14 Must-Have Items For Beginner Hikers | Hiking Made Easy

An Adventure with Nick & Rachel

14 Essentials Items for Beginner Hikers

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14 Essentials Items for Beginner HikersNick & Rachel

When it comes to hiking there are a lot of products and gear. It can be overwhelming trying to decipher what to take and what not to take. So we have compiled a list of 14 essentials you should have if you're beginning hiking.

  1. Appropriate Clothing

First off we need to cover what you wear. A common mistake we have seen many beginner hikers make (and we were guilty of this too) is wearing comfortable everyday clothes like jeans and a cotton t-shirt. These items are heavy, slow drying, and lose all of their insulation properties when wet. As you are hiking they will soak up all your sweat. This will cause them to get heavy and cause chafing, which makes for a pretty uncomfortable experience. Also, these types of clothing do not dry quickly. The combination of moisture absorption and slow drying can be harmful to body temperature regulation. Just remember cotton kills. Look for pants that are mostly nylon-based and water-resistant. If it is cold, wearing a pair of thermal pants underneath, preferably merino wool-based, should help. If it is wet, wear a pair of waterproof pants over the top. For shirts wear high moisture-wicking materials. For base layers, merino wool is an ideal material. It is light, breathable, and great for body temperature regulation. Just make sure you are wearing clothes designed for being active.

2. Backpack

You need a daypack to carry all your supplies. Your day pack should be a backpack because it evenly distributes the weight while you are hiking. Crossbody bags don’t do this. You can get an affordable, decent day pack at Walmart. That's what I started with and used it for a few years until it fell apart. It worked well for the time I used it. I have now invested in a high-quality Osprey daypack from REI. Osprey is one of the top outdoor backpack brands. But I am here to tell you that you don't need a super expensive pack to start off with. Backpack capacity is measured in liters. If you are bringing only the essentials and thin extra layers, a pack under 20L should work fine. If you’re like me and like to carry plenty of snacks and a camera, you’ll want a pack between 20-35L. Just make sure it has at least two large pockets and room on the outside for easy access to water bottles. Once you have decided hiking is something you want to spend more time doing save up for a better quality bag.

3. Extra Layers

Along with appropriate clothing, you should pack extra layers. When it comes to hiking it is all about layers. Temperatures can change throughout the day. And if you're in the mountains temperatures can be different at the base of the mountain than at the summit. Storms can roll in extremely fast. Even in the spring and fall when the temperatures are warm there is the chance that temperatures will fluctuate. You don't want to be out on the trail and get cold. Packing an extra layer for us looks like bringing a lightweight down jacket or synthetic whichever you prefer, an extra pair of socks, and an extra pair of leggings or pants. Depending on the time of year.

4. Rain Protection

As we mentioned above, storms can roll in very quickly. Even if you've checked the weather there's still a chance for rain. So make sure to include rain protection. I have a thin, packable rain jacket, but a simple $2 poncho can work too.

5. Shoes

When we were first beginning hiking we wore tennis shoes until we were able to afford better hiking shoes. Hiking shoes really do make all the difference. But tennis shoes can work as you get comfortable on the trail. You want shoes that have good grip on the bottom and that will protect your toes and the top of the foot. If you are starting out in tennis shoes, start with easier trails.

6. Water

Hydration is crucial. The recommended amount is 16 ounces per hour of hiking. You should bring more water than you think you'll need. Also, make sure the day or night before you go hiking to drink plenty of water so you wake up hydrated and ready to go. Make sure you are drinking throughout your trip, not just when you start to feel really thirsty. You may also want to bring a water filtration option, like a sawyer mini or hydroblue versa flow or life straw, just in case. Know how to use these. Make sure you use a map or something like all trails to review the trail before you go to know if and where water sources are. We like to store our water in a Nalgene bottle. I've found that I drink my water too fast when using a water pouch. So I prefer taking water bottles.

7. Snacks

You need to bring high-energy snacks, like jerky, dried fruit, and nuts, breakfast /energy bars. Just like with water, bring a little more than you think. Rule of thumb: bring enough for a whole day. We also like to bring an electrolyte packet or Body Armor to help restore those electrolytes lost.

8. Navigation

Make sure you have a knowledge of where you're going. You’ll also want to carry some sort of navigation with you. We realize that most aren't going to bring a paper map. But if you have one of the location it's good to bring. But there are several digital options like apps such as All Trails that you can download the map of the location you are going to the night before. There are several other apps available but All Trails is the one we like to use.

9. Emergency blanket

Emergency blankets can be used for so many things. They are windproof, waterproof, and reflective so they trap in heat. You're probably not going to need this but it's better to be safe than sorry. Plus they're super light and compact so you probably won't even notice you're carrying it.

10. First aid kit

Another thing you'll hopefully never need but must take is a first aid kit. Top things to carry in a first aid kid are antibiotic ointment, bandaids, gauze wrap, moleskin for blisters, Tylenol, and Benadryl. Make sure you know how to use everything in your kit and make sure nothing is expired.

11. Headlamp

Sometimes you may be out a little longer than you expect. You don't want it to get dark and you can't see your way and get lost or stuck. So a headlamp is a definite must-have. Headlamps are a great option because they allow you to be hands-free. Make sure to check your batteries before heading out on a hike.

12. Firestarter kit

Additionally, you may not expect to need a fire starter but it's better to have it. Some options are waterproof matches, a lighter, a Ferro rod, as well as something that catches like cotton balls or fireplugs. We also like to take more than one option just in case. Make sure to store it all in a waterproof bag.

13. Sun and Bug Protection

As with any outdoor activity, it’s important to protect yourself from the sun. Apply sunscreen before going and make sure to reapply. Also, some things to carry are a hat, sunglasses, SPF chapstick. It is also important to bring bug protection. Repellents help to minimize exposure to disease from mosquitos and ticks. As with sunscreen make sure you reapply throughout the day.

14. Knife

A knife is good for protection and emergencies. You never know when you might need it to cut some rope or bandages. Another great option to bring is a multitool.

I know this is a long list of things and it may sound like we're taking a suitcase out on the trail but everything mentioned can fit into this small pack. Also with everything we mentioned, there are budget options. We don’t believe in breaking the bank to enjoy nature. We hope this list helps you feel more prepared and encourages you to get out there on the trail. Happy hiking!

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Happy Hiking!Nick & Rachel

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Hi! We are Nick and Rachel and together we found our passion for the outdoors. Since starting our channel we found that we enjoy inspiring others to explore and get out in nature while protecting and respecting its natural beauty. With our videos, we hope to immerse you in the adventures we take. Whether it's cooking a meal over a campfire or hiking to a mountain peak and overlooking the beautiful Blueridge Mountains and beyond. We look forward to seeing you on our next adventure! Please like, share, and subscribe. Thank You! If you like this type of content please check out our YouTube Channel: An Adventure With Nick And Rachel The Link Below will take you to all of our social media accounts.

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