5 Hiking Essentials to Keep in Your Daypack
It can be difficult to gauge what and how much to bring on a hike, especially if it's one you've never done before. Having been hiking with WoA for a little over a year now, I've learned that there are a few daypack essentials (urinary devices included) that can come in handy on any hike—whether it's just for the morning or over several days.
This may seem like an obvious suggestion but it's easy to underestimate how much water you might need on a hike, especially if you live in a warmer climate. If you're going for an all day hike, a daypack with a bladder is the way to go (I bought this CamelBak on Amazon and it's still going strong a year's worth of hikes later). Access to water is also something to consider. If the hike you're planning doesn't have a reliable water supply, fill your bladder before you leave. You can also carry a filter or other water treatment in case the water sources available aren't treated.
It's important to replenish the energy your body burns on a hike. You don't want to weigh yourself down with food but keeping a few snacks high in protein in your daypack will help you regain those lost calories. Some of my favorite hiking snacks include beef jerky, trail mix, dried fruit, and granola bars. Theses kinds of salty snacks are lightweight but pack enough nutrition to refuel and reenergize your body while on the trail. It's also fun—and more cost effective—to bake your own snacks for the trail. Make a ladies' night of it.
- First Aid Kit
I've found that keeping a basic first aid kit (like this one from REI) in my daypack can come in handy. Most kits will include the basics like band-aids, gauzes, moleskins, and pain relievers. Just enough supplies to treat minor cuts and injuries and prevent any impending blisters. And a little tip for those hiking in the cacti-dwelling areas: add tweezers to your kit in case you need to remove any cactus spines.
- Sun Protection
Overexposure to the sun can come quicker than you think and poses more danger than just a sunburn. Carry plenty of sunscreen and wear plenty of (preferably light-colored) clothing to protect yourself from the sun. If you're like me and can't go twenty minutes without applying chapstick, get one with an SPF. I always make sure to wear sunglasses and some sort of hat, too. Heatstroke ain't no joke out here in Phoenix.
I think I actually laughed when Jenny asked me to write a review for GoGirl (a female urination device), but now it's become a permanent addition to my pack. Although I haven't had to use it on every hike, it's made a world of difference when I do have to go to the bathroom when there aren't any bathrooms available. No more uncomfortable squatting for this girl.
You will surely develop your own set of hiking essentials as you take on more trails, but hopefully these will give you a good place to start.