Having the proper hiking gear is key to a safe and fun day out in the mountains. I have made a list of my essential hiking gear that will hopefully help those of you starting into hiking and unsure of what you may need when you go out for a day.
Backpack – A good backpack is essential for an enjoyable day hike. I am a Deuter fanatic, because their backpacks fit my shape perfectly. I wear the “futura” pack and it holds 30 Liters. This pack also has a ventilation system in the back so I don’t get too hot and sweaty when I am hiking. There are lots of good backpacks out there and it’s important to find the one that works the best for you. I ALWAYS ask a staff member for help when I am finding a new pack, they know exactly what to look for and how it should fit you.
Boots – I can’t stress how much a good and sturdy pair of hiking boots will help you when you’re hiking. Ankle support will protect you from rolling or twisting an ankle and will make your hike a breeze. I wear Vasque boots but it is important to choose a pair that works for you and feels comfortable on your foot. Always pack moleskin and duct tape in your bag incase you get a blister or a hot spot from your boots.
Socks – My ride or die hiking socks are Smart Wool. Invest in a pair, it’s worth it!
Bear Spray – Bear spray is a must when you are hiking in bear country. Have bear spray and know how to use it. I use Kathy and Craig Copeland’s audio book Bears Beware! This audio book is great because it gives you so many simple ways to be bear aware. I have never had any close encounters with a bear and I am sure that the tips I was given in this audio book are why!
Poles – Poles are something I never used to use but now I can’t go without them. They are great to have as a safety backup, incase someone has an injury and needs a little bit of extra support, and they are also great when your legs or knees get tired. I have the ladies Carbon poles from REI. I love them because they are super lightweight so when I strap them to the side of my pack I barely even notice them. However, if you are taller than 5’7” I would recommend getting the men’s version of these. I am 5’7” and they are perfect for me, any taller and they might be a bit short for you!
Book – Don’t forget to bring your hiking book or printed instructions so that you know where you’re going and you don’t get lost!
Clothing – Proper clothing is a must since the weather can always change in the rockies. Clothing items that are ALWAYS in my pack are Kühl long pants, a base layer long sleeved shirt (my go to for this is either an Icebreaker or Arcteryx), my Arcteryx rain coat, Patagonia rain pants, Patagonia fleece zip up, mittens, a toque and a buff. Make sure to bring lots of layers so you can add or shed clothing accordingly. I almost always start the day off in shorts and a t-shirt and change as the day goes on. Some of my favorite clothing brands for hiking in are Lululemon, Mountain Hardware, Patagonia, North Face, Arcteryx and Icebreaker. Again, choose clothing that works for you and just make sure that you have all of the essential layers.
Water – Packing plenty of drinking water is crucial. I love platypus water pouches for this purpose but any water bottle will do. Just make sure you bring water and lots of it!
Miscellaneous – Other objects that I never go without are: a headlamp, first aid kit, power bar, electrolyte water mix, sunscreen, a hat, whistle, compass, a camera and a buddy!
I hope that I didn’t miss anything on this list. I would love to hear what your hiking essentials are! Thanks for reading!