I love to spend weekends hiking and camping in the forest. Unlike drive-in camping, hike-in camping requires a minimalist’s approach to packing just the essentials. There were times when I forgot this and wound up lugging twice the weight with half the usability (It’s amazing how much a lack of preparation can completely change your experience). For this reason, I’ve put together this list of essentials to keep you from making the same mistakes I have.
Yes, we all love food, but camping is not the time to be fussy. Attempts to be overly gourmet almost always blow up in your face via bulky containers, messy dishes, and wasted ingredients. Pack easy meals full of carbohydrates. After a day trekking in the forest, anything will taste fantastic.
Learn about the water conditions of your hike and destination beforehand and pack accordingly. Water filters are practical and beat carrying 8 litres of water on your back.
Lets hope you won’t need it, but a first aid kit is a must. Pre-made kits are available in very compact sizes and have everything you’ll need (within reason).
Devices for navigation have never been better. Although a GPS will make your life easy, make sure you still pack a map and compass just in case. Don’t forget to bring extra batteries.
Be mindful of what season you’re hiking in. There’s nothing worse than underestimating the nighttime lows. Pack multifunctional clothes and have enough to layer if needed.
Flashlights are easier to pack than lanterns, but headlamps are a great alternative to both, offering hands free capabilities in a compact form. Once again, don’t forget to bring batteries.
Although sunscreen is pivotal in warding off burns, in times of intense physical activity, it is counterproductive to your body’s natural cooling methods. Try using clothing with sleeves and brimmed hats as your primary sun protection in addition to sunscreen where needed. Don’t forget the sunglasses.
Since they are both so small, hedge your bets and take both a lighter and waterproof matches. Using fire starters is also smart if you’re inexperienced with making a fire. If you want to go about it the organic way, read this.
It is smart to bring both a sturdy knife and multi-tool such as a Leatherman. Duct tape is also a fan favorite for unexpected miscellaneous tasks. Is it just me, or does it seem more satisfying to solve a problem with duct tape?
Of all the things we humans have been able to figure out, weather is not one of them. Tarps and space blankets are items you’ll be glad you have when the rain clouds start rollin’.