Hiking is a fabulous way to get out and explore Mother Nature. There is nothing better than breathing in that fresh outdoor scent. However, we all have that friend with the hiking horror story… “I got lost,” “I ran out of water,” “I fell and hurt myself,” there are admittedly a lot of things that can go wrong when out in the wild. We met with a backcountry caretaker on Vermont’s Long Trail and put together a list of ways to assure you’ll have a successful summer hiking season!
Let’s start with the right pack!
Having a backpack that meets your needs is important. You don’t need a 100L pack for a day hike, that’s excessive! Likewise, a fanny pack may seem like a cute idea for a quick hike, but it’s likely you weren’t able to fit everything necessary in that fanny…
CamelBak Rim Runner 22 Hydration Pack, 85oz
Running out of water is no joke. Pack plenty of water. We like to start with a full Camelbak bladder, and then also throw in a backup water bottle. If you’re planning an extra aggressive long hike, it is not a bad idea to carry a water filtration system of some sort. This company makes an incredibly simple and compact system that actually filters the water through a straw in your waterbottle!
LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottles
Your feet are your greatest asset when it comes to hiking. Remember, you can not hike without them! Therefore, your feet should be treated like royalty in these endeavors! Having the right pair of hiking boots, or supportive trail shoes, is a start. Additionally, wool is your best friend while hiking. It’s summer and the thought of “wool” makes me hot and itchy… Wrong. Cotton kills. Wear wool.
Darn Tough Vermont Men’s Merino Wool Micro-Crew Light Cushion Hiking Socks
Be aware of the environment you’re in.
Are there bears? Mountain lions? Dangerous ticks? Venomous snakes? Know what is out there and pack for it! When it comes to bears the company Counter Assault based out of Bozeman, Montana has created a bear spray for hikers to carry along. It is to be used if a bear is attacking, and is not a repelling spray. Proper tick and mosquito repellent will prevent unnecessary bad reactions to bites from these pesky insects. When it comes to snakes, we like to carry a knife.
Counter Assault – Bear Deterrent Spray
Know where you’re going.
Hiking alone is never wise, but if you are out there solo use a spot locator, tell a friend where you’re going and when you plan on getting home. Bring maps, screenshot pictures of maps, as it is likely your cell reception will conveniently be gone when you need it the most.
Spot 3 Satellite GPS Messenger