Hiking is one of the most exciting pastimes one can have. People love to take up this adventurous activity during vacations or simply to get away from the busy world for some relaxation. This hiking buying guide will give you all the info you need to get started on your adventures.
Hiking is not just for fun, but it is also an excellent way to get exercise and keep yourself fit. It gives you the time to relax and calm yourself from any of your daily stress in nature’s breathtaking settings. And also, depending upon the location, you get to meet new people and experience exciting things.
However, this exciting activity requires a lot of careful consideration when it comes to being prepared. Weather is one of the most important factors when you are on a hike. But also, you may be fully aware of the fact that weather emergencies may occur at any time. Thus, you need to be well aware of all the problems that you are likely to face and be well equipped with all the necessary equipment.
Whether you are hiking for one or several days, carrying all the essential hiking tools is a must for every individual. From protecting yourself against potential threats to entertainment, you must be prepared with the essential hiking gear in order to have the best time possible without any hassle.
From your outfits and backpack to tent and tech tools, this article has got your back in helping you pack the right hiking gear for your next adventure.
Here is a complete hiking gear list with all the basic and important tools that you may need:
Backpacks are a classic for any adventurous trip. This is one of the most important pieces of hiking gear. It allows you to conveniently carry all your necessities on your back while leaving your hands completely free.
Here are the things you should look for while buying a Backpack:
Backpacks meant for hiking purposes should be made of high-quality materials such as extra-strong nylon, polyester, or canvas. The materials used in manufacturing your backpack will determine its durability. And we’re pretty sure that you don’t want to have to buy a new backpack every time you plan for a trip. Also, you may not want to take the risk of a worn-out backpack in the middle of your hike.
So, make sure only to buy heavy-duty backpacks made of the highest quality materials. This way, you can conveniently carry all your essentials and not worry about weighing down your backpacks. If you’d like to learn more about backpack materials, check out our guide on the Best Backpack Materials!
Size is another important factor you need to consider while buying a backpack. The size of your backpack depends mostly on the number of items you want to carry. Backpacks are available in all sizes: small, medium, large, extra-large, etc. Size generally refers to how much gear can fit inside of it, with another common measure being liters. A 20L backpack is quite small for hiking, while 30 or higher is quite large.
However, one notable thing you need to keep in mind is that the size of a backpack should be in proportion to your torso. This way, you can prevent any back pain or imbalance in weight.
Pick Necessity over Luxury:
The last thing you need to worry about while buying a backpack for hiking is its design or luxurious features. Picking necessity over luxury is the key. Luxurious backpacks may not provide the required protection and comfort while it comes to hiking. Also, they are very expensive compared to other available options in the market.
While choosing a backpack for hiking, it is best to pick a simple backpack with little to no design. The design could wear and tear out on your trip.
Different backpacks have different features. In a nutshell, the right backpack should have all the essential features that aid in your comfort. It should also have enough compartments and space to store up all your needs.
Some of the basic features that a convenient backpack should have are-
Several compartments – This allows you to organize and carry all your needs.
Waterproof or Water-resistant – You never know when you may face unexpected rainfall or other weather emergencies. Having a waterproof backpack protects all your essentials in such situations. Here is an article if you’d like to learn more about the best waterproof backpacks.
Sufficient Padding – Padding is an important feature to consider if you are carrying tech gadgets like laptops, chargers, phones, etc. in your backpack. Padded compartments provide extra security against any possible damages.
Adjustable straps – Almost all backpacks feature adjustable straps. This way, you can adjust the straps to your convenience and lessen any back pain or strain. Also, it is best to opt for padded straps.
On hikes, your feet tend to take on a majority of the work, from walking miles and climbing rocky areas, to carrying your body weight and other additional weight, etc. This is why it is so important for you to pick the right pair of hiking shoes or boots. If you need a new pair of hiking boots, feel free to check out our Hiking Boot Buying Guide.
By doing so, you can minimize the strain on your feet and also protect your feet from any dangerous situations. However, picking the right pair of hiking boots can be quite a challenge since there are varieties available in the market.
Here are the important things you should consider while buying hiking boots:
This is one of the most important aspects to consider while purchasing a pair of hiking shoes. The different types of materials used in manufacturing hiking boots are:
Full Grain Leather – Full grain leather boots are highly recommended for heavy hikers. If you are planning for a rigorous adventure, full-grain leather boots may be the perfect fit for you. These boots are highly durable, robust, and also waterproof.
Split grain Leather – Boots made of split-grain leather are preferred by many hikers as well. Split grain leather is generally mixed with nylon and is more breathable as compared to full-grain leather. However, these types of shoes may not be as water-resistant.
Synthetic material – Synthetic materials include nylon, polyester, canvas, etc. These types of shoes are lightweight and also dry faster as compared to other hiking boots. However, these shoes may not be ideal for heavy hiking trips, as they wear out pretty soon.
