Hiking essentials for beginners are no different to those of an experienced hiker. Hiking gear may vary dependent on the weather and length of the trip, but the core requirements are the same. The full list provided here will ensure you are prepared to deal with situations in maximum comfort and with minimal stress.
# Hiking Essentials
Backpack: 50-70 litres should get you through most 3-day trips. Good ventilation and water proofing are big pluses, though rain covers can be purchased.
Navigation: A physical map, a compass and a flashlight with spare batteries. Google Maps is great, but GPS and battery are finite luxuries in the countryside.
Clothing: Hiking boots or walking shoes, waterproof trousers and a waterproof coat. Any fool can be uncomfortable. You are not a fool.
Emergency shelter: Lightweight tube tent and a sleeping bag for day trips, a standard tent and a camping mat for overnight stops.
Food and water: Always pack more food and water than you’ll need. Nuts, dried fruit and beef jerky are great nutrient dense, lightweight travel options.
First aid kit: Think blister packs, plasters and disinfectant. Insect repellent could be useful too depending on location and season.
Sun Protection: Even in the cold of winter, sunglasses and sunscreen are a must at altitude.
Toiletries: Toilet paper in a waterproof bag. When you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go.
While some of these items may seem nerve racking, the necessity of these items is for extreme situations which are exceptions to what is going to be a fun, uplifting and motivational experience.
# Additional Gear
Clothing: Hat, Gloves, Scarf, Thermals, Sweater or Fleece.
Walking Poles: Useful support tools for longer hikes.
Camera: Nature is beautiful and captivating, but so is posing in it for your Instagram.
Cooking: Fire lighting equipment and a gas cooker could come in handy for bush-tucker culinarians.
Hiking Gear Tips
# Travel Light
When you’re off to purchase your gear, think smart. Purchase items that are small and lightweight, you don’t want to be carrying twice your bodyweight if it can be avoided. Consider the size and weight of you hiking gear when deciding on lightweight or heavy-duty backpacks.
# These boots are made for walking
When buying hiking boots or walking shoes, get fitted properly and test them out around the store. Generally, for summer months and flatter countryside environments, walking shoes are going to be your best bet. For colder months, or up mountains where whether can dip year-round, you’re going to want a pair of boots.
You’re going to be covering some miles in your new footwear. Particularly for beginners, don’t head straight out on a 15-mile trek, break them in slowly and build it up. This allows your feet to get used to the mileage, and the shoe can get used to your foot.
No matter how well fitting the boot or shoe, the wrong socks are going to cause problems. If you’re wearing lightweight walking shoes in warmer weather and flatter terrain, lightweight hiking socks are going to be your best bet. If you’re heading up the mountain or into cold, wet areas, then thick, insulated socks are going to be your first choice.
# Better to have too much than too little
While i stand by packing light and easing the load, its always best to be fully prepared. If you are heading anywhere with vast open space such as the Cotswolds, or large mountainous regions such as the Brecon Beacons, its always best to have all your essentials packed. If you are heading to a large local park or nature reserve, of course you can tone down the more extreme survival items.
Dependent on the weather, particularly if it is likely to turn, it can be useful to have a few layers. This allows more readily adjustment of your temperature. In line with the last point, the more you have at the ready, the more you can adjust throughout your trip. Even in cold temperatures, it’s always good to have something light and breathable on your bottom layer to avoid overheating or getting too sweaty.
# Hike Clean
Respect the countryside. When you’re hiking, don’t leave litter, take an extra plastic bin bag for your rubbish. You can also pick up any litter you find on route for some extra karma points.