When going on your hiking adventure, besides your goodwill and energy, there are several things you need to take with you. If we assume that you’re going hiking in an unexplored area, you simply have to be prepared for what comes along.
The Super Important Essential
A Sleeping Bag
Besides the most essential stuff like food, water, a map, a knife and a torch, don’t forget to get a sleeping bag bag, because sleeping under the stars is best done when you’re super warm and comfortable. Many people often forget to include this must-have item in their essentials list, but it’s a practical and smart thing to have with you on your hiking adventure.
There are a couple of things to consider when looking for sleeping bags Australia wide.
These sleeping bags are a bit pricy but they’re durable. The downs are from geese and ducks; a great part of the filling is a mix of downs and feathers. The richer the bag is with downs, the more expensive it will be.
This one is compact and easy to handle. It’s affordable but not as warm at night, so it might not be the best choice if you go hiking in colder weather.
It’s great for humid weather.
If you choose a wool sleeping bag bag, you’ll enjoy a good night’s sleep in a super cozy bag. These goodies can absorb moisture without losing anything from the insulating effect. Wool sleeping bags aren’t very lightweight and might absorb moisture (make sure to use them only if you know the area is dry and there won’t be rain).
Synthetic and down are the two types of insulation. Synthetic bags are versatile and can store head even in damp weather. Goose down is lighter and will keep you warm in cold dry weather. The weather will dictate what type of sleeping bag you need. If you’re a winter camper, go with goose down; spring and summer campers are better off with synthetic sleeping bags.
Mild & Cold Temperatures
When the temperature is higher than 25 degrees, you’ll need a breathable sleeping bag to avoid sweating. Down ones are great because they absorb moisture. However, for colder temperatures and windy weather, you’ll need something to keep you warm the entire time. Downs are great for this and are easy for carrying. However, since they absorb moisture, you’ll have to air dry them often.
Size & Shape
The sleeping bag should fit you well, otherwise, you won’t be able to sleep. It should perfectly match your height. Small sleeping bags are uncomfortable because you won’t be able to move. If it’s too long, you won’t be able to stay warm. Your feet, knees, hands and head must be kept warm. There are various shapes of sleeping bags including mummy shape (tight and very warm, ideal for every weather), egg (a variation of the mummy with extra space on the hips and breast), blanket shape (superb for sleeping in a mountain hut) and bivy bag (windproof and waterproof).
The zipper should be on the side that feels most suitable for your dominant hand (there’s no right or wrong side; ). It should be covered on the inside for comfort and better insulation.
Other Important Hiking Essentials
Food & Water
Hiking takes energy and effort and is a physical activity that will soon make you hungry. After a while, it would be great to stop and enjoy a tasty sandwich or a few snacks. Pack your favourite snacks and beverages. It’s best if you make sandwiches that will boost your energy (include healthy fats and proteins as well as carbs). Take a bag of dry fruits or nuts, and you can take a piece of fresh fruit such as a banana or apple. Don’t forget to take a bottle of water (it’s best if you pour it in an insulated bottle to keep it fresh for longer).
Sure, you have a map on your phone, but keep in mind that your phone might not have a reception as you get deeper into the woods. Having a map with you can spare you from many headaches. It weighs nothing and can be easily stored in your pocket.
A tiny compass can also be a good thing to carry with you on your hiking adventure. Make sure to have one so you can manage your directions in areas where you aren’t sure which side is which.
The sun can be harsh even when you’re hiking in the woods. Make sure to protect your skin from the harmful UVA and UVB rays. Even if it’s cloudy, the rays penetrate through the clouds and you may end with severe skin burns. Apply a rich coat onto your face, neck, arms and any other part of your body that is exposed to the sunrays.
Spare Warm Clothing
Pack a hoodie, and sweatpants or yoga pants in your backpack, as well as another T-shirt and even a small towel. Hiking in the woods is unpredictable. It may start raining, you may step in a puddle or spring, or you simply will sweat buckets after a few hours of hiking. Carrying spare clothing can also help you stay warm if the weather suddenly changes.
Torch & Headlamp
These are essentials especially if you’re going to explore caves. Be sure to get bright torches and suitable headlamps that will serve you well and for long hours. The torch can be helpful if you decide to set a tent and sleep in nature.
You never know what will happen on your adventure, so having a first aid kit is a must. Bandages, gauzes, safety pins, tweezers, including some special medications you take (allergies for e.g) are just part of this kit.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a smoker or not, a box of matches can always come in handy when you’re in nature, especially if you plan to stay for a while and want to light a fire.
At a certain point, you’ll need to cut some branches or weeds on your way. You could easily dig holes, defend yourself or simply cut fruits or any other food you brought.