7 Important Hiking Essentials

So, if you know me well enough, you know I enjoy getting outside as much as possible! Sometimes it’s just down the street to Susquehanna State Park, and other times it’s a few hours away. But whether you’re exploring close to home or far away, there are a few important essentials that I recommend.

To start, your outfit is the most critical part, especially what’s on your feet! You want boots that are comfy and waterproof.  I personally love my Merrell Capra Venture Mid Gore-Tex boots. They are waterproof, breathable, have excellent traction and are surprisingly very comfortable. When I first started hiking, I wore Nike’s, but ever since I found my Merrell’s, I can’t venture outside without them. Hiking boots may not be required, but they are very much necessary!

Outfits, of course, depend on the weather. Ladies, I recommend a breathable t-shirt with leggings. Guys, I’d also suggest a breathable shirt and hiking pants. I stay away from shorts because I’m not a fan of poison ivy or being cut by branches. If it is raining or windy out, I wear my favorite Columbia windbreaker. I always have a light jacket or hoodie tied around my waist since the temperature typically drops when you get deep into the woods. Winter, I wear my 686 winter jacket, an Under Armour ColdGear and thick fleece leggings.

Osprey Manta AG 36 is the bag I am currently using, and I love it! When looking for a good pack, you want to make sure it has good support, is lightweight and has a spot for a water reservoir. My Osprey pack hugs my hips just right, keeping the weight off my back and it is comfortable on my shoulders. It may be on the expensive side, but a decent backpack is key to having an enjoyable hike. This pack also comes with a 2.5L reservoir to hold the good ol’ H2O.

*Mostly all of the skin care products I have added to the list is paraben, aluminum, and sulfate-free.

Sunscreen – Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Sunscreen Broad Spectrum Spf 60+, 3 Fl. Oz.

First Aid Kit – First Aid Kit – 163 Piece Waterproof & Portable

Bug Spray – Rest Easy – Environmentally Friendly Bed Bug Spray

Hand Sanitizer – All Day Hand Sanitizer Sulfate, Aluminum, Triclosan and Paraben-Free

Pocket Knife – Tactical Pocket Folding Stainless Steel Blade Knife

Matches/Lighter – Portable Strom Wind Proof Matches

Toilet Paper – Toilet Tissue To Go

Solar Charger – Dizaul Portable Solar Power Bank Waterproof/Shockproof/Dustproof

Flashlight – LE CREE LED Adjustable Focus Mini Flashlight

Currently, I am using a glass water bottle that I got from Target. I like using glass instead of anything else because it is BPA free, and does not contaminate the water with plastic or metal tastes/chemicals if it gets hot or cold. (Worried about it breaking? Buy one with a silicone sleeve on the glass bottle to keep it protected). You can also use stainless steel bottles since they are non-reactive, BPA free and lightweight.

Whether you’re going for a short or long hike, don’t forget your fuel! Most of the snacks I bring with me are granola bars or fruit bars. But every once in a while I’ll pack a PB&J on wheat. My favorite bars are Nature Valley Crunchy Peanut Butter, and That’s it. Apple and Strawberry fruit bars. For protein, I pack a Lenny & Larry’s Snickerdoodle Cookie. If those don’t meet your taste requirements, any kind of granola or fruit bar will work. I pack these because they are small and most of the time they are full of proper nutrients and are quick & easy to eat. You could also pack almonds, cereal in a bag, or fruit like a banana, apple or grapes.

I don’t go anywhere without my hammock – it is what makes my hikes worthwhile! Eagle Nest Outfitters makes quality lightweight and compact SingleNest or DoubleNest hammocks. They are made of parachute material, which makes them very durable. The set up is super easy, within a few minutes, you will have a spot to relax in, all you need are two trees about 8 feet apart from one another.

Can’t forget about the camera! I use both my iPhone 7 camera and a DSLR Canon EOS Rebel T6i. My phone takes decent photos, but when I want a really good shot, I use my Canon. It is easy to use and has a wifi feature so I can upload my photos to my phone in seconds. The lens I use the most is a Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM.

These essentials are just a few of my recommendations, some more important than others but I hope this list helps you! Now, go explore somewhere cool and share your adventure with me by tagging me @explorashann on Instagram or Twitter!


For more tips, head over to REI and view their expert’s advice on the 10 Hiking Essentials.

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