The Essentials Needed for Backpacking and Hiking

by Shawn Stanley

Backpacking and hiking are two of the most thrilling choices in outdoor activities. These sports are being chosen by more and more people every year as a means of relaxation and physical fitness. Even families are getting in to the backpacking and hiking action. But, for the newer backpacking or hiking person, there are a few items that are required to stay safe and secure while backpacking.

Sun Protection. Sun protection is very important when backpacking or hiking. Sun protection comes in several forms and all need to be covered. The skin is the first line of protection against the sun while backpacking or hiking, sunscreen should be waterproof and offer an SPF of at least 30. The second area to protect while backpacking or hiking are the eyes. The sun can be bright and cause sudden spots of blindness, which is something that is never needed when backpacking or hiking. Sunglasses and an extra pair or two, should always be packed.

Safety First. Many people forget about safety when backpacking or hiking, but there can be problems and when there are, a whistle can help. Depending on where you are backpacking or hiking, a whistle with no "pea" (the small ball in the center) may be the best choice. If the backpacking or hiking is taking place during cold months, the "pea" could freeze. Along those same lines, a plastic whistle will be sure to never stick to your lips in the cold.

Water, water and more water. Many beginning backpacking or hiking people think the water they need to take is always in the liquid form. But, that is not the best choice when trying to keep your pack light. Today there are many water filtration systems that can filter anything and everything from the water. These are perfect to use as a backup when the liquid of life has run out when backpacking or hiking.

Starting a fire. For those overnight trips, a firestarter or set of waterproof matches are ideal for a little warmth and a warm meal. But, many backpacking and hiking trips are only day trips and the backpacking and hiking team feel they may not need these things. One the contrary, as a safety measure, every member should include a way to start a fire in their packing essentials.

First aid out of doors. A first aid kit is needed for every pack. Backpacking and hiking takes places in environments that can lead to cuts, bruises and other forms of injuries. A first aid kit in every backpack can help to ensure the safety and health of all backpacking and hiking team members. Within these first aid kits should also be a pocket knife and a pocket tool set.

Don't get lost. Getting lost is one of the worst feelings of all time. A compass and a map can help to keep all backpacking and hiking team members on the right trail throughout the trip. These two essentials are the ones that are forgotten a lot of times when packing the bundles for the trip. Every member of the backpacking and hiking team should have access to a compass and map.

Hiking and backpacking are great ways to get a little physical activity and become better acquainted with nature and life outside. Together as a team, the backpacking and hiking group needs to make sure that every pack includes these essentials as a base and build the pack from there.

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