Hiking will do a lot for your physical and mental health.
On the physical side, it helps to reduce your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and lower high cholesterol. Hiking can also improve your mental health by simply spending time outdoors.
A study done by researchers at Stanford University found that being outdoors helps to reduce stress, anxiety, and even lowers the risk of depression.
It’s not hard to see why it’s easy to fall in love with day hiking, especially when you can go with friends or family and spend quality time, taking in the sites together.
If this is your first time hiking, you’ll want to take some of the following items with you.
1. Hiking Backpack
A hiking backpack is specially designed to be comfortable while you trek through trails.
You’ll want to make sure that you pack it with your essentials. The perfect size will depend on the duration of your trip and the things you’ll need to carry.
If you’re going for a longer, more difficult hike you’ll want to go with a larger bag. Since you’re just starting out, a smaller backpack will work out fine.
If you’re consistent you’ll be going for longer hikes and you’ll know when you need to upgrade your backpack.
When dressing for your hike, be sure to dress according to the weather conditions. During a hot sunny day, you’ll want to dress in moisture-wicking or quick-drying tops and bottoms.
If you prefer cargo-style hiking shorts, you’ll want to be sure they’re comfortable and allow plenty of movement. The minimalist belt for outdoorsmen is a favorite because it allows for optimal movement while making sure your cargo shorts or pants stay put no matter how rough the trail may be.
Because weather conditions often change, you should also pack a lightweight jacket. You may encounter some large puddles along the trail that you can’t avoid so be sure to bring some extra socks should they get wet, along with an extra set of clothing that you can change into should something unexpected happen such as pouring rain or going for an unexpected swim in the lake at the end of the trail. You never know what kind of adventure you’ll find in nature.
Even if you are going on an easy hike, you should always pack plenty of snacks with you. You’ll be surprised at how many calories you burn on those trails. Snacks such as energy bars, beef jerky, and trail mix are all healthy snacks to enjoy.
If you plan to have lunch during your hike, a sandwich is perfect because it’s lightweight to pack and will fill you up. You’ll also want to bring plenty of water with you to keep you hydrated especially during a warmer day.
4. First Aid Kit
You never know what you will come across on a trail so it’s best to stay prepared. A first aid kit with the basics should be sufficient.
Whether you get a scrape from tripping along the way or run into an allergic reaction to a plant or an insect bite, you’ll want to have the right medications and tools to help you.
There are pre-made first aid kits specifically designed for hiking so be sure to always pack it in your backpack before you take off.
Other items to bring with you are sunscreen whether the sun is beating or it’s a gloomy day. The UV rays from the sun are always around so you should always protect your skin.
Insect repellent is another item you’ll want to use to protect your skin. A pair of sunglasses is a must to protect your eyes as well as a hat. If you plan on eating along the trail, be sure to bring some hand sanitizer or alcohol wipes.
This is a basic list for the beginner. As you get more and more into it, you’ll notice your hikes going longer so you’ll want to add more items to your list.
For now, enjoy this beginner stage and be proud of yourself for doing something new and healthy.
About The Author:
Angie is a WAHM and a California native that is now raising her 2-year-old son in a city between the mountains of Utah. In her downtime, she writes posts about her new role as a mother, wife, and her escapes back to her home state which you can find on her blog at http://lavidamom.com/