Taking a hike means expecting the unexpected, so it is best to be prepared for some of the more common things that can occur on a daylong or weeks-long trek. There are some very useful items that you should always take with you any time you go hiking.
Obviously, you want to take a backpack. It contains EVERYTHING the things you need to survive in the wilderness. Most people remember to take a backpack, but it is surprising how many forget to think about taking some kind of rain cover. You may think that you just will not go hiking if it is raining, but you should consider the fact that, many times, a sunny day can turn rainy in an instant. Also, going for a hike on a rainy day will get you used to hiking in rain that is likely to occur when you take longer treks. Get a raincoat and include it in your day-hiking equipment.
You may think that you will only be gone a few hours, so why carry the weight of food, but it is always a good idea to have some food with you on a hike. You never know when a 2-hour hike will last longer than that. You might find an interesting trail and find yourself walking around in the woods for many hours. Ultimately, you will get hungry; so carry some food with you when you go hiking.
Your boots are critical. When choosing hiking equipment, remember that every pound of weight in your boots is equivalent to adding five pounds on your back. When you put too much weight on one part of your body, another part is sure to complain. The boots you wear depend on the kind of trail you are hiking. Many trails can be hiked with just a pair of sneakers on, but others can only be handled with serious and heavy hiking boots. Make your choice appropriately.
If you plan to hike in the rain, you should get a pair of gaiters. They prevent water from running down your legs and into your boots. If you have spent any time waterproofing your boots just to find all your efforts have gone to waste because you did not seal around the space where your legs go in, you will appreciate adding gaiters to your hiking equipment.
You should wear two pairs of socks. Having and outer wool sock and an inner sock made of polypropylene is a good combination. This method is effective in draining moisture from your feet, and every hiker should use it.
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