No matter where you are, what adventure you are experiencing or what sticky situation you find yourself in, a decent outdoors watch is one of the best and most important tools you can arm yourself with. They are so much more than just a timepiece – they are a vital accessory.
From GPS and activity tracking, heart rate monitors and compasses, they are jam packed with features to help keep you safe and enjoy whatever it is you are doing. Our guide to some of the best GPS watches for hiking is useful to find one that has all of the features that you might need. However, as much as we love a good watch, there are a few other tools that are essential for your outdoor pursuits.
In this article, we explore a few things that we think everyone should have in their kit bag when going out on a hike.
Durable and lightweight bag
One thing is certain: whether you are heading out for a day hike, or planning a longer journey, traveling light is of utmost importance. You absolutely do not want to be carrying an overfilled and heavy pack. It will take all the joy out of any excursion, and in any dangerous situations, can stop you moving quickly. When possible, pack only the most essential gear and make sure your bag is ultra light and fits ergonomically with your body. Eagle Creek have a range of bags suitable for all adventures.
If you’re planning on going out into the wilderness, it’s imperative that you have something to protect you. From bears to deer, you’re quite isolated in the middle of nowhere, and you never know when you might need something. Not only that, if your food source runs low, you are in a position to hunt for food. We recommend having a look around to see what the best ar 15 scope is on the market.
First Aid Kit
If you take nothing else, make sure you have this in your kit bag. Before each pursuit, consider the environment you are traveling through, and pack accordingly. Heading to an area populated with snakes? Carry a broad pressure bandage. In the middle of nowhere? Take a rehydration sachet. Each trip might need something different, so think ahead. In a typical first aid kit, we would suggest the following: medical tape, antiseptic wipes, dressing/gauze, small clean utility tool, antihistamine tablets and some pain relief (paracetamol etc). For more information on what to include, take a look at this website.
Calorie Dense Food
You don’t want to be carrying around a heavy bag full of food, but it is important that you have some nutritious, but more importantly, calorie dense food in your kit bag. A lack of calories can mean a lack of energy, and if you’re out there in the great outdoors, you need plenty of energy. Think about taking foods containing electrolytes such as sodium and potassium for energy, and complex carbs for sustained power. A range of non-perishable and easy to carry snacks such as dried fruit, salted nuts, trail mix and energy bars are a good idea. Make sure you have somewhere to store all the leftovers and rubbish as well.
Water bottle and filer
Keeping hydrated throughout the day is of paramount importance – becoming dehydrated can be extremely dangerous. Take as much safe drinking water as you can carry, but also prepare for the possibility of running out with a portable water filter. Many inexperienced hikers make the rookie error of thinking clear water from a brook or river as being safe to drink – but it isn’t always. Untreated water may contain parasites, bacteria and other waterborne illnesses that can make you very unwell. A filter allows you to purify water and get rid of as many of impurities as impossible if you do need to dip into a natural water source.
An emergency contact
It’s vital that you let others know where you are going, even if you are an experienced hiker. If something does go wrong, it is always better to be safe rather than sorry. Let a family member or a friend know what time you are leaving and when you expect to be back, and what route you are taking. It’s basic information, but could save your life if something that you are not expecting happens. Make sure you have an emergency contact card in your kit bag with the details of someone on it, so if you are found unresponsive for any reason, the emergency services can get in touch.
Hopefully, these items, alongside your fully functional GPS watch, will allow you to have a safe and enjoyable hike.