Most day treks require a peanut butter sandwich, a water bottle and maybe some bug spray. But for the weekend warrior who wants to crush in one day what most people stroll in two, there are a few indispensables in case the weather turns bad or you get injured. Here is a list of essentials for spending a day burning through some km on the trail:
1| Multi Tool
You don’t need a big knife when you go hiking. In fact, scissors are more of a necessity than a knife, so it’s best to bring along some kind of swiss army knife or leatherman-style multi-tool. That, a small roll of duct tape, and a few safety pins are all you really need to patch up broken or torn gear.
2| Protein Bar
Unless you are really good at hunting or identifying edible plants, you will need to bring some food. For day treks I usually don’t bring my hiking stove, I pack a light meal and also some protein bars, like the Usana MySmartBar.
I have tried different bars and different flavours, for me, nothing beats the Dark Chocolate Bar – it’s delicious! The Usana MySmartBars are made with simple and pure ingredients, with all key macro-nutrients. They contain high-quality, complete proteins which means an ideal snack when you get a little bit tired.
3 | First Aid
Instead of purchasing a pre-made kit, make your own for much cheaper with items you’d more likely use on the trail. This medical kit isn’t meant to mend bones, but is exactly what you need for any day hike mishaps. Bandage scrapes, pop a pain reliever, relieve itchy bug bites and (most importantly) cover any blisters with moleskin before they form. And so you don’t pop open the kit to find the band-aids waterlogged, I usually seal the kit inside durable waterproof bags.
You know me, the keyword is ‘small’… Stop thinking you need to prepare for everything, if you don’t know what it is, don’t bring it. Most of the time, all you’ll need are some antiseptic wipes, bandages, and maybe something for indigestion.
Add a few packets of salt if you are hiking though anywhere with leeches. I also recommend packing wet wipes. They are the next best thing to a shower. Using them to wipe your hands before eating helps prevent nasties like Giardia and washing yourself off after a long day hiking is a nice treat for your co-hikers.
4 | Water Bottle
A water bladder with a valve is important, but I often use an old-fashioned water bottle. Its easy to refill in water streams and usual enough for a day trek. I like a sturdy, clear, light weight water bottle like the Denali bottle. It is easy to see exactly how much water I have.
5 | Torch
How many times we think it will take us a couple of hours to do a trek and it ends up being way longer than we thought. Sometimes we find ourselves on the trail after dark. Having a headlamp in your pack is a must for those scenarios you can’t predict. Lately I have been using a Mag-lite instead. I got it as a gift from Marathon des Sables and I love it. It is super light, a the light super bright!
6 | Sunscreen
It’s important to protect your skin in any season, specially if you are in Australia. I use Swox Protection, which is made for surfers Most people realize that harmful UV rays can damage your eyes even if it’s raining or cloudy outside! In a survey conducted in 6 U.S. cities in 2004, researchers reported that harmful UV-B rays associated with DNA damage were raised by 25% on partly cloudy days as compared to a sunny clear day. And on a sunny day you may be hiking above the treeline for extended periods of time exposed to the elements. Don’t let a sunburn be how you remember your hike!
7 | Rain Jacket
Nothing beats a durable, light weight and weatherproof rain jacket.It’s great when it gets a bit chilly, to stop the wind and the rain to get into you.
8 | A Good Backpack
Look for one that can carry everything you need for a day hike while still maintain a level of comfort and support. Typically hiking backpacks will range in capacity of around 20 litres and come with with a few key features such as compartments for smaller items a hydration compartment, additional carry options for trekking-poles or ice axes, and possibly some small side pockets for water bottles or sunscreen. You may also want to look for a pack that is super comfortable to wear, so pay extra attention to cushioning and ventilation.