When planning any hike, what you put in your pack is very personal and should reflect the type of trek you will be making, what you are looking to accomplish on the adventure and also how you like to travel personally. While some might choose to pack light with the bare essentials, you can never go wrong being prepared for a day out and all the possible outcomes it could yield.
I personally always make sure to pack for a full day, unknowing of the path ahead I would rather be prepared to spend extra time out in the elements rather than be left wishing I had bought something and have to cut my time short.
For this reason I have found packing an assortment of items including snacks, additional water and a filtration system, entertainment for personalized music, and a day pack sized hiking pack can be the perfect fit for my needs. While each hike is a bit different based on my intention and location I have found a variation of this pack to always be the most inclusive and thus my hikes to be the most enjoyable.
The absolute most important item when traveling is the pack you choose. Why? This is the vehicle for all of your items to travel. The wrong pack will leave strain on your shoulders and back, where the perfect pack will distribute the weight of the items evenly though the usage of straps across both the chest and waist.
I have tried a variety of different styles and types of packs from the standard backpack to the deluxe overnight pack and found that a thick padded strap is my preference for hiking over rugged terrain. For me, it is worth it to find a pack with a lot of cushion on my straps so my collar bone doesn't feel sore after a hike.
Gossamer Gear's Lonestar 30 is a perfect day pack size fitting perfectly on the back just between the nape of the neck and the top of the tailbone. Its rigid inner structure perfectly aligns with the natural curvature of the body and helps with posture when carrying. Padding on the shoulders is perfect on this pack and the light weight material used to construct the bag its durable and can take a lot of wear and tear.
One of the most impressive features of the bag are all the pockets. I tend to like to place everything in compartments to limit movement in the bag. This pack is designed for just that with over 10 pockets placed strategically throughout the design of the bag.
As a person who likes to listen to a good song or two while I hike, I also like to be polite to the next hiker by not blasting my tunes on a solo hike. I have found that the AfterShokz Trekz Titanium Headphones are a perfect way to do this without impairing me from hearing the world around me.
It is very important, especially when solo hiking to be able to hear the sounds around you. Often however, you see people with earbuds buried in their ears of massive noise cancelling headphones on whiling out on the trails. This can be quite dangerous in that you cannot hear natures warning signs around you such as the sounds of other hikers or animals. The Trekz allow you to hear the world around you but also listen to music through their placement just outside of the actual ear.
So how does that work? Bone conduction technology allows sound to pass through the device and into your actual bones surrounding the ear for a surprisingly clear sound with great quality and depth.
Also always on my MUST HAVE list is a good watch. Especially traveling from time zone to time zone, you will notice a huge difference in when the sun rises and sets. It is important to always keep an eye on the time when venturing in nature unless you are preparing to get left in the dark. I also like to have a watch for the purpose of preparing meals and such which require a timer to calculate setting times.
I decided to add FreeStyle Watches to my travels for a variety of reason. Firstly, their watches are water resistant up to 100M which is more than a little handy in a lot of places I visit where I like to wade in the water such as hot springs. Secondly, the watch has a stop watch to make food prep pretty simple and and this completely takes the guess work out of if my food will be fully prepared or still bit to starchy.
But function aside, Freestyle adds a style component which is reflective of my personality which is really why I loved the brand and felt them to be the best fit for my active lifestyle. I had a really hard time going through over 100 styles but hey that is not a bad problem to have when a company cares if you have a perfect fit for you!
Snacks & Meals
When packing for a day hike, I alway like to make sure I am prepared for the hike to stretch out much longer than anticipated. Packing a single prepackaged meal and a few snacks to keep me satisfied no matter the distance always is a good idea.
I have tried a variety of tasty treats but recently discovered Wild Zora which promotes a paleo friendly meal option filled with bold flavors and natural ingredients. I first heard about the beef snack options which are like a softer version of beef jerky. Packing a lot of flavor into small packages the snacks are a perfect salty refresh to replenish your body after hiking. Small to stow the packages are great for any pack, but with a larger pack I always find room for a couple.
