Ever wondered where you could get Hermione Granger’s mole skin pouch from the Harry Potter series for your hiking activities? Have you wished at least once to learn and use her undetectable extension charm on your 40-liter backpack so it could carry all your necessities and outdoor stuff? Can you finally say that you are now nailing what used to be an endless problem of what to bring up the mountains and what does not need to be added to your load?
Some mountain climbers bring as minimal as just a bottle of water for a day hike while some would endure the weight on their backs just making sure that if humanity disappears to dust while they’re atop Mount Kinabalu, they can survive and restart civilization with their cooking pots, utensils and other “glamping” equipment. Judgments aside, it will be hard to put together your very own list of outdoor essentials by asking advice from different types of backpackers. To make the tedious process easier, we give you the middle ground. Here are some of the hiking paraphernalia that you absolutely must bring and prioritize when filling up your bag for a hike.
Water is possibly the most important thing you should have in your load. You can’t always trust that there will be somewhere to buy this from on your journey, neither can you expect that liquid from bodies of water you will pass by on your climb is safe to drink. Worst, you cannot expect to not bring your own water because somebody else will share theirs with you.
Needless to say, you got to bring your own shelter. Typically, a hiker would have his own tent, but if you’re trekking with your buddy, as long as there are no issues, maybe you can share a tent for two. This will save you both some space in your backpack. Others would efficiently bring a hammock instead and tie them up to trees strong enough to carry their weight.
Compass, because it’s small and it won’t need too much space from your trekking bag. While modern hikers nowadays climb in groups following an organized trail, it’s still safe to have this handy and useful device for if in case you get lost and separated from the gang.
Headlamp or flashlight because who’s not afraid of the dark in the middle of the forest? Won’t hurt to bring spare batteries, too. Also, a completely-sealed, waterproof case for these items could be the very thing to save your life and sanity in an overnight hike during the rainy season.
If you need to spend the night at the camp site, why not throw in a box of matches or a reliable lighter in the waterproof bag, too?
Sunscreen, and not just for the women. Guys, no one’s going to think less of you by taking the great sun’s UV rays seriously. Still thinking a layer of sunblock on your skin is gay? Then make sure to wear a cap or a hat plus a long-sleeved top on your two-way vertical walk. You probably do not want melanoma to get in the way of your adventures and fun, right?
Even during the summer season, it can feel cold during the night with nothing that comes in between you and the grassy earth but a thin earth pad. Brace yourself for a chilly night and an even chillier morning and make room for a jacket or a sleeping bag to keep you from freezing.
First aid kit because you don’t know what may happen while you’re too far away from town and a few thousand meters above sea level. Don’t worry because we’re not talking about oxygen tanks or your very own medicine cabinet at home. Just a few antiseptic wipes, little ointment and some bandages for the very inevitable scratches and wounds while up there. If you are quite the sensitive person to outdoors, do not hold off on antihistamines and sting relief, too. Blisters can also be unavoidable from all the walking you will be doing so better pack a blister treatment. Lastly, a few little tablets of pain relief for when you (or someone else) needs it badly.
If you are training to be Bear Grylls, you must keep a multi-purpose little knife with you. Not a fan of Bear Grylls? Still bring a knife with you for the limitless possible situations where you will need to use one. Haven’t you thought about why a knife (or in some cases, a bolo) is always the first thing Survivor gives its contesting tribes?
As for footwear, if you budget your backpack space well, you will be able to fit in a pair of sandals for your trip home and for crossing lakes and rivers. The last thing you want to do is annoy fellow hikers with wet, smelly socks and shoes after a long climb, yes?
As exhausting a whole day ascent can be, better not to expect to cook a thick slice of steak with half a plate of mashed potatoes on the side for your dinner. Remember that you are out there and playing keep-away with your usual comforts while trying to carry as little and light as possible. Maybe a canned food or two will do. You can make up with your food intake once you are back home anyway.
Now that you have used up your space and load well, you can reward yourself with a few cans of beer or a bottle of rum to add to your pack. You can tuck these in your rolled jacket or sleeping bag to make sure they survive your every move.
Come to think of it, you don’t need a huge 65-liter outdoor bag. You will also not break your back by bringing a few more things other than water. You just need to make space for just what you will absolutely need. Less worrying about packing is more time enjoying. See you out there!