What To Pack For An Overnight Hiking Experience
Hiking through nature is not just an excellent choice for outdoor activity, as the time spent in nature also offers several science-backed health benefits. It's good for the body, mind, and spirit as confirmed benefits include a lifted mood, stress reduction, decreased anxiety and depression symptoms, and even improved circulation. What's more, spending time in nature also encourages spiritual growth and an internal clock reset. While an overnight hiking experience will benefit your life and health in many ways, packing is a step that will determine whether or not your hike can be enjoyable. So, if you are planning your very first overnight hike, be sure to pack all of the following essential items.
First Aid Kit
One of the most important things to bring along on a hiking trip is a travel-sized first aid kit. You can purchase a standard travel kit that contains necessary first aid items, such as bandages, plasters, scissors, and other medical supplies. However, it is a great idea to add additional items to your kit to make it suitable for the great outdoors. You can buy bear spray to repel bears humanely if you should cross paths with one. Moreover, you should also add insect repellent, antibiotic ointments, sun protection lotion, and any medications you need to your hiking first aid kit. Ideally, the kit should be compact enough to carry around with you and all your other essential gear, so you should avoid bulky carry cases if you are building your first aid kit from scratch.
Shelter And Sleep Essentials
Your shelter and sleeping essentials should be as compact and lightweight as possible. So leaving out all comfort extras is vital. Instead of consuming most of your packing space with an air mattress, pillows, and soft blankets, you should rather stick to a simple one-person tent and a sleeping bag only. Some shelters are more straightforward and lighter than tents, so shopping around for the best outdoor shelter is a great idea. However, be sure to practice setting up your shelter before heading off on your hiking trip, as even simple-seeming tents can be quite tricky to assemble if you aren't too sure what you are doing.
Navigation items such as a compass, a map, an altimeter, a GPS device, personal location beacons, and a satellite messenger are essential for overnight hiking trips. Even if you are confident that you have settled on a straightforward hiking trail, you should still pack navigation items to avoid a potentially unpleasant situation. Your navigation items won't take up too much space, so there is absolutely no reason to compromise bringing them alone.
Basic Outdoor Equipment
A hunting knife, matches, a lighter, a tinder or small stove, and a headlamp are all outdoor equipment essentials that will prove extremely handy on your overnight hike. However, you could invest in a quality swiss knife instead of a hunting knife as a swiss knife offers multiple functions. It is also a great idea to bring along a gear repair kit that will be beneficial if your shelter should become ripped or your clothing. It is also wise to pack firelighters or a DIY alternative, such as cooking oil, to ensure you can avoid the frustration of not being able to get a fire going when you need to. Other equipment essentials will include your cookware, cutlery, and crockery. It is best to opt for a functional spork, a tin bowl, a camping mug, and a small pot for your eating equipment essentials.
Clothing And Shoes
When it comes to packing your clothes and picking out a pair of shoes, quality is more important than ever. Your garments should be durable enough to protect you from the outdoor elements and nature itself. It is best to opt for clothing sold by retailers of outdoor equipment as a regular pair of jeans, and a tee-shirt won't do. Your clothing's color choice is also essential as neutral and natural tones will help you blend in and avoid disrupting nature. You should invest in quality when it comes to your shoes, as hiking boots should be durable enough to withstand rugged terrain. It is also a great idea to pack in a raincoat to prepare for bad weather, even if the weather predictions suggest sunny skies. Packing in a hat, gloves, and a jacket is also essential regardless of the weather predictions.
Food And Water
You will need a quality water bottle that is large enough to last some time. However, packing in too much water would naturally weigh you down, so it is a great idea to bring along a compact water filtration device if you will be hiking near a body of water. When it comes to packing food, it is best to opt for foods that are easy to carry and easy to prepare. Tins are quite heavy, so it would be a better idea to pack other convenient meals that can be heated on a fire. You will need to spend some time planning meals to determine what types of meals are best to bring with you for your overnight hike. However, it is crucial to pack healthy meal options that provide you with enough protein and nutrients to make it through your nature exploration.
Preparing For Your Overnight Hike
Whether it is your first time hiking or have completed hiking trails before, preparing for the trip is crucial. You should evaluate the hiking trail by map before arriving at the nature reserve to know more or less what to expect. It is also a great idea to research the hiking trail to determine what kind of wildlife is occupying the area. This will uncover potential extras you may need to bring along to keep yourself safe while hiking. It is also crucial to evaluate the weather predictions to avoid lousy weather where possible. Even though weather predictions are not always entirely accurate, you will be able to prevent hiking through large storm threats and weather conditions that are too harsh.