Venturing into the woods for a hiking adventure is an excellent way to reconnect with the natural world and leave the demands of daily life behind. There's also pride in the survival aspect of hitting the trails and accomplishing a challenging goal.
Safety and preparedness are essential for success when planning an unplugged hiking weekend. Here are six must-have items to take on your next adventure.
A GPS Tracking System
Whether or not you choose to take a cellular phone with you on your travels, you should still take a GPS tracking system. These simple devices ensure someone can find you if your battery dies or you're lost in an area with no cell service. If your goal is to leave the world behind and not take a cellular device, a GPS tracker is non-negotiable.
There are several options when choosing a GPS tracking system. You can get a handheld GPS device that provides navigation for you to use as you travel through the woods. Alternatively, you can get a personal locator beacon (PLB) as an emergency failsafe to help rescuers locate you should an emergency occur. If you're venturing somewhere new or challenging, having both is recommended.
A Hydration System
When planning a hiking trip, it's important to understand that the minimum requirement of two liters per day of water isn't sufficient for a hiking excursion. Your water requirements are also impacted by environmental factors such as temperature, the difficulty of the terrain, and trail elevation.
Unfortunately, water is also heavy. Plan to carry a 2-Liter Hydration Pack, refilling at pre-identified water sources as needed. Invest in a small water filtration system to move dirt, debris, and bacteria from natural water sources to stay healthy and hydrated. Don't forget the importance of hydrating before you head out on the trail as well.
Airtight Food Storage
Bringing enough nutrient-dense food to fuel your body throughout the hike is a must. It's equally crucial to keep it packed in airtight containers to avoid attracting animals as you rest. Using airtight food storage will also help protect your food from the elements.
When planning your food for your unplugged hiking weekend, remember to pack an extra day's worth. Having this buffer available is essential for emergencies if you get lost and must wait for rescue — even if you have a personal locator beacon.
A First Aid and Self-Care Kit
A first aid kit is pretty self-explanatory: it contains everything you need to treat basic injuries and illnesses while you hike. A self-care kit, on the other hand, is for preventative purposes.
Your self-care kit should contain sunscreen, bug spray, SPF lip chap, hand sanitizer, wet wipes, and toiletries. This additional kit carries the essential supplies to keep you reasonably comfortable and protected from the elements for your journey.
Extra Weather-Appropriate Clothing
When packing for a weekend hike, it's crucial to bring an extra outfit sealed in a waterproof bag. Even in the driest, warmest climate, having extra weather-appropriate clothing is essential. You never know when the weather will take an unexpected turn or if you might unexpectedly end up wet or cold.
Invest in some high-quality moisture-wicking clothes for your hiking weekend. Not only will this attire keep you comfortable and dry, but it also helps prevent chafing during periods of extended physical activity.
A Packable Tool Kit
Finally, bring a basic tool kit to help you overcome obstacles and make repairs along the way. Invest in a multi-tool to save space, but don't forget to bring duct tape, flint, waterproof matches, fishing wire or paracord, and a small hatchet or saw.
Taking these unplugged hiking weekend essentials with you will help you stay safe and comfortable as you navigate your next adventure. Remember to outline your route and share it with friends and colleagues should an emergency occur.