What to pack on a hiking trip
HEADING OFF ON A HIKING TRIP?
Along with obvious items such as waterproofs, boots and maps, don’t forget these invaluable essentials.
LAYERS AND MERINO WOOL
Walkers often endure strange fluctuations in temperature: it might be bone-chillingly cold, but plodding up that steep hill is still going to cause perspiration. The answer is easily dispensable layers. Fleeces and merino wool jumpers are especially good bets for the outer garment, as both are lightweight and unlikely to take up much room in your pack.
UV protection is vital; by walking all day and in open, exposed spaces, trekkers are
especially prone to sunstroke and sunburn. Re-apply it every two hours.
No one likes having wet feet, and even the best waterproof boots can struggle to keep out water from bogs and swamps. The solution is to carry a spare pair of socks. Merino wool is recommended: in sock form, it can be worn for several days without getting smelly or blister-happy.
Will you be eating out during the evenings? Mud-splashed trousers and boots might not be the most suitable attire. Be sure to have a few shirts or skirts plus a pair of nicer shoes should you need to scrub up.
These fulfil two functions. Firstly, as ‘stuff bags’, they can be used to compress air from clothing and other items, freeing up packing space. The other role involves a more traditional use: a segregated space for dirty undies. Bring a garbage bag, too, as a last resort against rain.
HAT AND GLOVES
Basics, right? You’d be surprised how many people forget these when heading to a mostly balmy country, and thereby risk freezing on high-altitude or seaside sections. Finger-grip windstopper gloves allow you to still use GPS devices or turn map pages without removal, while a beanie hat is the easiest headgear to pack.
Water bottles are a must, while muesli bars and nuts help keep up energy. The wisest walkers also bring a daily chocolate bar – at times when fatigue is setting in, a sugar jolt can work wonders.
Head and hand torches (plus batteries), a whistle and a penknife all make sensible additions. Better still is a bivouac shelter, in case you get badly lost and must sleep al-fresco. Most vital, however, is a first-aid kit to treat cuts, plant stings and blisters.
Being prepared for the unexpected can make all the difference while trekking
Plan and pack well to maximise the rewards of a walking holiday