Hiking, running belts, Travel

Top 5 Things to Bring on a Day Hike

things to bring on a day hike Whether you’re exploring a new area or spending a day hiking a trail you’ve walked hundreds of times over the years, hiking can be a great way to get out of the house, leave the pressures of work and technology behind, and get back to nature. You won’t want to head out your door empty-handed, though. Don’t forget these top five things to bring on a day hike – be it a three-mile loop you can do in an afternoon or a longer morning-to-evening undertaking.

 1. Water Bottle

What you’ll need for a hike will vary a bit depending on how long the hike is going to be. It goes without saying that you will be able to pack lighter for a hike that is going to last just an hour or two, versus one that is going to take the whole day. However, there are a few items you will want to have with you for both situations, and a high-quality water bottle is absolutely at the top of the list.

water bottleThere are a slew of differing viewpoints about which water bottles are best for hiking. Nalgene’s 1-quart wide-mouthed bottle is probably the standard, not just because it’s lightweight and can hold a lot of water, but also because it is BPA-free and comes in a range of different colors. Nalgene makes some of the most rugged water bottles in the world, and this one can take a lot of abuse without cracking, denting, or really showing it.

Of course, there are plenty of other options available, as well. The Polar Bottle is popular for an insulated design that keeps water cold and refreshing while some prefer the stainless steel designs of Klean Kanteen’s water bottles to the hard plastic Nalgene style. Do some shopping around, read a few reviews, and decide which water bottle suits your personal preferences best.

2. Running Belt

running beltIf you’ve ever lost your car keys during a hike and had to backtrack over an entire trail loop to find them, then you understand the importance of keeping your belongings in a secure place. While the best practice when heading out for a hike is often to leave certain items either at home or in the car (your wallet or driver’s license, cash, etc.), there are also a few items (your phone, your car keys, a snack or two) that you will want to carry with you.

That’s where eHolster’s new running belt comes into the equation. With two spacious stretch pouches, you will be able to securely stow everything you will need to take with you on a day hike. The pouches are even designed with smartphones in mind and have headphone grommets in case you want to listen to music on your hike. Sure, part of the appeal of hiking is getting away from technology, but it’s still a good idea to have your phone accessible in case you get lost or injured and need to call for help.

3. Map and Compass

map and compassIf you are hiking in a completely familiar area, you might not need a map and compass. Still, it’s good to get used to navigating using these tools, as such proficiencies could help you out later on down the road when you are exploring a completely new environment. Most parks or trailheads have maps that they can give you at the trailhead—though you can also look around to find larger, more detailed maps of your area.

For a compass, same as with water bottles, you have plenty of options available to you. As you will see from browsing an online store like Amazon.com, available styles range from classic round compasses to baseplate compasses, all the way to small digital compasses. While you can pay quite a lot for a compass, you don’t need to make a hefty investment to get your hands on a good one. Amazon has highly reviewed options available for under $10. Most day hikers will generally tell you that a baseplate compass is the best choice for hiking. Plus, baseplate compasses have the added benefit of being compact, and yours should fit snugly in the eHolster running belt mentioned above.

4. First Aid Kit

firstaid kitYou won’t need to lug an entire lunchbox-sized first aid kit into the wilderness for your next day hike, but it is a good idea to put together a small box of first aid supplies, just in case. Bandages, Neosporin, aspirin or other medications are all items that you should have on your person for your next hike. You never know when you are going to have to treat cuts, bites, stings, or other ailments or injuries, so being prepared is essential. Don’t forget to tuck some bug repellent and sunscreen into the pack as well to ensure a more enjoyable experience out on the trail.

5. Utility Knife

utility knifeYour running belt is also the perfect place to tuck a Leatherman Multi-Tool or a Swiss Army Knife. While you might be picturing yourself skinning an animal with your knife for dinner, you probably won’t need to rough it that much for a simple day hike. You could, however, need a multi-tool or utility knife for another reason. Maybe you forgot to trim a toenail, and it’s bothering you. Or maybe you need to get a splinter, a thorn, or a porcupine quill out of your hand. These utility tools are designed to make sure that you are prepared for anything, so be sure to take one along in case a situation arises where you need it.

Beyond these five essentials, it’s also a good idea to pack a few snacks, a book of matches or a lighter, an extra pair of socks (especially in cold weather), and a pair of sunglasses. And of course, make sure to tell a friend where you’re going (or better yet, bring them along!) before hitting the trail. You can bring a lot of “just in case” items out into the woods with you, but nothing beats having another person who can spring into action if something goes wrong.