Now that spring is officially here, many outdoors enthusiasts are ready to strap into their boots and hit the trails. Before you do, make sure you have everything you need to have fun and be safe for your hike. Here is a checklist of must-have items before setting out:
- The right clothing: Check the weather and make sure you are dressed appropriately. Bring along a waterproof later and an extra pair of socks just in case. As always. dressing in layers is the best way to ensure you're comfortable.
- Navigation: If you're setting off an an unfamiliar trail, a map is an absolute must, though you should get in the habit of carrying one at all times, even if you know your path well. A GPS and a compass will also help ensure you don't get lost.
- Fuel: Always bring along a water bottle or hydration pack with enough water for your planned hike. A water filter or other kind of treatment system is also an important tool in case you are out for longer than you expect. Also, keep a couple of granola bars or other easy-to-carry snacks with you at all times.
- Light: A flashlight or headlamp is always a good item to have on hand – just make sure it's got plenty of battery life.
- Emergency supplies: As always, keep a first-aid kit in your bag at all times. It will come in handy for everything from bandages for small cuts and wraps for rolled ankles to gauze pads for more serious wounds. A fire starter kit is also handy in case of an emergency.
- Security: Whether you're bringing your valuables with you on the trail or leaving them behind in the car at the trailhead, it's important to make sure they're secure at all times. A portable safe is the perfect solution for electronics, important papers or small firearms.