Read all about the Best Hiking Accessories including flashlights, water filters, dry bags, backpacks and more in this article my wonder friends.
Hiking is a fun outdoor activity that offers the opportunity to explore the natural beauty of the countryside while also getting good exercise.
Almost every nation on earth has somewhere reachable only by hiking, such as Torres del Paine in Chile or the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal and making preparation for hiking is an essential part of travel for those who want to explore the secluded places, the locales surrounded by nature, and nothing else.
This list will make sure you are prepared with all the equipment you need, along with some optional extras that will make hiking more convenient.
Always bring a water bottle. Regardless of where you are hiking, you are almost guaranteed to start sweating as the hike progresses.
Dehydration can be incredibly dangerous if left untreated and allowed to progress to its later stages, and if you are out in the wilderness without a reliable source of water, you will want to bring along plenty of your own.
Nalgene offers several quality water bottles with varying colors and sizes, allowing for flexibility in your water capacity. Going on a short hike for about an hour? Nab one of their 24oz bottles.
Expecting to be on the trail from sunup to sundown? Bring one of their 48oz bottles. If you are not sure how much water to bring, opt to bring more rather than less.
Pack a camera. Phones often double as cameras these days, and they are getting better at snapping pics all the time, though they still cannot compare to a high-grade camera.
Or if you decide to leave your phone behind for a more disconnected experience, you can always bring along a disposable camera and get the film developed after you return from your trip.
There are also cameras designed specifically to be taken on the trail, such as the Olympus Tough TG-6. Though it carries a rather hefty price tag, it justifies its price with durability, water resistance, as well as resilience against cold temperatures down to -10 degrees Fahrenheit.
If a rugged camera does not catch your eye, then you can always opt for a disposable camera or just a cheaper camera that is not designed with the extremes in mind.
Hiking Camera Strap
If you are going to bring a camera on a hike, it would be wise to bring along a strap for your camera. This lets you keep your camera close at hand without having to always keep it in your grasp.
The type of strap you should bring depends on the type of camera you have, and some cameras come with a strap included. If you find yourself without a strap, however, then check out Art Tribute on Amazon.
They carry a variety of camera straps at affordable prices which is especially helpful if you just shelled out hundreds of dollars for a rugged hiking camera.
This one might seem obvious, but if you are going hiking, then you are probably going to need a pair of hiking boots. The specification of your boot depends on where you intend to hike but finding boots that are water-resistant or waterproof is usually top on the list of criteria when seeking out hiking footwear.
There is nothing worse than trudging along with wet feet, made worse by the blisters that will inevitably form if you do not quickly get dried out. Make sure to break in your hiking boots before going on a trek, or you are not going to be a happy camper. Boots can be found at many camping supplies stores such as REI or the Bass Pro Shop, though outlet retailer L.L. Bean also has high-quality boots on offer.
A good pair of hiking boots from any of these stores can cost you well over one hundred dollars, but if you treat them well they will last you for years.
Insoles for Hiking
If you find that you are not able to afford the newest hiking boots, or if you happen to buy a pair second-hand, then a pair of hiking insoles are a good supplementary purchase to make.
The insoles offer additional support that might be found lacking in many pairs of hiking boots both for your arches, as well as additional support for your feet in general.
There are many types of insoles designed for the different shapes and types of feet that people have, though Tread Labs has a very wide selection of insoles on offer for both men and women as well as varying sizes to match your specific type of arch.
Tread Labs also has a lifetime guarantee on their insoles, meaning that if you wear them out or break them, they will send you a new set free of charge.
Sunscreen is essential for almost any outdoor activity, even if it does not appear to be that sunny, harmful ultraviolet radiation is still passing through the cloud cover and damaging your skin.
Protect yourself with a high SPF sunscreen and hourly reapplication. Check some of the best biodegradable sunscreens for travel here.
Bring along some Aloe Vera as well, as sometimes being sunburned is inevitable.
There are a lot of bugs outside, and none are more prolific than the mosquito.
While these annoying bugs are relatively harmless in the United States and other developed nations, lesser developed nations carry a larger risk of insect-borne infections such as Malaria or Dengue fever, with mosquitoes being able to carry both tropical maladies.
While less of a concern in colder climates, it is still good to have on hand as a regular addition to your hiking gear.
It is always best to plan your hikes during clear weather, but weather can often be unpredictable, and you might find yourself in the middle of an unexpected shower while out on the trail.
It is probable that you already have a raincoat that you use regularly but it might be a good idea to invest in one that is more lightweight, as that reduces your packing burden and makes for an easier hike.
Marmot offers a nice selection of both male and female raincoats, and at a relatively fair price as well.
Map and Compass
Make sure to pack a map and compass along with your other gear.
Unless you happen to have a photographic memory, you will likely need to reference a map when making your way along an unfamiliar trail.
This is less of a concern if you are being led on a guided tour hike, but if you are hoofing it solo then bringing navigational equipment is a must or you risk becoming lost or stranded out in the wilds.
