With the summer season underway, getting outside is easier than ever. The perfect weather and warm temperatures make a hike out in nature the perfect afternoon activity. When spending time outdoors, safety is key for a pain- and stress-free summer break. Aside from the obvious, sunscreen and sunglasses, there are a few other necessities that you should be sure to have on your next excursion.
Injuries in hiking are more common than you would think. The uneven terrain and loose rocks are often to blame for a hiking injury. Especially at the beginning of summer when our bodies are still in winter mode, strenuous movement can cause a rolled ankle or a sore muscle. Splints and compression sleeves are easy to pack in a backpack and are useful in the event of common mid-hike injuries like a rolled or sprained ankle or shin splints. It’s best to support these issues right away so they don’t get worse as you hike home. Once you get back, it is best to implement the rest, ice, compression, elevation (R.I.C.E) method.
First Aid Kit
Keeping a first aid kit on hand when hiking is an important tool that many forget. You may think you won’t need a first aid kit on a short hike, but you never know what could happen. Having some Bandaids, antiseptic, and gauze is useful from small scrapes to big gashes. Additionally, it would be best to pack a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your first aid kit as well. Your hands are bound to get dirty while hiking. Touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with soiled hands could accidentally transfer some bad bacteria into your mouth. Lastly, if you live in an area where ticks are prevalent in the summer, having a tick remover in your first aid kit is necessary.
Food & Water
While bringing food and water may seem like a given, you‘d be surprised at how many people don’t bring food or water, especially on easier hikes. Packing a water bottle or water bladder in your backpack helps with maintaining hydration that you lose as you sweat. Especially on very sunny days, you don’t realize how dehydrated you can become in a short period of time. For food, something with a good balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates is best. Snacks like beef jerky and fruit or trail mix are excellent choices to fuel your hike. While you may not feel hungry, your body expends energy as you move that needs to be replenished. If you’re packing light and going to choose between the two, water is best. But both are better.
In this day and age, we use our cell phones for all our mapping needs. This being said, depending on where you are hiking, you may not actually have cell service to use it. While maps feel like tools of the past, this is an instance where they come in very handy. Before you leave for a hike, especially one you haven’t done before, print out a map of the hike you’ll be doing. Additionally, grab a compass for your adventure. Not only does it make you feel like an explorer, but it is another useful item for navigation. You may not even need these tools on your hike, but for safety reasons, it’s best to not leave them at home.
While there are benefits to hiking alone, unless you’re an experienced hiker going somewhere you’re familiar with, it is generally best to always hike with a friend. The buddy system has been a tried and true method since Kindergarten. Not only is there the social aspect of hiking with friends, but the safety aspect as well. Friends are useful in the event of injury, getting lost, and in the event of a dangerous situation. A buddy also helps with carrying even more food and water for the excursion. Plus, then you have a built-in adventure photographer.
Hiking in the summer is an excellent way to get outside and move your body while enjoying some time in nature. But it can become really unenjoyable if you don’t pack the necessary essentials. Making sure to have food and water, safety measures, and navigation tools are the best ways to have a good time while also avoiding any unfortunate situations. Not only are these useful things to have on hand, but when you feel good, you have a good time.
Emma Davis: A true digital nomad, Emma spends her time writing and traveling the globe in pursuit of her next great adventure. From travel guides to career advice, she hopes to help readers see the world as she experiences it—helping others craft a life where they can work hard and play often.