The 10 essentials for (mostly) day hikes

Thinking about going hiking this weekend?

The 10 essentials, according to me

1.Water, water is #1 always.

I learned this the hard way while hiking in Sedona. The hike turned out to be 8 miles when I thought it was only going to be 5. I only had 3/4 of a bottle. Don’t do this, always be prepared and bring more than you think you will need, or a filter for longer treks.

2.Good shoes

If you don’t have good shoes you will be more likely to get some pretty gnarly blisters, or even sprain your ankle. I love my Danner 6″ Cloud Cap GTX boots. They are gortex so good in the winter and summer.  Mid rise over my ankles and have never given me trouble. I found them at half price almost 2 years ago and they are the best I’ve had.

3.The right partner

If you’re going on a long hike/overnight hike, you want to make sure you are going with people you trust. When I go on long hikes sometimes I get a bit hangry (hungry/angry) and I want someone there that isn’t going to judge me or leave me behind. I also like knowing the person I’m with isn’t going to give up and will know what to do in case of emergency. On a shorter hike it’s cool to go with people you might not know as well, or even someone new. Hikes provide a great opportunity for conversation and learning lots about someone. Maybe you’ll even make a new friend. If you’re going to hike by yourself, make sure you let someone know where you are and when you’ll be back. Make sure you know it’s a safe area so you don’t put yourself in danger. Hiking alone is an entirely different experience and you really get the chance to learn about yourself and spend some quiet time in nature.

4. A rain jacket 

A rain jacket and extra layers are always good to have. Whether it’s raining, cold or really sunny, an extra layer provides protection from the elements, and you have an opportunity to look pretty sweet.

5. A banana

Banana’s provide a needed boost for me on the way down. I usually get tired after summiting or hiking for 5+ miles and a snack can help you when you truly need it.

6. A positive mental attitude

Hiking is a very mental sport along with the physical, and if you tell yourself you are going to give up, that’s exactly what you will do. Keep going even when it is hard because the rewards from pushing yourself are greater than anything you could imagine in my experience.

7. Hiking poles

Hiking poles are good for lots of different reasons. Knee and ankle support on rugged terrain, they provide extra energy forward for going uphills, they can be used for a form of protection and could be turned into a splint or crutch if someone hurts themselves and still has awhile to walk.

8. A good sense of where you’re going and when the sun will go down

You don’t want to get lost, pretty obvious. You also don’t want to be out on a trail when the sun goes down if that isn’t what you planned for. Knowing when the sun will go down and how long the round trip will take can also prevent you from turning around too early and missing out completing your route.

9. A camera 

I love taking pictures of things I see along the way and love looking back over my different hikes.

10. What’s something you always bring on your hikes with you?


The 10 essentials, according to the WTA (you should have these things too)

  1. Map –
  2. Compass 
  3. Water and a Way to Purify It 
  4. Extra Food
  5. Rain Gear and Extra Clothing
  6. Firestarter and Matches
  7. First Aid Kit
  8. Knife or Multi-Purpose Tool
  9. Flashlight and extra batteries
  10. Sun screen and sun glasses

And a few other items you should consider:  insect repellent, whistle, watch,  emergency blanket, mirror (for signaling), duct tape (great for repairing anything), gloves, extra socks, and an orange vest (during hunting season).


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