Plunge right into summer with a hike. The positive results are almost instant — fresh air (fill your lungs), peace (take in the silence), exercise (so satisfying) and simply taking the time to sneak away from the daily grind. So, slather your kids (and yourself) with sunscreen, lace up those old boots, swing your backpack on and set out for an adventure!
Originally compiled in the 1930s by the Seattle-based The Mountaineers, this list of 10 hiking essentials continues to be relevant today, whether day hiking or heading out on an overnight backpacking trip. Although you may never use all of these items, being prepared for minor injuries, sudden weather changes and unexpected circumstances can save your life in an accident or emergency.
Prior to venturing out, be sure to check the weather, watch for potential hazards (wildfire, flooding, high winds, etc.) in the area and always let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return.
Consider these 10 hiking essentials for your pack:
Map and Compass
Topographic maps and a compass should be carried as a back-up to any battery powered device (GPS, cell phone, etc.). Don't know how to read a map or use a compass? Often local outdoor retailers or hiking clubs will host free classes.
Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park (Karen Anderson, Share the Experience)
Think high-energy food such as protein bars, nuts and jerky. Have an extra day's supply on-hand.
Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (Recreation.gov)
Plenty of water and water-purifying tablets or a filtering system are a must.
Glacier National Park (Matthew Petro, Share the Experience)
A rain jacket, beanie and an extra pair of socks can go along way when the going gets tough.
Emigrant Wilderness (Sarah Gustafson, Share the Experience)
Sunscreen (for lips too). Hat and protective clothing. Sunglasses.
Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness (BLM)
Multi-Tool and Pocketknife
Useful in emergency situations for first aid, quick fixes and even food prep. Think about including durable, lightweight nylon cord too or duct tape.
A multi-tool and/or pocketknife may be useful in an emergency situation or for a quick fix. (Recreation.gov)
Waterproof matches are a good place to start. Also, have some tinder on hand — there are many creative ideas online for DIY tinder.
Gallatin National Forest (Zack Clothier, Share the Experience)
Headlamp or Flashlight
Headlamps are preferred as they allow for hands-free movement. Include extra batteries too.
Inyo National Forest (Charlie Kessner, Share the Experience)
Space Blanket and Shelter
If you are ever stranded overnight, or find yourself in cold temps, having these compact, lightweight coverings is crucial.
Yellowstone National Park (Stephen Newport, Share the Experience)
First Aid Kit
Your kit can prove invaluable if you or a member of your group suffers a cut, burn, bee sting or allergic reaction. Tailor your kit to your family's special needs.
Our editor, Malia, carries this first aid kit on her many adventures — from climbing peaks to camping. (Recreation.gov)