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To The Mountains! Equipment for Your First Hike

WORDS by Majo Gayou Aire Libre Member

Stepping outdoors for a day hike isn’t just about covering miles; it’s about reaping the profound mental and physical benefits that nature graciously offers. However, as any seasoned hiker knows, not all day hikes are created equal.In this guide, we’ll dissect the essential equipment for your first hike, tailoring our advice to the duration of your chosen adventure, all while factoring in variables such as trail conditions and weather. 


The key to a successful day hike lies in thorough preparation. As you pack for your adventure, consult this 5 essentials checklist to ensure that every crucial element finds its way into your backpack. So, lace up those boots, grab your gear, and let’s delve into the equipment for your first hike –where every step is an invitation to discover the great outdoors!

Hydration

For hydration, you can usually start with about 1 liter of water per person per hour, but adjust the amount depending on length and intensity of the hike, weather conditions, your age, sweat rate and body type. 


Backpack

For day hiking, a compact backpack is essential. Options for shorter hikes include a hands-free bottle sling or a small daypack for snacks and your phone. For longer excursions, consider a 10- to 20-liter daypack capable of carrying snacks, phone, extra layers, a first-aid kit, and other essentials.


Snacks

Fueling  your body is crucial. Pack lightweight, energy-boosting snacks like trail mix, granola bars, or dried fruits. Remember, a well-fed hiker is a happy hiker.


Navigation/Map

Know the route you plan to take. Remember that the more prepared you are, the better your experience will be. If you are in unfamiliar terrain, ensure you have at least one, preferably two, ways to stay oriented. Be cautious with smartphone apps in areas with poor or no cell service, as they may not function reliably.


First Aid Kit

Even when hiking on shorter treks or less challenging trails, make sure you’re carrying a first-aid kit. If you’re not carrying emergency supplies, make sure you have some in your car. Here’s a simple first aid kit suitable for your first hike: 

  • Adhesive bandages of various sizes for small cuts and blisters.
  • Antiseptic wipes or solution to clean wounds and prevent infection.
  • Pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain and inflammation.
  • Blister treatment like moleskin or blister pads for foot care.
  • Tweezers and small scissors for removing splinters or cutting bandages.
  • Compact emergency space blankets provide warmth in case of exposure.
  • Compact first aid manual, basic instructions for common injuries.
  • Compact whistle for signaling emergencies.

 

Remember, hiking is not a race; it’s a journey. Your first hike is not just a physical expedition; it’s an opportunity to connect with nature, discover your own rhythm, and savor the beauty that surrounds you. Nature’s wonders unfold at their own pace, and by taking the time to absorb the scenery, breathe in the crisp air, and relish the moments, you’ll find the true magic of the outdoors. With the right gear, every step becomes a stride toward a memorable adventure in the great outdoors.


Happy trails!


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