Ash, the great outdoors! Is there any better place to reconnect mind and body with nature, while also getting fit? If you enjoy a walk in the trails, you may well be considering your first multi-day hike to test your endurance.
If you’ve spoken to seasoned hikers, they would have told you that the weight of your backpack can have a dramatic effect on the way you perform during a hike that takes place over the course of a few days. The equation is simple: a lighter pack makes for a more comfortable hike.
But what exactly should you pack when going on your first multi-day hike? Assuming you already have the essentials, like a quality backpack, boots and socks sorted, here are a few key items.
A small hiking stove
Whether it’s only used for the morning brew, or used to prepare a welcome warm, cooked meal at night, a small hiking stove will make your hikes much more pleasant. Look for something that is small and light – you’ll be using it for years to come.
A water bladder
Sure, it’s just a differently-shaped water bottle, but the convenience of a water bladder saves you from having to waste time by taking off your pack to reach your water bottle. When looking for a hydration bladder, remember to keep in mind that larger capacity also means more weight – every litre adds an extra kilogram to the weight you’re carrying on your back.
A lightweight, waterproof down jacket
Even when hiking in the middle of summer, a good-quality, lightweight, waterproof down jacket is of paramount importance. It’ll keep you warm when the nights turn chilly, and dry in the event of an unexpected shower.
A solar lantern
Headlamps are great and should also form a part of your nightly hiking attire, but having a solar-powered lantern to use at night makes all the difference. Investing in one of these will make it much easier to get re-organised before the next day’s hike starts, and will also help to ensure you properly see exactly what’s cooking – and what’s around you – when you settle in for the evening.
A pair of trekking poles
Beware of shooting down trekking poles – these simple hiking aids certainly aren’t just for older people or the injury-prone! Using trekking poles on strenuous hikes that require a lot of climbs and downhill walks will help you to conserve energy and provide support when the surface you’re walking on is uneven.
All the best for your first hike – we’re convinced you’ll be back in nature for more very soon!