It is always helpful to have a little bit of trail food to nibble on if you find yourself feeling peckish.
There are many options for what to bring along as a snack on the trail, with the appropriately named ‘trail mix’ happening to serve as the best mixture of protein-filled nuts and carbohydrate-filled candies.
There are numerous brands and types of trail mix for almost all dietary types such as gluten-free, sugar-free, and peanut-free.
Kirkland Signature Trail Mix is a hit among more experienced hikers, and a must-have if you are on a longer hike.
If your hiking trip is going to last more than a few days, or if you anticipate the possibility of finding yourself getting wet, then bring several extra pairs of socks and keep them in a waterproof bag of some kind so they will stay reliably dry.
There is nothing worse than hiking in wet socks, especially once the moisture begins to cause blisters to form on your feet.
Wool socks are the best kind to wear while hiking as they keep your feet warm while also keeping them from getting too hot and can offer a decent amount of cushion alongside your hiking insoles.
Backpacks are a staple of hiking and an essential piece of equipment unless you intend to carry all your belongings in your arms. Depending on the length of your hike, and how much you intend to take with you, your backpack can range from a simple drawstring bag to a more robust backpack.
Osprey offers many backpacks designed for both men and women, as well as backpacks for short day trips alongside those for longer excursions. For men, there is the Osprey Atmos AG 65 Men’s Backpacking Backpack, and for women, there is the Women’s Osprey Ariel AG 65 Pack.
These are both relatively expensive, sitting at over two hundred dollars, but if you treat them well then they can last for years and are worth every cent. If you are looking for a smaller pack, then the Osprey Daylite Plus Daypack is for you.
LifeStraw Water Filter
A LifeStraw water filter is a wonderful tool to bring on long-term, multi-day hikes.
Water can be scarce when on a long-term hike, clean water even more so. Boiling water to cleanse it of bacteria and other micro-organisms also takes time to perform and does not remove larger physical debris like dirt or microplastics.
Likewise, some other filters only deal with these larger forms of water debris, leaving the bacterial invaders to attack your insides.
LifeStraw’s personal water filter handles both issues in one compact package, while only costing $19.95. The filter is very light at only 2oz and each purchase helps LifeStraw provide clean drinking water to children in need.
This item is a must-have on long-term hiking excursions where the purity of available water is suspect.
Sometimes when you are out in the woods, the only thing you want to do is start a fire, especially if you are hiking through a particularly chilly environment or getting ready to cook a meal.
Matches are single-use little sticks with combustible material on the end, while a lighter can be used many times as long as it has fuel, and its igniter is working properly.
You will want to keep both matches and lighters in waterproof bags, as water tends to dampen their effectiveness. It is also wise to keep them in separate bags in case your lighter is accidentally triggered.
Coleman offers high-quality lighters and matches, as well as other equipment for camping in nature.
If you plan on carrying tech with you while you hike, you may want to invest in a waterproof bag.
This can range from a simple Ziploc bag to something a bit fancier. Osprey offers a lightweight waterproof bag to store your valuables in if a sudden rainstorm begins or you are hiking around bodies of water or even a leak from your water bottle happens to start seeping into your backpack.
Look at their Ultralight bag if you want to keep your important items dry.
First Aid Kit
Even when being careful, injuries can still occur, making it wise to carry a first aid kit of some kind with you while you are hiking.
You can either assemble one yourself, making sure to bring essentials like bandages, moleskin, and other important medical items, or you can purchase one that had already been fully assembled.
This option tends to be much more convenient, with the American Red Cross selling a deluxe first aid kit for only twenty-five dollars.
If you do not happen to live in America, you can likely find similar products for sale on Amazon, and failing that, your local grocery store should have most if not all the equipment needed in a first aid kit.
Do not forget your flashlight. Hiking usually takes place during the day, but if you plan to trek out after dark, or your trail takes you through some musty caverns, having a flashlight is a must.
It is a good idea to bring both a handheld and a head-mounted flashlight, for both versatilities as well as having a backup in case the batteries in your main light happen to die while you are still in the dark.
REI has several handhelds and head-mounted flashlights on offer, and a quick peek on Amazon will reveal dozens of different colors and styles for you to choose from.
Last but not least, bring a tripod so you can take photos of yourself during your hike.
The best part? A sturdy tripod can also double as a walking stick in case you start to get tired. Best of both worlds, right?
After all, you don’t want to end your hike and end up with only selfies do you? Stay tuned for a future article in Journey Wonders about the best travel tripods soon.
Hiking is a fun activity, but also one that takes a decent amount of preparation to be enjoyed to its fullest.
Hopefully, this list will help you pack for your next trek, and maybe even lead you to a new piece of gear that enhances your hiking experience. Happy trails!
Catalin Geangos is the Founder and Editor of TravelTrained and a travel blogger who mainly focuses on nightlife, pub crawls, and party experiences while traveling in Southeast Asia.