Not all hikes will require the following items but it’s better to be safe rather than sorry. Be prepared by bringing more items than you expect you will need.
Extra Clothing – Weather conditions can change quickly and without warning. Be prepared by taking an extra jacket for warmth or rain protection.
Food and Water – You can go without food for about three weeks but you can only go without water for about three days. The physical exertion of hiking can drastically diminish those times so take more water than you expect to use, especially during the warmer months, and bring as much food as you feel comfortable carrying.
Flashlight – You don’t want to get caught in the dark without a reliable light source. Modern flashlights are getting smaller, brighter, more affordable and more innovative every year so there’s almost no reason not to have one.
Map – It’s wise to print two copies of a topographical map which contains both the general area and the specific route you will be hiking. Leave one map with a reliable friend or family member and take the other one with you.
GPS – It’s difficult to get lost if you have a modern updated GPS device. Not only can they help direct you to and through the trail, but they can also provide useful and interesting information about the hike after you have finished.
Cell Phone – While you may not get the best coverage where you’re hiking, a cell phone has the potential to be your most critical life saving device in an emergency situation. If you don’t already have one, you can buy a low cost prepaid cell phone without any service contract to call 911.
First Aid Kit – Many outdoor stores sell a variety of compact first aid kits. Be sure to get one specifically designed for hikers and you should be able to get through the most common injuries.
Sun Protection – Too much sun can range from being a nuisance to being life threatening. A wide brimmed hat will help shade and cool you, a billed cap and or sunglasses can reduce the sun’s glare, and a good sunscreen helps protect your exposed skin.
Luck favors the prepared. Read the TrailVistas.com disclaimer.