What to Bring When You Plan to Hike

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Hiking can be a great addition to any vacation, and you can do it in many places. Whether you’re trekking along a beach in Central America or into the mountains in the United States, hiking lets you see the outdoors and access local culture. It’s also enjoyable at almost any age and requires very little in the way of equipment. You will, however, want to bring along a few staples if you plan to do some hiking on vacation. Invest some time researching what’s needed at your particular destination, but make sure to pack at least the following:

—Navigation gear. A compass and map are survival tools you should never go without if you plan to leave civilization.

—Water and food. In some areas, you’ll also need something to purify water if you can’t carry a sufficient supply with you. Filters and tablets both work well for purification.

—An illumination source. An inexpensive headlamp will often be your best bet, but flashlights work just as well.

—A first-aid kit. You never know when an accident will happen on the trail, and you’ll want to have everything from bandages to antihistamine ready just in case.

—A day pack. You need something in which to carry all this other gear. In some cases, a fanny pack will suffice for your needs, but usually you’ll want a day pack.

—Good clothing. Your needs will vary depending on your destination, and you should investigate the area’s climate conditions thoroughly before you leave. Convertible pants and shorts provide a lot of flexibility, and a wide-brimmed hat and hooded rain jacket will prove useful almost anywhere.

—Proper footwear. The needs of your feet will vary based upon terrain, but you should plan on wearing sturdy boots or shoes and hiking socks.

The farther you hike from civilization, the more gear you’ll need. However, you can take this list as a starting point. The gear suggested here should be fine for short trips.

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