A day spent hiking in the great outdoors is a fantastic family adventure that hikers of all levels can enjoy. To make sure that your excursion is as pleasant as a nice breeze, it’s important to pack a few essentials along the way. Nothing ruins a hike like realizing you’ll have to turn back because you forgot to pack enough snacks or getting lost along the way. Here are six outdoor essentials, from bento lunch box to bivy sack, that you should be sure to stash in your hiking backpack.
You may think that navigation tools are unnecessary for a short hike, but it’s always best to be prepared for the worst case scenario. If you do get turned around, a GPS device or map and compass can save you from panicking. A map and compass are perfect tools because they don’t require batteries to be used. A compass with a sighting mirror can also be used to signal for help in an emergency. For shorter hikes, a GPS device or cell phone with navigation capabilities can also work out well. Just be sure that everything is charged ahead of time, and carry extra batteries or power packs to avoid being stranded without a way home.
Bento Lunch Box
Using a Bento lunch box is the perfect way to store all the food you need for a hike. They have multiple compartments, making it easy to pack different types of food in one container. This helps save space inside your backpack for other important items. Their compact size also makes it easy to bring extra food that can be eaten if your hike takes longer than expected for any reason. By packing several types of food in one container, you can also avoid using packaged food or zip-top bags that will result in trash that will need to be carried around for the rest of the hike. Kangovou’s bento lunch boxes, available online, are double insulated to keep foods as hot or cold as necessary without transferring temperatures to the outside of the box. Be sure to pack dense, nutrient-rich foods, like dried fruit and nuts, to give you fuel for the day.
First Aid Kits
A first aid kit can help you fix small issues before they get bigger or stabilize a person if they are seriously hurt. A basic kit should include adhesive bandages, antibiotic ointment, blister treatments, pain relief medication, allergy medicine, gauze, and tweezers for removing splinters. This basic kit will be able to resolve most small issues encountered on hikes, including scrapes and headaches. Splints, wraps, a thermometer, gloves, and glucose and rehydration salts can be packed for longer or more strenuous trips to ensure that you’re protected, no matter the situation. Serious and casual hikers alike will benefit from taking a basic first aid class to help them feel confident in providing help in various situations. Classes focused on outdoor emergencies may also be available.
While a knife can be handy, a good multi-tool is indispensable. These gadgets, like Swiss army knives, contain several features that can be helpful on your hike. Most contain a knife, pliers, tweezers, scissors, and a carabiner or clip for easy storage. Some also have bottle openers, which can be use to pry small things away, as well as screwdrivers, which can help make repairs in a pinch. They can be packed with features or contain just a few, so it’s easy to find a quality multi-tool for any type of budget and hike.
Matches are small and lightweight, making it easy to toss them in your hiking kit — just in case. You can also bring along a small lighter, instead. Cotton balls soaked in Vaseline can be used as tinder to help start your fire even faster. They should be stored in sealed zip-top bags to avoid a mess in your backpack. Starting a fire can be helpful for keeping warm on an overnight hike, cooking food, or signaling for help if necessary. Be sure to keep a careful watch on your fire, and extinguish it and start a new one if it appears to be getting too large. Campfires have been known to start forest fires that burn thousands of acres, and it’s important to never leave a campfire unattended.
No one likes to think that they may need to spend an unplanned night under the stars, but it’s smart to prepare for the possibility. If you get lost, encounter torrential rain or a drop in temperature, or need a break from the hot sun, an emergency shelter can provide you with a safe place to rest. Many hikers carry tarps and cord so that they can string together a simple tent between tree branches. This type of shelter can easily block the sun and rain, giving you a comfortable place to rest. For colder climates, a bivy sack can be a lifesaver. These sleeping bag-style sacks can keep you warm on a cold night and help you wake up refreshed and ready for the new day.