Interiors of the Hiking Boots:
The interiors of the boots usually determine the level of comfort and protection your boots can provide. The presence of a shank between the soles of your boots is essential. These shanks can protect your feet from any stones or sharp objects that might puncture through your soles.
Also, shanks are able to provide more comfort, balance, and grip. Another feature that can protect your feet is the presence of a thin plate right below the shank. This feature also helps in protecting your feet against bruises.
Different types of Hiking Shoes:
There are a variety of hiking boots to choose from. So, depending upon the location and period of your hike, you can opt for a pair of hiking boots or shoes that suit you best.
Hiking shoes – This type usually has a low cut design with flexible soles. These are a great pick for day hiking. If you are planning a short hike to some nearby places, hiking shoes can be ideal for you.
Hiking Boots – These shoes usually have mid-cut to high-cut designs. These boots can take a little more weight and workload as compared to hiking shoes. But these are not so suitable for rigorous adventures.
Backpacking Boots – These types of boots are most suitable for heavy and long hiking trips. These pairs of boots can bear maximum weight and workload. Also, they are excellent in providing comfort and protection. These types of boots have a high-cut design. However, these types require a longer time to break in.
If you have planned a hiking trip during winter and might face the snow, then crampons are a crucial gear item you must consider. Crampons are required for walking on snow or climbing frozen areas and slopes, and are therefore an essential part of a hiking gear list. There are different aspects of a crampon that you need to check, depending upon the location you have picked. If you would like more information and our personal recommendations, check out our Crampon Buying Guide.
Here are the basic requirements that you need to look for while buying a crampon:
Crampons are made of different metals such as steel, aluminum, or stainless steel. Steel and stainless steel crampons are suitable for basic mountain climbing. However, the only difference is that steel can be prone to rusting, while stainless steel is not. Aluminum crampons are ideal for ski mountaineering or climbing alpines. However, aluminum crampons tend to wear out sooner.
Aluminum crampons are lighter than steel crampons. However, being lightweight, it decreases their durability.
If you opt for plastic boots, vertical framed crampon is the ideal pick. However, hikers are now increasingly using leather and other synthetic boots. Thus, for such types of boots, horizontal frames are better suited. Also, horizontal frames have more flexibility and also tend to repel snow.
Compatibility of Crampons with your boots:
This is one of the most important aspects you need to consider while buying a crampon. Your safety depends largely on the compatibility of your boots with the crampon. If you have extra light boots, then you can opt for lightweight strap-on crampons.
While buying crampons, check the flexibility of your boot soles as well. Depending on that, you can choose the type of binding options for crampons. Different binding options include strap-on crampons, step-in, and hybrids.
However, strap-on crampons tend to fit most types of boots. So, if you have any doubts while buying a crampon, it is best to always opt for strap-ons.
Tents are a crucial part of any good hiking buying guide. They are your home away from home. So while buying a camping tent, there are several aspects you should look for. By reading this buying guide on camping tents, you can pick the right tent for your adventurous trip:
The size of the tent, meaning the capacity of accommodating, usually ranges from one to four persons. So depending upon the number of persons per tent, you can choose its size. While purchasing a camping text, you can easily check the number of persons it can accommodate, and then decide accordingly.
This is another important aspect to keep in mind while buying camping tents. You may want to keep the weight of the tent at a minimum, as carrying a bulky tent will only add more weight to your shoulders.
However, finding lightweight, practical tents is not a very big challenge. Today, most practical tents are made out of lightweight materials, yet they provide excellent protection and comfort.
You may want to check the weight of the tent along with the weight of the tools that come with it.
Space inside the Tent:
The space inside the tent can be termed as the tent’s liveability. This is another important aspect. The two most important things that come under a tent’s liveability are floor space and height.
The height may not be an issue if you plan on using the tent for sleeping purposes only. However, if you tend to spend more hours inside your tent, then checking the height can be helpful too.
Buying tents from a store, rather than online, can be more convenient. In this way, you can erect the tents and check them out before buying them.
The type of tent you need also depends upon the season or weather conditions in which you go for hiking trips. There are different types of tents available for different weather conditions.
For sunny and warmer days, you can opt for ventilated tents. Such tents are usually made of nylon materials.
There is a specific type of tent called the “three-season tents.” This type of tent is suitable for fall and spring seasons. They can protect you against strong rainfall and windy days.
Convertible tents are meant for most types of weather conditions. From warm to colder days, sunny to stormy days, you can convert such tents depending upon the weather condition. However, one drawback of these tents is their weight. They tend to be heavier than other types of tents.
Winter type tents or “four-season tents” are heavy-duty tents. They can withstand extreme weather situations. These tents are also suitable for locations with high-altitude.
Technology has become an important part of hiking and other activities, so we believe it warrants its own section in our hiking buying guide. There were not a lot of technological tools back then, which could have been helpful for hikers. But in this day and age, there has been a significant rise in technological tools which could be very helpful for you when you go on a hike.
