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Hiking Gear: Hiking Essentials and Extras


There are several things you need to consider before deciding on the hiking gear you will need. Is this a simple hike of short duration, a hike that will require sleeping and eating on the trail, or is it an organized hike where amenities are supplied. The hiking gear you need will depend largely on this information, and, if it is not an organized hike, you will consider how willing you are to rough it.

The first step when determining what hiking gear you should take is to get together with your hiking partner. If you are hiking any distance, and plan to eat and sleep on the trail, you do have some choices to make, but when you plan carefully, so that each person has the responsibility to bring certain items, it can lighten the load considerably, and it is important to remember that these are items you will be carrying on your hike.

The first thing to consider is the pack itself. There are stores that specialize in hiking gear, and even military surplus stores, where you can find used hiking gear inexpensively. A hiking pack should be approximately four thousand cubic inches, unless you plan on carrying a lot of extras such as photography equipment, or things such as hunting and fishing paraphernalia. When shopping for hiking gear, try to keep in mind that it needs to be functional and efficient as well as light weight.

If you plan to be on the trail during the night, you should decide if you plan to sleep in the elements, or if you will need to include a tent in your hiking gear. Again, it is never wise to hike alone, and you will need two one man tents, or one two man tent. Trail tents are available that weigh from three to four pounds. If it rains or gets chilly, you will be glad you brought a tent on your hike. You will need sleeping bags as well, if you plan on sleeping on the trail. Depending on the weather and terrain, you might choose a very light weight sleeping bag or even one much more cold resistant and even a sleeping bag liner. There are sleeping bags available that provide protection from the cold down to thirty degrees. These sleeping bags weight as little as one pound and two ounces, and pack down to about the size of a softball.

You could choose MRE (meal ready to eat) such as those the army uses, which can be heated with a small can of Sterno. Should you choose to hunt, fish, forage, and cook on the trail, include cooking essentials made to be light weight and compact, specifically for hiking gear.

Clothing to include in your hiking gear depends on the season, climate, and duration of the hike. In summer, you really need basics like plenty of socks (wet ones tend to cause blisters) comfortable outer wear, boots, and any climbing accessories you might need. However, if you are hiking in cold weather, or climbing in high altitudes, you’ll need long underwear, light nylon shorts, a mid-weight fleece jacket, a light rainproof layer, gloves, hat, and accessories to suit the weather and your own needs. Extra hiking gear includes a headlamp, tool/knife, first-aid kit, compass, sunglasses, and sunscreen, and you’re good to go!


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