Below is the list of the Top 10 hiking essentials you may need to enjoy your hiking more. These, I think are essentials for your hiking equipment list. Starting with the all-important map. It’s OK having a good GPS system, but a map is extremely important, not only to plan your journey ahead but also a way of looking at the big picture. Your GPS unit should only be a backup for your map. Try to learn the basics of compass and map reading, it could well save your life. Anyway…onto the best-hiking accessories list.
Best Hiking Essentials No.1: A Good Detailed Map
Probably the most important part of any hikers equipment is a map! It’s best to get a really good detailed map that shows trails, inclines, forests, bogs, and terrain. You cannot beat the good old paper maps. The details of some maps are amazing and so easy to use. For example, for the UK the Ordnance Survey maps are available and they are very good. It uses the 1:25 scale (2.5 inches to 1 mile) and is a pleasure to read. I find myself reading such a map at home more than a good thriller! I carry one always, even though my GPS unit has them loaded on anyway. It’s always a good idea to look at the big picture sometimes! At well under a tenner from Amazon, they are a must!
Best Hiking Essentials No.2: Waterproof and windproof gloves
The outer extremities of your body suffer the most and it’s a good idea to get yourself a well-made pair of waterproof and windproof gloves. Don’t scrimp on paying a little extra. Some cheaper gloves will only last a few hikes and begin to split quickly. The North Face gloves are costly, but you know you will get a quality item that won’t let you down. It’s better to own two pairs, one for light use on chilly mornings and a thick pair of wintry hikes.
Best Hiking Essentials No.3: Walking Poles
Walking poles is also a good accessory to have! Some people use two, but two poles can be rather restricting than helpful. One is enough for most of the times. They help you balance and can be used as the third leg on difficult terrain. And if you are going to use a tarp instead of a tent, then a hiking pole can help you to set up your shelter especially when there are no trees around. Make sure you get a strong set (they usually come as a pair) that are adjustable to your height and walking gait. The Leki poles are good because I think they’re the strongest and also the telescopic adjustment system is easy to use.
Best Hiking Essentials No.4: Beanie Hat
There are dozens of them out there, but make sure you try to get one that’s waterproof. I can recommend you two, the North Face for colder days and a waterproof Sealskinz for showery days. Both work well, especially at the start of a hike. You can easily store them in your backpack when the weather improves. Personally, I have the SealSkinz hat and I really like, also I have SealSkinz socks that are waterproof.
Best Hiking Essentials No.5: Gaiters
If you going into a wet boggy area I recommend you to get them. No matter how careful you are when picking out your route in a boggy area, you always seem to step into a deep wet mass of soggy earth, sometimes going up to your knee and beyond. Gaiters can help you to not get your boots filled with the stuff! I can recommend you the Astra Depot Gaiters which has the reasonable quality and a good inexpensive price.
Best Hiking Essentials No.6: First Aid Kit
I only take out the very basic items of first aid when going on a short hike of 8 miles or less, such as plasters, scissors, antiseptic cream and a bandage. However, for a long hike, it’s better to take the full kit. I can recommend you this AidKit because it’s designed for many activities such as travel, surviving, sports. It has many customers reviews and good price.
Best Hiking Essentials No.7: Compass
OK, so you’ve got a super good feature-rich GPS unit you paid a fortune for, so why do you need a basic compass? Well, if your battery goes, or you’re in a thick forest and the satellite can’t see you, or you’re lost or it’s just packed up, then you’ll be glad you packed your compass. Try to learn at least the basics of using one with a map. It could save your life. They are also very cheap to buy and take up no space at all.
Best Hiking Essentials No.8: Flashlight
It’s surprising how many times I’ve had to use a flashlight. Many times, I’ve lingered far too long on a hike and got caught in the darkness. If you’re planning to sleep in a tent, flashlight is an essential. Get a good strong waterproof one that is small and very bright, and make sure you have a spare set of batteries with you if you are out all night. Camping Headlamps is a good alternative.
Best Hiking Essentials No.9: A good warm hat for cold conditions.
A good warm hat for the colder days of hiking. You lose a lot of heat from your head and one like this, a Bobble Hat, is ideal. It might not be to everyone taste and may look a little old-fashioned, but hey, when the wind is bitter and cutting through you like a knife, these beauties will keep your head and importantly, your ears, nice and warm.See Now at Amazon
Best Hiking Essentials No.10: Portable Water Filter
So if you are only on a shortish hike, a bottle of water of two should be sufficient for your hydration, but if you planning a hike into the deep wilderness and may be away for 2 or 3 days, then a water filter is an essential. You can’t just take a swig from a river or lake to replenish your thirst, oh no…it more than likely to have chemicals and some sort of nasty bacteria in there. A portable water filter may seem extreme, but remember, you can only live 3 days without clean water, so perhaps a water filter system like the Katadyn Vario on the left is a consideration.
Another good alternative and extremely popular among the hikers are the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter, this one doesn’t cost a lot and easy to use.
So there you have it. There are probably hundreds of things you can add to the list, but I feel these are the main ones. Please get in touch if you think other essentials should be on the list instead of the ones above. And of course, you will need a hiking daypack or backpack and depending on conditions – sun protective cream and/-or anti-mosquito spray.