Whether you’re the traditionalist or the techie, there is an array of excellent hiking gear available.
From the latest GPS tracking and emergency signalling device, to a handcrafted wood staff,we break down the basics and the nitty-gritty for your important trekking tools.
On your priority list of hiking gear, (following boots, water, and sun/cold protection) consider these other useful tools:
Hiking Poles (aka staffs or trekking poles) are similar to ski poles for skiiers. They help you keep your balance, and relieve some of the pressure from your legs.
If you do any thru-hiking, you will definitely thank two poles for saving your legs and feet on the long haul. With some skill, poles can even add to your speed on the trails.
GPS Although made available in the last decade, gps devices have become common fare for backpackers and trekkers who need serious hiking gear. The benefits? Find your way using accurate satelite data. Upload maps and stay on course. New models allow you to send s.o.s. signals in case of emergencies.
The drawbacks? For one, your results are as good as your signal. If you don’t have downloaded map information, following only waypoint directions will point you in a straight line (which isn’t always the best way).
Daypacks and Backpacks
Daypacks and Backpacks make lugging the crucial items for your trek a breeze. New technology is constantly making packs lighter and more ergonomic.
If you are out on the trails for more than a few hours, definitely consider one for your food, water, and other important life-savers.
Centuries before gps technology, compasses helped humans navigate sea or land. Hiking compasses are still useful and reliable tools (no battery required) for finding your way, especially when you have a trail map to compare too.
If you do any wilderness hiking or backpacking a light little compass is more than worth the extra ounces, especially if your GPS loses its signal or power.
Hiking at night? In a cavern? Don’t forget your headlamp. Bring one just in case you stray off course after dusk.
Headlamps have gotten lighter, easier, and more powerful over the years, which makes them all the more convenient to stash in your daypack. Led lights run far longer on batteries, so you don’t have to worry about tons of extra batteries weighing you down.
Backpacking and Camping Gear
Consider the variety of lightweight and space-saving equipment you could take on your hikes.
We usually take a pouch of backpacking chow, like meat lasagne (amazingly cheesy and fresh tasting!) and pour in boiling water from a jet boil cooking unit. A few minutes later and voilà! A hot satisfying meal atop a peak. That beats the table with a view any day!
Water Bottles and Canteens
This might be your most important piece of hiking gear. Remember, that humans can go more than a week without food, but we won’t last more than a couple days without water. Don’t underestimate the importance of hydration. Drinking enough water keeps us warmer in freezing temperatures and cooler in heat. On your list of emergency tools, include a water purification system, especially for long treks and backpacking.
Backpacking? Take a hiking water filter or other method of treating backcountry water.