Some of these technological tools could provide entertainment when you’re taking a break or about to sleep in your tent. Others could help you track your destination or help you get rescued if you get injured or get lost somewhere. Some of the essential tech tools which you should carry while going on a hike are:
A radio may be old tech, but it is still one of the most reliable sources of communication when you’re out on a hike. You can communicate with people even when there’s no cellular network. Plus, the batteries on these things can last for days, unlike mobile phones.
Power banks are extremely useful when going on hikes to provide that extra juice to your mobile phones and other electronics. That is why we have decided that it is an integral addition to our gear list. It is always wise to carry a bunch of them because you might find it difficult to charge your phones when you’re out hiking in the open. Besides, they are extremely portable since they are light and do not take up much space in your backpacks. Most of the power banks can be charged with solar power these days. Get one of those for your hike.
A GPS system could be very helpful if you’re going out hiking in a new location for the first time. It is a modern alternative to a traditional compass. They can help you find your way and show you the exact location of where you want to go. Carrying this tech tool in your backpack can save you a lot of time. You do, however, need to make sure that you get a hiking GPS with trail maps and connection wherever you are.
A camera might seem like a strange addition to a hiking buying guide. If you want to capture all the beautiful moments from your hike, then you should definitely carry a camera with you. These are memories you’ll treasure forever. You can find several cameras which are suitable for hiking. If you’d like our recommendations, you can check out our best hiking camera buying guide.
Portable Bluetooth speakers:
If you want some kind of entertainment while on a hike, then a portable speaker can be a great way to have some fun. You can use it to play music on the go without any power source.
Most of the portable speakers available are very rugged and suitable for outdoors. They have waterproof and dustproof features. They also have long battery lives. But if you ever run out of juice on these devices, you can always use your power bank to charge them up.
If you don’t want to bring a speaker, it is vital that you bring headphones. Music is crucially important to stay happy and sane on the trails, and without the ability to play it your spirits will be much lower.
You will find several portable stoves in the market these days. These stoves are extremely helpful when it is time for you to eat during a hike. You can cook your own meal or warm up your food without putting in much effort. They are easy to operate and come in multiple sizes. And also, by carrying a portable stove, you will not have to make a fire every time you want to cook your meal.
Even if you don’t plan on staying out after dark, a good headlamp is essential for any hiking trip. You never know what could go wrong, and it is crucial that if you’re stuck on a trail after dark that you are able to see.
If you need a headlamp, you can check out our list of our 7 favorite headlamps.
A practical survival kit is a must-have tool sure to appear on any hiking buying guide or gear list. The most important thing while going out on a hike is your safety. You should always carry a survival kit with essential items along with you. This way, you will be prepared to face any life-threatening scenarios.
Some of the items which you should carry in your survival kit are:
Water is essential for your life. Carrying a portable water filter may save your life if you ever run out of water or get lost in your hike. Fresh drinking water is not always available, so you must take up the initiative of providing yourself with fresh water in order to survive. These water filters come in various forms and sizes. You can check out our article on the best hiking water filters.
Reflective mirrors are specially designed for hiking. They are extremely reflective compared to an average mirror. You can use the reflection of this mirror to alert someone if you are injured and unable to move. These mirrors are small, but they can save your life.
First Aid Kit:
One of the essential items which you should carry as part of your survival kit is a First Aid Kit. Injuries can happen during a hike. It may happen to you or your friend. During these situations, this First Aid Kit can help treat those small injuries before help arrives.
You cannot always depend on the sunlight if you’re going out hiking. It can become difficult for you to see once it gets dark. Even on cloudy days, lighting could become an issue. Carrying a flashlight or a lamp can help you move forward even when it’s dark. It could also help you set up your tent at night.
You can find some military-grade flashlights which are perfect for hiking. These flashlights are extremely rugged and powerful. They also have SOS features which can help you in difficult situations. As important as the flashlight is the batteries. If you are bringing a flashlight, you need to bring extra batteries for it. The last thing you want is to be stuck with a flashlight that doesn’t work, in the wilderness, in the dark.
Waterproof, windproof lighter:
A lighter is an essential item for your survival kit. These waterproof, windproof lighters are great for any type of condition. You can make a fire out in the woods with no issues.
The type of hiking gear you need will most likely differ from one location to another and under differing weather conditions. Along with the hiking gear, you must also make careful considerations while packing your foods and other necessities.
Whether you are a beginner or an expert in planning hiking trips, always make sure to double-check your hiking gear and consider every aspect of the trip. If you plan to hike for several days and weeks, be well equipped with all the survival kits as well.
Hiking can be a really fun and blissful experience. However, you should be well aware of all the possible threats you may face. And also, be ever ready with all the necessary hiking equipment to tackle any situation.