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5 Must-Have Items to Take with You when Hiking

by K Gordon Schultz
Banff National Park Hiking

When going on a vacation many people want five-star service, amazing amenities, wonderful entertainment and permanent room service. Not me, though – for me, the perfect vacation is to put on a backpack with three days worth of food and water and get lost in the wilderness – on foot. Hiking is a wonderful way to rediscover your place in nature, and to run away from the madness of everyday life. But hiking is not a walk in the park – you have to prepare for your first venture into the wilderness.

Here is a list of five must-haves you should not leave home – or the hotel – without.

1. A first-aid kit

Cuts, bruises happen – so you’d better be prepared for them. A first-aid kit has to contain disinfectant, bandages, some generic drugs for headaches and their likes, scissors and all the essentials for treating minor injuries you suffer while on the road.

2. A phone

Ideally a satellite phone for emergencies – but in most areas an average smartphone will do. It will make it easier to kill time by the fire, to check out casino reviews here or to help you keep in touch with your friends and family. In an emergency situation it can be a lifesaver, too.

Make sure to take a battery pack with you – power outlets are rarely found in the forest.

3. A sleeping bag

When you go to the mountains, you’d better be prepared for chilling nights. Sleeping under the stars, by the fire, sounds great – but only if you have something to keep you warm. Sleeping bags are usually lightweight and take up just a little space, but make all the difference when night falls.

4. Trekking poles

Trekking poles can be very useful when hiking. For one, they can help you cover more ground in a day – you can use them to push yourself forward while walking, for less effort and a better speed. But their importance shows best when you are going uphill.

But they are extremely helpful when you go downhill, too. A 1999 study in The Journal of Sports Medicine has shown that using these poles takes a lot of pressure off your knees – literally – when going downhill. They can reduce the compressive force that pushes on your knees by up to 25%.

5. Good hiking boots

If you plan to hike, make sure your boots are up to the task. Avoid cheap variants – they are usually not worth their price. It’s not just about comfort (although that’s important, too). But your feet being soaking wet and hurting halfway around your trip can be a downer for everyone.

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