Hiking can be incredibly fun, but not if you forget one of those essential items on which you rely. Neither is it fun if your pack weighs too much and you are uncomfortable for the entire hike, constantly having to put your pack down to give your back time to rest. To help you plan what gear to pack, I have developed two categories…The light fun pack and the moderate luxury pack. Being able to bounce around the wilderness with little to care about always make for a better trip.
Light Fun Pack
- Moderate sized pack– Something like the Marmot Ultra Kompressor for 89.00. Of course, you can always spend more money, but for a low moderate price this will suffice.
- MSR pocket rocket fuel stove- This is light and compact and will allow you to cook some hot food in the cool hours of the day. Most places anymore don’t allow for camp fires, especially National Parks. Make sure to carry this with you so that you can cook your food.
- Hydra pack and water filter- Make sure to take a hydra pack and attach it to your pack. Also bring a water filter for when you run out and also for cooking food, although boiling your water on your stove can work also (though this does not get out debris).
- Food– For food I suggest Mountain House envelopes- My favorite for dinner is Beef Stroganoff and they have many options for breakfasts. These are light weight and easy to pack. Smash down a loaf of bread and add some beef jerky for lunch. The carbs from the bread will give you that much needed energy boost during the afternoon. For snacking make your own trail mix. I often despise much of the ready made kinds (I hate raisins) so I add craisins and different nuts like peanuts and almonds to my mix. Try adding Dry Roasted Edamame, their good in a mix and they contain huge amounts of protein.
- Sleeping Bag– If you can afford it get an ultra light one that weighs under two pounds. Also plan for at least ten degrees rating under what your low temperature will be where you are hiking. So if it will get down to 35 degrees where you will be then get at least a 25 degree rating.
- Sleeping Mat- Obtain one that is as light as possible and will deflect the most heat. This isn’t as much for comfort from the hardness of the ground as much as the preservation of heat while you sleep. Strap this onto the outside or top of your pack if you can to preserve packing space.
- Flashlight- With the abundance of high powered and compact flashlights this is something you can easily fit into your bag or jacket pocket.
- First Aid Kit- You may be only gone for a night, but be warned these always come in handy.
- Extra socks and undies- You never know when you may get wet so always pack extra of these essentials. Also make sure to wear two pairs of socks when you hike. This will help to prevent blisters on your feet.
- Knife– Always make sure to bring a blade. This can assist you in all sorts of situations.
- Lighter and Fire Starter- You will need this for igniting your stove and also in case of emergency.
- Jacket and Map- Make sure to pack your rain jacket and map or navigation device.
- Fun Stuff- Don’t forget a book and bring whatever else with which you might like to relax.
- Tent- Try using a one man tent, bivy sack or if your are already cramped for room an SOL Escape light Bivy.