8 Things You Should Have Whenever You Hit the Trail

Be prepared to handle almost any situation with these key items

When you set out for a hike, regardless of your plan, just about anything can happen. Although chance is part of the adventure, it’s no excuse for being unprepared. In the great outdoors conditions can change in a matter of minutes and you never know what any given day will bring. That’s certainly part of the excitement and as long as you’re prepared with a few key things and crucial knowledge, you can handle just about any situation that arises.

First Aid Kit
You’ve definitely heard this one before, but it's always a good idea to have one of these on hand. Opt for a small kit with the essentials (or better yet, one you assemble yourself). Massive kits will take up too much room and chances are if you run into trouble you'll start heading for help, so there’s no need for a ton of supplies.

Especially relevant in the summer, but important any time of year, be sure to pack enough water and then bring extra. Dehydration is a common problem that is made worse by long days outside and physical exertion. Bring backup water and also pack water purification tablets.

Quality Pack
Out on an adventure, you need a reliable pack to tote your gear and stand up to the elements. There are tons of options out there, if you’re wondering where to start check out our list of great packs.

Fire-Starting Device
Whether you prefer matches, a lighter or something a little more old school, you’ll need to be able to start a fire in an emergency. Waterproof matches are a popular choice for the woods, and the Strikeforce Firestarter is a reliable choice as well. This heavy duty sparkbar comes with a compartment to store dry tinder and with a little practice you’ll be starting fires in no time.

Power Bank
Phones, cameras, flashlights—they’re all part of modern day adventures, but they rely pretty heavily on power. Depending on where you are in the world or wilderness, you may not have access to an outlet. A quality power bank is crucial when you don’t have a foreign outlet adapter or when you don’t have an outlet at all. The Brunton Revolt 9000 charges a phone up to six times and can charge anything that plugs into a USB port. The heavy duty casing is impact and water resistant, basically it’s set for anything.

A Map
Even though modern technology has certainly come a long way, it’s not always perfect. Cellphones die and lose signals all the time; technology should never be your only means of direction. Buy a map of the area, learn how to use it and follow your course.

Bug Spray and Sunblock
You’ve heard it a million times, but you seriously won’t want to be without either bug spray or sunblock when you need them most. Anyone whose dealt with itchy bites or a bad burn could tell you that. When you’re looking to stock up, check out our list of best sunscreens.

A Flashlight
When you don’t know where your adventures will take you, it’s wise to bring along some light. A durable flashlight is a good option, but a headlamp might be better. The little light strapped to your head will leave your hands free and they’re far brighter than you think.

More Reading:
Essentials for Spring Day Hiking
7 Tips for Handling Hot Summer Hikes
Incredible American Hikes You Need to Take this Summer