What to put in your hiking backpack
What do you need to bring on a day hike? This is based on my experience in the Canadian Rockies. For example the hike to the Lake Agnes tea house. Obviously, you’ll make adjustments based on location and terrain of your hike 🙂
Have 2 liters of water in my hiking backpack. Especially if your hike includes elevation gain. I like to carry 2 smaller water bottles rather than one big one to distribute the weight better in the backpack.
Always bring food when hiking. Good snacks are nuts or dried fruit. If you do a longer hike, pack a sandwich, fruit and/or granola bar.
Weather in the mountains is changeable, better be prepared. My rain jacket is a size bigger than I’d usually need it, so I can add extra layers below. Rain pants can be put on without taking boots off. Rain gear also is a great windbreaker and holds in a lot of heat. Open the vents if you get hot. If you don’t want to buy rain gear, at least being a rain poncho.
I always have a thin fleece and another sweater made from synthetic or bamboo materials. Cotton gets bulky, heavy when wet and does not keep you warm as well. Also, your base layer should always be made from synthetic material. In addition, I had a puffy vest that I put on when it gets cold, gloves and a warm hat.
First aid kit + blister kit
One can never be too prepared. On some trails, there is no cell phone reception. You’ll have to deal with injuries yourself before you can get to professional help.
Not sure why, but my nose starts running when I hike 🙂 maybe one of you knows why!? Does that happen to you too?
Needless to say you’ll want to capture those memories from reaching the peak/that waterfall/that lake. Or whatever sparks your interest along the trail.
Bear bells don’t work. But I do carry bear spray just in case. So far I have not seen a bear on a trail. But just this week I read in the paper about a hiker being attacked by a black bear. Bear safety is another topic, worthy of a blog post on its own. Parks Canada has great brochures available on what to do when you encounter wildlife.
Do not rely on your cell phone alone. They are a great tool as long as battery and network hold up. Have back-up. A topographic map of the area with hiking trails helps. Only if you know how to read it, of course 🙂 that’s another subject for another post.
Sunscreen and sunglasses
Always, even when hiking in snow, put on sunscreen. I use SPF 30. It would certainly be higher, when I hike further south than Canada. Sunglasses also protect your eyes from insects and twigs along the way.
Usually I wear a baseball cap. It protects against sun, spray rain and again shields the face from twigs and leaves a little more.
Depending of the hike and how long you’ll be out there you may also want to bring any of these items in your hiking backpack:
Hiking sticks, crampons, gloves, beanie, plant & bird guide books, toilet paper & zip lock bags
With all of that you’ll need a 20 to 40 liter hiking backpack. Mine is 30 liters and fits everything comfortably. All set for hiking! Ready, stead, go!