With the national lockdown still in full swing, many people have turned to outdoor spaces for a mental and physical pick-me-up. Hiking has increased in popularity across the country, as South Africans seek some peace and serenity in nature.
The key to an enjoyable active outing outdoors is in the preparation. Heading onto the mountain or into a reserve in the summer heat without a couple of essential items is going to lead to fatigue and a not so successful early-ending to the adventure. So, make sure you’ve got everything you need with you. Whether you’re an amateur hiker or are a keen hiker looking for some refresher tips, here are our picks for 8 hiking essentials this summer.
1. A hat and sunscreen
Whenever possible, avoid hiking in the hottest time of the day: Start your hike early in the morning when the sun is not at its strongest and the breeze is cool.
Whether you’re hiking in the morning or afternoon, make sure you wear a hat and sunscreen. Make sure you also have a good amount of sunscreen in your backpack or regular reapplication.
Before heading out on your hike, make sure that each and every hiker has his or her own water supply, and plan many hydrations stops along the way. Invest in a good water bottle for your hiking adventures, one that will keep your water cool and is easy to drink from on-the-go.
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3. An extra layer
The mountain can be an unforgiving place and the weather can shift at any moment. Always ensure you hike with an extra layer in your backpack in the event that the weather turns. Opt for a light-weight wool item with sleeves to protect you from the cold. Wool keeps moisture off the skin and is quick drying in the event of rain. It will keep you cool in the heat and warm in the cold.
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4. Basic first-aid kit
Don’t forget to take along a basic first-aid kit for the hike. a first-aid kit is essential when hiking with a group or by yourself as you never know what accidents may occur on the mountain. It’s better to be safe than sorry, even if it is just to deal with a blister.
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5. A torch
If you’re walking in the late afternoon, make sure you pack a torch just in case you’re delayed on your return. You never know what might happen on the mountain and a torch could prove to be a lifesaver.
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Of course, no hike is complete without good snacks. Whether it’s coffee and a rusk, an energy bar or apple when you reach half-way. Make sure to take more snacks than you need in case of an emergency on the trail. If you’re hiking with kids, take double the amount you’d normally pack to keep them energised and motivated to keep going.
7. Appropriate shoes and socks:
Anyone that has ever attempted a walk in slip-slops or slimline sneakers will tell you that there’s nothing more important than a good pair of walking shoes and socks. Don’t mess around when it comes to keeping your feet comfortable. Invest in a good pair of hiking shoes and hiking socks to avoid blisters and ensure you don’t slip and fall on rocks or slippery surfaces.
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8. A good backpack
This one is another no-brainer. If you’ve ever been on a long hike with a cheapie backpack then you’ll know the importance of having a hiking backpack that offers support in all the right places. If you’re keen to hike often you will want to invest in something that can not only carry everything you need but that can also sit comfortably on your back.
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