Ready, Set, Hike!
Though you may think that going out for a day hike doesn't require many supplies, we still go with the "I'd rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it" philosophy. Erin's recent excruciating ankle blister on our walk to Frenchman's Bar is a perfect example of wishing we had been better prepared.
Really, anything can happen. Twist your ankle and need to wait for a ride in the open sun? You'll be glad you have snacks, water and even a blanket to sit on. Did the weatherman get it wrong? AGAIN? You'll be glad you have that sunscreen with you. The list goes on. And while you can't be prepared for everything at every time, we think there's a good basic list of hiking supplies and hiking snacks that can get you through most day hikes without starving or burning to a crisp. Here's what we take on our day hike adventures in the Pacific Northwest:
1. A Quality Backpack
A comfortable backpack that doesn't tug at your neck or hurt your lower back. Erin and I both carry Osprey packs. While neither of the packs we carry are water-proof, they are water-resistant and can stand up to the unexpected mist that the Pacific Northwest provides on a regular basis. Outer mesh pockets are perfect for your water bottle or other hiking supplies that require easy access. The adjustable straps and placement of the Osprey packs are great for anyone who tends to have neck or back pain.
If you're not going to pack anything else for your day hike, at least pack water. Sweat takes a lot out of you, and if you have a propensity to get dehydrated like I do (I've been to the emergency room three times in my life for dehydration -- it's no joke), it's just best to stay hydrated all day long. Walking up and down hills and taking big steps over tall grass can take a lot out of you. And if for some reason you get stuck, whether it's because you've taken a wrong turn or you've twisted an ankle and need to wait for a ride, water is going to be a necessity. Erin's fancy water bottle keeps liquids cool, even overnight.
If you've got allergies like me that come on without any notice because some random bloom is on the wind, tissues are a must. There's nothing more annoying than having to walk along snorting up the snot that's being pushed out of your nostrils by the allergy devil. DEVIL!
If you're lucky enough to not have to deal with allergies, bringing tissues along is still a good idea. You never know when you might need to tinkle in the woods. And drip-drying is just obnoxious. I don't like having my butt hanging out in some random forested area any longer than necessary.
4. Moleskin Blister Covers
Erin's recent encounter with a large, excruciating heel blister was lesson enough for us to remember to always bring some kind of blister solution with you. These moleskin covers do a great job of getting you through the rest of the hike until you can get home and give those heels some love.
5. Hand Sanitizer
I mean, when is this stuff ever a bad idea? Sometimes the sinks and soap dispensers in public bathrooms at parks can be more disgusting than the toilets. A tiny bottle of Purell or other sanitizer takes up little-to-no room in your pack, and the next time you stick your hand in something gross, you'll be glad you have it.
Your phone will do. The cameras on our phones are great these days and can be a great tool to snap some memories of a great hike with friends. But if you're obsessed with photography like Erin and I are, you'll want something mightier than what your iPhone offers.
When you're hiking in the Pacific Northwest, you never know when you'll come around the bend to a beautiful field of wildflowers, or a family of Osprey flying overhead. When these moments happen, you'll be glad you had something more than your phone. And if you're like me, hiking is the time to put your phone away anyway. Who wants distraction when you're in such a gorgeous place as this?
7. Erin's Kick-Ass Granola
While we do carry a cliff bar along on each hike as a backup in case of emergency, really what we love to bring along is Erin's delicious sweet and salty granola. Packed with nuts and dried fruit, it's the perfect snack for your hike, and it's really filling. Get the granola recipe here.
Yes, it's a sugary treat. But you've just walked 5 miles. Don't you deserve it? Besides, nothing will give you the burst of energy to get back to the car like a handful of delicious, processed, tooth-decaying bean-shaped happiness.
9. The Trusty Cliff Bar
It's true. They're yummy. And if you're like me, you've forgotten to bring something to eat so it's good that Erin has this in her bag for you. And really, anything with chocolate in it is ok in my book.
10. Justin's Almond Butter
If you're looking for job security, become a weatherperson in the Pacific Northwest. No matter how many times they get it wrong, they still seem to hang on to their jobs and integrity. WHY IS THIS? I don't know. But at any rate, they can't be trusted. Check the radar, and bring your sunscreen just in case.
12. A Really Really Good Hiking Book
You may arrive at what you think is the perfect hike, and find that a bridge is washed out or the trail is under construction. Or maybe the parking lot is so stuffed that you've got no choice but to find another option. Taking along a really solid hiking book will feel like a stroke of luck when you've got to find an alternate to your original hiking plan.
13. Picnic Blanket
How important is bringing a blanket with you on your day hike? Let us count the ways. The list is endless. For warmth. For a place to sit. For a place to lay down. To block the sun. Listing all the common sense reasons in this blog post would be idiocy, and also it's time for me to eat my lunch.
Our blanket-of-choice is this lightweight-yet-fluffy falsa blanket from Mtn & Moon. Check them out. We ordered ours on their website and it arrived 2 days later all wrapped up in cute packaging and with a free sticker which Erin immediately stuck to her water bottle. What is it with stickers? WHY ARE THEY SO FUN?!!!
So there you have it. Throw together most of these items and keep them in your pack at all times, and then top them off with everything else on the morning of your hike.
We'd love to hear from you!
Have we forgotten anything? What do you bring along on your day hikes? Leave your ideas in the comments section, below.