Wild Zora also has easy to prepare ready to eat meal options with hefty portions. To prepare you need only boil water and add to the mix and let rest for around 15 minutes and you can have a meal which tastes like you have spent a lot of time in the kitchen working on it.
Serve It Up
When it comes to travel, no one wants to carry around a bunch of clunky pots and pans, plates and cups or utensils. It is important to pack the items that matter in this regard but leave the excess weight at home. For that reason I carry minimalist serving gear which can serve many purposes with HumanGear.
HumanGear is a unique company which specializes in multifunction pieces which you can mix and match to suit your needs. I picked up a basic pack which includes a small compressible cup, GoCup with lid which can hold seasoning, pills, creamer or sugar, a small bowl, Flexibowl, which is flexible and easily can slide into even the smallest of compartments in my pack, small containers, called GoTubbs, which can hold a variety of small items and a set of GoBites, utensils for the road.
Each of these items is easy to clean with just a bit of water and a soft cloth and can stow in any pack with ease. In addition to the basics, there are also a series of containers ideal for containing liquids such as soaps, shampoos, lotions, oils and condiments and a tote to package all of your items when you are wanting to use the items in a different environment than a hiking activity.
Keep It Dry
What happens if you have an item in your pack you need to keep separate so that it doesn't allow moisture in or out into your other things?? You might want to look into a good dry pack. Typically thought to keep things dry in the midst of rain or when placed in a cooler, a commonly overlooked feature of using a dry bag can be that it can stow items which are damp and keep them from leaking moisture into the rest of your possessions.
I personally like to keep an Ice Mule Dry Pack with me on all my trips in case I need to rinse my dishes and they don't quite dry out. I also like to use this pack if I happen to be taking a towel or swimsuit with me and will need a place to stow them when I am finished with activities requiring them.
Dry packs can be one of the most useful items in your bag when you think beyond their typical bounds and really think of how you can personally find value in them in your personal hike or activities.
Ice Mule's dry pack I have found to be a bit more flexible and larger than many packs I have found retailed. For this reason I find that the company and their attention to detail really suits me in my active life whether taking a trip to the lake with one of their coolers or hiking a long trail where I need one of the dry packs.
When hiking or taking on any kind of activities, we often might start to feel fatigue or even body aches and pains after the fact. There are a lot of ways to combat that but being proactive is the best way to attack the muscle cramps and joint inflammation before it has an opportunity to become a nuisance.
I started looking into Javita where I found that products like Flex and Defend are the best cocktail for improving overall health and well being when active. Think of it as the ultimate hike hangover cure for eliminating inflammation and pains in a natural way. The last thing you want to do when hiking is add a bunch of artificial ingredients which make you sweat out all of your nutrients, so this will instead replenish all you lose and keep you feeling upbeat and light footed even on the harshest of hikes.
Simple to make, the Javita drinks only require a little water and spoon to mix. You might be concerned about grit or flavor, but the attention to detail by creators has made this one of the easiest to drink supplements with great natural flavor and quick dissolving formulas which do not settle to the bottom.
Time and time again we have heard make sure you have enough water with you on any hike. But sometimes keeping a water filter is just as important as having water itself with you. With a water filter you allow yourself to have an unlimited supply of fluids when you are near almost any water source.
Sawyer has defined a new level of filtration and with that a new level of water cleanliness. I started researching water filters and was overwhelmed with options. I kept looking deeper and deeper into the facts and found that Sawyer leads the field with their unique filter and keeps more heavy metals from passing through into your drinking water than any other filter on the market.
After I started using the MicroSqueeze I realized just how easy it was to not only store water in the self contained pouch, but also to use the filter on regular water bottles. Drinking from any source is a bit cleaner with this brand and I often find that even pre-filtered water tastes more clean with the Sawyer filter.