The excitement of the great outdoors, fresh mountain air, the spectacular views, the sweat and adventure all leads to the BIG question of "What do I pack?"
First and foremost find yourself a comfy backpack from single day hikers, weekend hikes to those who are interested in full week plus excursions. Quality and pricing dramatically change depending on purpose and added features. Simple backpack with a bladder (water holder), upper and lower clips to adjust where the weight sits on your body plus a nice ventilated back. Most importantly make sure it fits comfortable as it is truly on the ride with you. Now what to put in your pack......
Hydration: Water, water and some more water. I have a bladder that is inside my backpack with an easy to use sipping straw while out on my journey. For my longer hikes 4+ hours I pack an additional bottle that will have an electrolyte supplement in it. You could use a gatorade or purchase an electrolyte powder to add to your water at any supplement store. My newest obsession is a Root Beer BCAA that is available at King Supplements or on-line.
Fuel: Having enough eats on hand to fuel your body during the hike. Easy to pack snacks like bars; Larabars, the new nut filled Cliff bars deelish and a definite recommend. Fruit is a great go to snack for its further hydration and healthy dose of sugar. Lunch for those longer hikes with a good source of protein. Sandwiches, jerky works great and yes I even packed a salad filled to the brim with goodies.
First Aid Kit: Heading out into nature although we are also hoping for the best accidents and things do happen. Having a first aid kit with basic supplies; bandages, band aids, wrap for any twists and strains and one of my most used items in my kit- Duct Tape! Great for placing over blisters and any number of other incidents.
Multi-Use Knife: Swiss army knife that I can say has officially say I have used. I couldn't get into one of my foodie containers and excitedly pulled out my knife and voila' I am more then happy if that remains the extent of its use.
Safety: You are heading out into Mother Nature and will be sharing this space with the wildlife. It is always good to have a horn and bear spray. I recommend placing them in one of your outer easy access pockets so you can reach back and be armed. I personally don't recommend bear bells as public service announcement- They are annoying as hell for those hiking around you!! If you are chatting with your friends and having fun on your hike the wildlife is already aware that you are there instead of enticing them to come closer to check out that funny sound that is coming from your backpack.
Cleanliness: Cleaning wipes, toilet paper and I keep a couple of my pups poop bags with me. They come in handy to collect your garbage while on your hike, place any items that become wet during your hike and if your hiking shoes become muddy you can place your shoes inside them or on top once you get back to your vehicle.
Stay dry: Having a foldable anorak style jacket in case the weather changes mid=hike. If you only ever encounter one wet spot ever while hiking you will be forever grateful for a fresh dry pair of socks in your backpack.
Misc; Sunscreen, bug spray and due to every hike my lips becoming dry I have added a much needed addition lip gloss. Although my phone is turned off from the outside world it is my camera while hiking so I pack an additional power source so I can charge up mid-hike if needed.
Yoga Mat: Traditional yoga mat or many companies offer travel yoga mats that will easily fold into your backpack. I personally have a travel mat from Halfmoon and I love it! Bonus its only $29 CAD
Post Hike: I don't know about you but post hike as soon as I walk up to my vehicle my hiking shoes are off and my feet are sliding into my flipflops or Uggs depending on the season. That and a nice fresh clean shirt, tank or sweatshirt.
If I am missing something from my list that you think is a "MUST" have or recommend please feel free to message me. I am always on the lookout for new products that make our lives easier and hiking adventures all that much more fun.
Namaste and cheers to outdoor adventures'