Although I’m fairly new to hiking, I have always been a planner; making lists and checking things off is something I live for (What can I say? It’s the little things!). Each day’s adventure requires some real work and preparations. Once the trail is picked, you can easily make a list of essential items you must pack. That list always starts with the same 5 things I will never go without on a hike, for safety reasons, as well as to ensure an enjoyable and memorable trip.
If you haven’t planned and taken a full day hike, you must schedule some time for one soon! Regardless of where you live, there is likely a hidden spot you’ve yet to explore. Most people don’t realize all the nature that is around them until they take the time to plan a day trip. Just a short 25- minute drive from where I live, there is a park with trails varying in distance from 3 miles up to 22 miles long. During my first- time adventure there, I wasn’t quite as prepared as I might have been and struggled a bit to finish the journey on time, so by necessity, this list below became my must- haves for a day’s hiking trip. Even though there were some challenges, at times we spotted wild turkeys, encountered some alligators, and were able to see over 10 varieties of oak trees (I should explain that I have a life-long obsession with trees, and I collect leaves) made it all worth it in the end!
- Sun protection – Pack a sunscreen that is safe to use on your face as well as your body. You can find some now that come with bug repellent, and this is not a bad idea! Two jobs accomplished in one application is great. Also, the smaller the size the better — it’s a day trip and you don’t want to add too much weight to your pack. Also a lip balm, hat and sunglasses help. Even if it’s a warm day, I like to wear a long sleeve shirt and pants when hiking through vegetation. You can search online for some great gear now with UV protection made with light materials that will keep your body cooler.
- Rain poncho – I found one that is just perfect for day hikes. It folds up very small, but when open it is big enough to cover me and my pack. It also serves as a great “tarp” to sit on during eating breaks, and it serves as an emergency cover if you need it. It is imperative that you check the weather extensively before you go on your one day hike, and you should always be prepared with a poncho.
- Swiss Army knife f gadget – This item makes me feel a bit like “MacGyver” every time I use it. You never know when you need to snip a branch, or cut a piece of clothing, or patch up broken gear. Bring along a small roll of duct tape, as a supplement for your gadget.
- Hydration – Don’t just bring a small water bottle! It is important to remember the amount of refreshment you need to bring. You will be carrying it the entire time; therefore, weight will be an issue. You want to stay hydrated before going on your hike; as preparation, drink up to one quart of water an hour before taking off for your hike; then carry with you about 1 quart for each 2 hours of hiking time. It’s not a bad idea to invest in a water bottle with a filtration system, so you can refill from water sources along the trail when hiking for longer periods of time.
- Food – This is another very important element for a full day hike. You must have fuel to complete your journey but weight is an issue as well as portability. You need the kind of food that will sustain you for long periods without refrigeration. The nutrition you bring with you should also be balanced in terms of carbohydrate, protein and fat. Avoid foods that may be irritating to your digestive system since you will be walking for long periods of time. Of course, I must bring along on every hike no matter how long it is, my essentials: Once Again Nut Butter Almond Butter Packs. The single packs are the perfect size for a snack, or if you may bring along some bread or tortilla for lunch as well and slather it with the nut butter. A single Organic Lightly Toasted Almond Butter pack has 200 calories, 7 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, and 6 grams of carbohydrates.
Recently, my husband and 4 of his went on a 4- day hike in the North Carolina’s mountains; packing gear plus the essentials was a challenge. I was quite the hero when I gifted a box to each one of them of the Once Again Nut Butter Single packs! Big score for the “best wife ever.”
Share with us where your hiking adventures take you and Once Again Nut Butter! Please post photos on your social media, and use #OnceAgainNutButter and tag us, we’ll be happy to repost and share your photos! (twitter: @onceagaincoop Instagram: @once_Again_Nut_Butter)