Essential Hiking GearMy Top Eight Must Haves for Every Trail
We’ll just get right down to the nitty-gritty, no holds barred, number one item for essential hiking gear that will not come as a surprise to anyone is a good pair of hiking boots. The top of the list for any kind of hike whether it be a thru-hike, day hike, or just a few precious hours out in nature, is one’s hiking boots. I cannot even fathom the array of boots out there, but I can tell you from ten plus years of experience as a hiker, I have never worn anything but my Timberlands. I’m currently on my third pair of the exact same boot. My first pair took me on thru-hikes across Ireland, Scotland, and beyond.
The second pair took me on an eight-month and then some adventure around the globe including a thru-hike in New Zealand. And my third pair is currently waiting patiently for me to decide where my next adventure will take me. Timberland’s hikers have a top-notch reputation, are water resistant, and can literally tackle any trail, long, short, or in between. Where do you think your first, or next adventure, might take you? Check out the links below, grab yourself a pair of Timberlands, hit the trail, and enjoy Mother Nature at her finest!
Click Here to learn more about Timberland Women’s Hiking Boots.
Click Here to learn more about Timberland Men’s Hiking Boots.
This may go without saying but there is no sense in having a great pair of hiking boots if you have socks that are going to make you miserable and not enhance the joy of hiking. Until you’ve hiked miles and miles day after day, you’ll never know how important a great pair of socks are. The Merino Wool Hiking and Trekking Socks are the ones I highly recommend.
These are the socks I have worn on all my long-distance hikes as well as on my day hikes. Warm enough to battle the cold weather, but light enough to wear on the regular in any type of conditions. These socks come with temperature control technology, anti-blister cushioning, and moisture-wicking cool mesh in the design. I absolutely love these socks. Once you grab a pair or two of these awesome socks, jump into your boots, and shrug yourself into your backpack you’ll be ready to hit the trail!
Click Here to learn more about the Merino Wool Hiking & Trekking Socks.
3. HIKING POLES
If you are well seasoned or just a beginner, hiking poles are a must have item as far as I’m concerned. Especially if you are a solo hiker, a thru-hiker, or getting a few specks of silver in your hair like I am. The very first thru-hike I did I didn’t have any hiking poles. Not until I did my next long-distance hike did I realize how much easier my life was with my favorite hiking poles along for the climb. The Black Diamond Distance Z Z Poles for Trekking are my go-to poles and for good reason. Made with lightweight aluminum, collapsible, comfortable grips, and a durable design, these hiking poles are great for any occasion. They are especially great for thru-hikes as they weigh only .74 ounces. At that weight, they don’t add much to your pack weight as you amble along to your ultimate destination. These poles will surely help you get to the top of that mountain…and back again!
Click Here to learn more about the Black Diamond Distance ZZ Poles for Trekking.
4. THE BEST BACKPACK YOU’LL EVER OWN
Definitely Essential Hiking Gear!
Back Packs! Let’s load them up and hit the trail! Today I’ll cover two types of packs that I carry. The first one is the one I have carried on every adventure I have ever been on over the last ten years. I just recently retired it after my trip backpacking around the world. Ten years and who knows how many miles later, the duct tape I eventually applied was no longer enough to hold the ole girl together. The High Sierra Summit 45 is literally the most resilient piece of traveling equipment I have ever owned. Roomy mesh pockets on both sides are perfect for holding my water bottle and phone. A quick zip pocket in the back to easily access your maps or documents, and another large compartment attached to the top of the pack, make this such a great travel or thru-hiking companion.
The Summit 45 has a front load sleeping bag area, and a large main compartment that is simple and can hold all the rest of your personal items, clothes, and gear for any adventure. My favorite feature is a tuck-away rain fly for when you get caught out in the weather, which you inevitably will. I lived out of this pack for 8 months while circumnavigating the globe. It went everywhere with me! Just as yours will go everywhere with you! Until I had to give her up, she was a beloved and treasured friend. You know what? The whole world is waiting for you! So, check out this link where you can read about all the rest of the cool features that this versatile pack has to offer. Then grab your new bestie and go for it!
Click Here to learn more about the Summit 45.
5. DAY PACK FOR DAY TRIPPIN’
Just a quick salute to my day pack. I always carried two packs on my long adventures around the world. The backpack I just described and a smaller pack that I could take with me for a day trip out or when I go out for a day hike somewhere. I prefer one that can roll up and fit in my big pack if I don’t need it and it does not take up too much room or weigh too much. The Everest Luggage Backpack is just such a pack. It is the perfect size for a day hike either in the city or in the woodlands. It can easily carry your jacket, your lunch, a water bottle or two, and your emergency poncho in the event of nasty weather. It also has a sizable front storage area where you can carry your ‘get to them quick’ items. The small side pockets are great for your phone in case you need to get that perfect photo on the fly. So loaded it up and get out there and check out the nearest trail or take it on your next stroll around Paris, London, or any cool city you always wanted to visit!
Click Here to learn more about the Everest Luggage Backpack.
6. WATER BOTTLES
Don’t forget your water! That is some of the best advice I can give anyone who is taking up hiking. I was coming down off a wee mountain called Croagh Patrick in Ireland one time and on my descent, I came across two young hikers with no water. Not a speck. They asked me (and this is the God’s honest truth) if there was a water spicket up on the summit. I stood there, mouth agape. I reached into the daypack I was just telling you about and gave them all the extra water I had. Which was substantial as I hate to be thirsty or unprepared. I left them guzzling the water at a rate that told me it would be gone in a flash. I continued down the trail shaking my head and wondering if they would make it through life in general.
