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Essential Items NOT To Forget When Hitting The Trails

When hiking, camping, or adventuring the outdoors, you always need to be prepared. If not for an emergency, just for the day! Leaving for a hike without these essentials is like driving to work without shoes or your ID, it just doesn’t make sense.

The point of these hiking essentials is to be fully prepared for the day ahead. They will ensure your safety, comfort, and basic needs. Food, water, and shelter are what every human being requires to live comfortably, and these essentials do just that. These hiking essentials are the minimum gear you need to keep you comfortable, warm, hydrated, safe, and, most of all, prepared.



This one is self-explanatory I would hope, but it surprises me how often I am hiking with a friend who has forgotten their water bottle in their car or at home. Even if you’re planning on just a small hike that is maybe an hour total, ALWAYS bring water. You never know what circumstances may arise, and you will never regret having a water bottle or pack with you. My favorite water bottle for day-hiking is Western Owl’s Vacuum Insulated Water Bottle. It has a removable fruit infusion rod inside so you can fill it with your favorite fruit to give your water a delicious taste. Plus, you’ll have a yummy snack for when you finish! 

Keep in mind, the average human should consume 8 cups or roughly two liters of water per day. Because this is the minimum amount, you should be consuming much more when hiking, because you are sweating. Furthermore, you should be prepared to have enough water for one extra day. 


Next, food is definitely another huge priority. In my case, I need food pretty frequently before I get crabby. I consider this an emergency situation but to each their own. The biggest thing you need to consider is that when you’re hiking, you burn A LOT of calories. When you’re hiking, you should be eating enough calories to energize your body enough for the entire trip. Because of this, be sure to plan your meals on the trail (and after) accordingly. Great trail food includes fruit, veggies,  sandwiches, trail mix, dried fruit, jerky, and energy bars.

Energy bars are one of my favorite ways to get a ton of extra energy on the trail. 


Always prepare accordingly for the sun and remember you can get sunburnt on a cloudy day. Also, don’t forget to reapply on longer hikes! A sunhat and sunglasses are also a must. 

Pocket Knife


Pocket Knives are incredibly useful little tools! The best style of pocket knife for hiking is an all-purpose multi-tool pocket knife like the famous Swiss Army Knife. The reason these are so useful is that they have a blade, saw, scissors, can opener, and much more (as you probably know). If you do prefer to carry a larger knife, it is best to carry a larger knife plus this tool to ensure diversity in usage.

Map and Compass

These two useful tools are now being used less often but are incredibly important. Again, these are usually used in emergency situations but if you’re hiking on less popular trails, they will come in handy. Remember, you will most likely not have service on your phone and your battery can die quite quickly when it is attempting to search for a signal in the mountains. Be sure to have a properly scaled map of the area you are in. This means that the map will cover a large enough area for you to see the neighboring land and your entire trail, but have enough detail that you can understand where you are at.

Matches and a Fire Starter

Matches and fire starter are two incredibly easy, cheap, and lightweight items to throw in your backpack. You should always pack your food and clothing according to weather conditions, the matches and fire starter should be planned only for emergency conditions (and overnight trips, of course).

First Aid Kit

A first aid kit is a necessity on the trail. Someone is going to need it. If not from your group, you will come across someone else on the trail looking for a band-aid. Be sure to choose a first aid kit that is going to last some time and has enough diversity in options that you can care for most outdoor-related injuries. You can always put together your own kit, but starting with a pre-made outdoor kit is usually the best way to start. Tip: After you purchase and/or put together your first aid kit, be sure to add any prescriptions and extra over the counter medications you or your hiking partners may need on the trail. Here is a list we usually bring: Pepto Bismol, Tylenol, aspirin, Benadryl, tums, and cold medicine. If you’re hiking with children, you will probably need a bit extra. Other items you might want to add to your kit: an emergency blanket, soap, hand sanitizer, feminine hygiene products, chapstick, gloves, tissues, duct tape, and toilet paper.

Extra Clothing

You want to always be prepared for a change in the weather. Depending on where you are, weather can change from a sunny day to a downpour pretty quickly, especially in the mountains. With extra clothing, you should be packed according to the seasons. For example, if you will be hiking in the summer in a desert region, pack for colder temperatures and extreme heat. But, if you’re hiking in the winter in areas that could potentially receive snow, pack a snow jacket. Layering your clothing is a great technique that can be adapted to whatever colder temperatures are occurring with the addition or subtraction of a layer.


You may think you will be getting back before the sun sets but you never know what could happen on the trail. And of course, flashlights will be essential to overnight trips!

*This content has been provided and sponsored by Roman Trail*

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