By the Wild Women On Top Coastrek Team
If you’re new to hiking, it can be hard to know where to start when it comes to gear.
There are a few basic gear requirements for hiking, like good quality shoes and a pack. But once you've got your gear sorted, you need to think about what to carry and what not to carry on your hike. It's easy to go overboard when you’re packing for a trek. But you really don’t want to waste precious space on nice-to-have items. It adds unnecessary weight to your pack.
The items required for trekking will depend on what kind of hike or adventure you’re going on. Your pack on a multi-day trek will look different to your pack if you’re going on a light day hike. But here are a few essential items you should remember to pack when you’re preparing for a hike.
When it comes to hiking essentials for beginners, or veterans, a first-aid kit MUST be on your list. There’s no way around it. Should anything go wrong on the trail you need to be prepared for an emergency. Your personal first-aid kit should include a space blanket, triangular bandage, compression bandage, paracetamol, ibuprofen, Vaseline, Band-Aids, blister blocks and tampons. Only bring enough for your personal use and keep in a small dry bag.
Head torch (and spare batteries)
Whether you’re a beginner or a regular hiker, a good quality head torch and spare batteries should be on your trekking essentials list. Even if you’re not planning to hike at night, you need a head torch. It can get dark fast in the bush, and if you get lost or just distracted enjoying the sunset somewhere, you may need a torch to get home.
When it comes to head torches, you really do pay for what you get, so we recommend getting a good one that will last a while and give you strong, consistent light when you need it most. Make sure you bring spare batteries (in case your light runs out)!
Raincoat / waterproof jacket
Even if you’re a fairweather hiker, weather can turn – and fast. If you’re keen to get into hiking, you need a good fully waterproof and lightweight raincoat. That flimsy, plastic one you wore at school isn’t going to cut it on your trekking item list.
Your rain jacket needs air vents so your sweat doesn’t make you wet from the inside. It needs a hood. It needs to seal really well. And it needs to be your colour, girl! Nobody’s got time for a raincoat that doesn’t suit them! There are options for length (we prefer the ones that cover your bum, so you can sit down), fit, style, pockets, warmth, and weight, so find out what works for you!
Another absolutely essential item for your trekking list is snacks! Don’t settle for a packet of chips and a squashed banana. Pack snacks that are full of long-lasting energy and nutritious goodies to keep you going for longer. At Wild Women On Top, we’re all about gourmet food that is easy, delicious and nutritious. For a long hike or trek, you’ll need good quality snacks that are energy-dense but easy on the tummy. You can try out our SCROGGN – it's a great, healthy treat for the trail.
Whether you’re using water bladders or drink bottles, you need to bring water with you on your hike. It’s one of our walking essentials. Bladders encourage you to drink more but they do sometimes leak when you squeeze them into a full a pack. If you do get a bladder, make sure it’s good quality and has no holes or leaks.
We recommend a two-litre capacity plus two water bottles in most hiking circumstances (but this could vary depending on the climate conditions and how long you’re hiking for). The two water bottles should be 500mL capacity each.
We can hear your questions from here. Zip-lock bags? Really?
Zip-lock bags may seem insignificant but they can be a lifesaver on the trail and should be on your trekking item list. You can use them to hold snacks, your used pair of smelly socks, rubbish, sunscreen, lip balm, and any business you might need to do out on the trail (we’re all about leaving no trace, ladies!) You may not think you’ll need them, but you’ll never know when they’ll come in handy.
They may look funny, but hiking poles are seriously invaluable and if you’re interested in becoming a keen hiker, they’re a must-have on your trekking item list. Why? Because they redistribute weight in your body, helping to take pressure off your knees, hips, and ankles. They give you a great upper-body workout. They improve balance, and make crossing streams, scree, or slippery ice much easier. And they’re great for removing spider webs off the trail!
While your full trekking item list will look a little different, depending on where you’re hiking and how long you’re hiking for, this list gets you started on the walking essentials. To keep you safe, hydrated, energized, dry, and ready for an emergency.
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