The Essential Hiking Gear Checklist

The Importance Of A Hiking Gear Checklist

Unless you have been hiking before, you will almost inevitably take too much on your first trip and will definitely not make the same mistake the next time. The most important tip I can give anyone who is about to construct their hiking gear checklist is to remember that they are going to have to carry all of their gear on their back for the whole duration of the hike, so weight limitation is key. Also, if you are likely to be using public transport to get to certain starting points, then you don't want to be struggling in confined spaces with a hugh pack getting in the way.

With this in mind, the following items need to appear on your hiking gear checklist:

1. Hiking boots – the best sort are waterproof, with flexible soles. Women, particularly, will find the lighter the better since really heavy boots can drag you down

2. Backpack – again, the lighter the better. You only need a relatively small pack for a day trip but a framed pack will be necessary for anything longer. Don't forget that you need to be able to locate all of your items quickly and easily, without unpacking your pack every time.

3. Clothing – whatever the weather it is always best to wear layers as these can be easily removed if you get too warm and quickly put back on again if it turns chilly. It is best to invest in a couple of pieces of specialist lightweight clothing that allow the body to breath and always have at least one long sleeved top to protect against sunburn and mosquitos.

4. Wool Socks – Wool is best for keeping feet warm and dry and most camping shops sell socks that are specifically for walking, they're also great for doubling up as gloves if the weather gets particularly cold.

5. Wet Weather Gear – again this is an essential item on your hiking gear checklist since you never know when you might get caught in a heavy shower. A Waterproof jacket is the minimum requirement, and waterproof pants are also recommended in case of extreme weather.

6. Hat – Essential for winter hiking since most of your body heat is lost from your head, and a cotton hat is ideal in summer for keeping the sun off the back of your neck

7. Water – Whatever time of year, water is essential. A washed out plastic lemonade bottle serves as a great water container and is light to carry when empty. Always have a couple of small bottles of water near the top of your pack that are easily accessible as well as a larger bottle.

8. Food and snacks – you need food to replace the calories that you are going to burn and ideally you need food that will give you energy. Start the day with a good breakfast, such as porridge which release energy slowly into your body and for snacking take along some fruit, such as bananas or trail mix which is a mixture of fruit and nuts. A sandwich or some ready cooked pasta followed by fruit would be ideal for lunch and a couple of squares of chocolate wil also give an instant energy burst.

9. Compass – make sure at least one person in your group has a compass

10. Flashlight – not only is this necessary in case darkness sets in before you get back, but it is essential to altert rescuers to your whereabouts if you get lost after nightfall.

These are the basics that you need to have on your hiking gear checklist but there are many other things you may consider taking, such as plastic bags for storing wet or dirty clothes, a Swiss Army Knife which has lots of useful functions, a camera and film, a whistle which can be a lifesaver for attracting attention, lip balm and sunglasses.

Hiking Gear Checklist --> Great Ocean Road Homepage

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