Hiking Tips: The Five Essentials
Being in nature no matter what, is an enjoyable experience for most people, but having the right items with you when you hike can make or break your outdoor experience. Here are the basic essential items every hiker should have with them.
- Water – Always bring more than enough water. The amount of water that you take will depend on the length of hike you plan to take and the amount of time it will take you to complete your hike. From personal experience, I would suggest a liter of water as the minimum of water to take, and would recommend for those who are serious hikers to invest in a backpack equipped with a hydration bladder; not only are you able to carry more water, but this hands free hydration method allows for hydrating when you’re resting or moving.
- Snacks – Bringing a snack like trail mix, a snack bar, fruit, or a sandwich is a must when hiking for long periods of time. Not only do you need food to keep your energy up to complete and enjoy your hike, but taking a break for a snack gives you time to enjoy the scenery, and especially some of the beautiful views that hiking in Boulder County affords. The best snacks for hiking are those that have protein and or good fats, as well as, carbs; the protein or fats help keep you full longer and sustain your energy (keep your blood sugar stable), while the carbs are necessary for quickly supplying your body with energy, as well as brain function.
- Sunscreen – Because of Boulder County’s altitude, all hikers, regardless of skin type should wear at least some sun protection to avoid sun burns which can not only have long term consequences, but can lead to sun poisoning. Sunscreen, lip balm with sun protectant in it, sunglasses, are essential for hiking; hats, bandanas, and long sleeves can also be helpful.
- Shoes – Shoes can really make or break a hike. Recommended shoes for hiking in Boulder County depends on the trail, but any athletic shoe usually work; trail shoes or hiking boots are the best option. Not only do you need shoes that will protect your feet from rocks, bugs, weeds, etc., but they also protect your ankles and knees from injury. Having shoes with good traction can be the difference between a minor tumble and a possible major injury.
- Pack – Every hiker should have a pack because hiking with a pack is also a safety precaution. Hikers need their hands to stabilize and catch themselves to avoid injury to themselves and others. Most backpacks and athletic bags work as packs, but for those who plan on hiking frequently, having a pack that protects their back is essential. Favorite brands of many hikers are Osprey and Camelback, which both come in a variety of sizes and usually provide a hydration pack.
These are the basics every hiker should have with them. Other items that can be helpful are tissue, toilet paper, a utility knife, basic first aid items, a whistle, pepper spray, a space blanket, extra medication, disposable poncho, and of course extra water.