, and essentially is a reservoir and a tube, so you can drink water with no hands. The only downside here is that it often leads me to get overhydrated. Not a bad downside.
Hydro Flask 21 oz Standard Mouth Water Bottle
If you don’t want to opt for a hydration pack, you’ll need a water bottle. I really like Hydroflask. It’ll keep your water cold on the trail, so it’ll feel like you’re drinking from an icy stream every time (Disclaimer: Please do not drink from icy streams).
I Go Hard Shell Compact First Aid Kit
I think this is really important to bring. It might sound silly at first, but I always keep one in my hiking pack, just in case. And I’ve used it. Once, I was opening a sausage with my pocket knife (don’t ask why) and I cut my finger pretty bad. Even though that was on a more extensive backpacking trip, it made me carry this kit with me no matter the hike. It’s always good to be prepared.
Does SPF matter? I’ve been told it matters more how much and how often you put on than the SPF level. Sunscreen can feel like it’s clogging your pores and making you greasy. What I love about Neutrogena’s line is that no matter how much you put on, my skin never feels that way, and I don’t break out as a result. Plus, it keeps me from getting gnarly sunburns.
Vasque Breeze LT GTX Goretex Hiking Shoe
Vasque makes an excellent pair of hiking boots that I think work well for more intensive hikes, or day hikes. I love the monotone color that makes them feel like they’re appropriate to wear even to the grocery store. But looks aside, they’re extraordinarily light weight, but still provide that Vibram sole for grip, and Goretex for waterproofing. And trust me, you want to invest in a shoe that you can forge a river in if need be, and you can with these.
Smartwool Outdoor Crew Sock
I’ll never shut up about Smartwool. Their socks are so comfortable, and I love that they can be worn on a hike, or just lounging around the house. I’m wearing some now and my feet are very happy about it.
Bobo’s Oat Bars
I won’t go as far as saying I’ve tried every snack bar out there, but I’ve tried a ton, and this is my favorite by far. Handcrafted in Colorado, these bars are vegan deliciousness that doesn’t need to brag about it. They’re simple and they’re just really good. Some people recently have been stocking up on Oreo’s, I’ve been stocking up on Bobo’s.
Ok. Chances are if you’re going on a day hike you won’t be eating with a spork. However, it is something I always carry in my pack. And I can’t tell you the amount of times it has come in handy. What if you pack yogurt as a snack? That’s kind of a weird trail snack, but you get the picture. This is something I never go anywhere without.
Black Diamond Revolt
Even if you’re not planning on camping or going out after dusk, I always recommend bringing a headlamp. It’s great to have in case of emergencies, or even if you’ve just lost something under a seat in your car. This one from Black Diamond has a nifty lock button, so it won’t accidentally turn on in your pack, meaning you’ll never unexpectedly lose charge.
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