What I did not give them was my Topoko 25 oz Stainless Steel Vacuum Water Bottle. This is another one of those items that I have had for years. Again (as with most of the things I buy as they are for traveling as light as possible) this water bottle is lightweight, double insulated, leakproof. and best of all BPA-free! The one I carried around the world with me did eventually get banged up pretty good, I think I accidentally ran it over with my van, but I did not hesitate to buy another one just like it. So don’t end up being a thirty traveler! Check these awesome bottles out and grab one in your favorite color!
Click Here to learn more about the Topoko 25 oz Stainless Teel Vacuum Water Bottle.
Now, one may think that carrying a flashlight on a day hike might be completely unnecessary however, being prepared isn’t just some random cliché. It is in fact what has gotten me, and can get you, out of a tough spot. Things happen out in the woods that you need to be ever mindful of. Getting caught out in the dark because you’ve lost your way or sprained an ankle, or you underestimated how long it would take to hike that trail you always wanted to hike, is always a possibility.
One really needs to have a lightweight yet powerful flashlight. I never go on an adventure without my trusted Mini MagLite Pro Led. This thing is small but mighty. Ultra-bright 332 Lumens, it is made from durable but lightweight machined aluminum and is anodized so it is corrosion resistant. And I love the fact that it has an adjustable beam that can go from spot to flood light instantaneously. Those who wander may not always be lost but just in case; let this rugged little light help you find your way out of the dark, back onto the trail, and home again, home again jiggety jog (as my mother use to say).
Click Here to learn more about the Mini MagLite Pro LED.
8. POCKET KNIVES
I’ll be honest, I LOVE knives! I don’t know why. I just think they are cool. However, a good pocketknife is essential in all things outdoors. I carry an Uncle Henry. It is a simple pocketknife that I always take with me while I am out hiking. Rugged yet stylish, it is my go-to knife.
I also have an awesome utility knife for camp which is the GVDV Utility Pocket Knife. If you go on a long thru-hike this is also the knife you would want to carry. I love the flat black slate color and it comes with a sharpening stone to boot.
One of the knives you might prefer is one I call my Daniel Boone knife! The Snake Eye Tactical Cherry Wood Hunting Knife is the one I wear on my belt to make me feel like a grand adventurer! Or perhaps it is the one you might use if you must wrestle a bear or mountain lion and want a fighting chance! I also happen to have a Laguiole which is a real beauty. This knife is not only a useful tool it is also a showpiece. And of course, we can’t forget the classic Swiss Army Knife. Always a good solid knife to keep around. Along the way you will find having a knife is always handy and you will use more than you think. Whichever knife you chose, it will go everywhere with you and become a standard part of what you grab as you head out to explore the great outdoors.
I have a full post about these and other Sharp & Pointy Objects. Check it out here.
Want to find out more about the knives listed above? Click one of these links for more information:
For The Thru Hiker: Pack Light
I’ll keep this simple; you will probably not believe what you can live without until you try. I once traveled all the way around the world for almost a year with one pair of shoes and those were my hiking boots. That’s right. Every step I took, every pub, restaurant, store, or mountain I climbed, for all those glorious months, I wore only those boots. Even when I was in Fiji rather than buy some flip-flops, I just went either in those boots, or more often than not, I went barefoot everywhere. Pictured in the photo I have included in this section, is all the gear I carried for the time I spent traveling around the world and for the most part what I carried on my many thru hikes over the years.
Featured in the photo are my lightweight Clostnature Trekker Tent, my Sleepingo sleeping pad, my ECOPRO ultra-light sleeping bag, and my favorite travel pillow the Wodongtech. Love that dang pillow. I also carried one incredibly soft and comfortable sweater. And yes, I bought an awesome State Cashmere Essential Crewneck that once worn under your shirt and/or a waterproof jacket you will not need anything else to keep you warm and toasty. One can find it in a men’s fit as well! I also carried a waterproof jacket to layer over my other clothes when the weather deemed it a necessity. And just for the record, I packed and repacked over a dozen times to get my pack weight just right. Not just because I knew I would be doing a long-distance hike or two, but because I was also going to be lugging that backpack around the entire globe. Some of the best advice I can give you is be sure to keep your packing and must-have gear as simple as possible.
Here is a list of the smaller things I also carry on the regular on any hike no matter the difficulty or distance; a rain poncho is an absolute must is a heat-reflecting blanket. Again, these are for emergency situations. I also carry a compass because compasses are Just freaking cool. And, you know, it actually might one day save your life. And last but not least you are going to need a great pair of shades. You are going to love these Calcutta Islanders! They are polarized, water resistant, and have UV sun protection built in. Plus, they look great! These are just some of the little things that can help you make your outdoor adventure a success.
Want to capture all your adventures? Then definitely go and check out my blog on the Canon EOS Rebel T7 Digital Camera! It is the camera I carry and trust as I explore this amazing world around us! See you out there on the trail!
So, here it is! Your call to action! Don’t let your travel and adventure ideas sit idle any longer! It is time to gather your gear, take that dream you’ve been dreaming of, and make it into a reality! Just go for it!