Every hiker when considering a hiking route or a trekking of several days is asked the same question What to bring? In Material for Hiking we are going to try at least to give you the guidelines for a basic and essential equipment. Of course, each route and each season of the year determines the products in this list that we are going to detail.
Having the above points clear, let's get down to work.
Today we have a large number of backpacks at our disposal, each with its own characteristics. Techniques, walking, attack, designed for mountaineering, trekking, climbing, running. Choosing not only the backpack that best suits us but also the one that is oriented to the activities that we are going to develop with it is a difficult task. The volume of the rucksack also has to cause us doubts, being an intermediate capacity, on 25l to 35l, the one that surely more game can give us.
The hiking poles are another great ally of the hiker, providing stability in difficult terrain and reducing the workload to which we subject the legs. Although it is very important to know how to use this material correctly to get the most out of it and not become a stick that we walk from one place to another in the mountain.
In many occasions they will pass many kilometers without you finding a source where to drink. At the moment you have modern water bottles of little weight and easy transport. You can also take the typical disposable plastic bottle but remember that for health reasons they cannot be wrinkled or folded, and please do not leave it lying around. Don't forget to bring the necessary food for the route you are doing. Proper nutrition and hydration are vital.
Preparing the route in advance is a job we must always do, knowing the characteristics of the route and the terrain through which it runs undoubtedly improves our safety. Even so, the topographical map of the area where we are going to be and the compass, no matter how simple and well signposted the route we are going to follow, cannot be missing. These two elements can take us out of doubts in any moment of the itinerary.
For tastes the colors. Boots or shoes? that is the eternal question and the usual discussion. Not only the route or the state of the terrain will tip the balance between one option or another, also our experience is a factor to be taken into account. The boots will protect the ankle against possible blows and scratches, as well as giving us greater stability in the steepest terrain, especially if we add the weight of our rucksack. Today we have magnificent hiking and trekking boots that provide comfort, comfort and very good stability to the foot, without a great additional weight.
At present we can also find hiking and trekking shoes with great features when it comes to use them on our routes. Approximation shoes and even techniques that often put us in the dilemma of choosing them instead of the boots. As in previous cases, our experience and the characteristics of the route to be followed will surely make it clear to us that it is what we must choose in each case.
Ideally, it should be technical to help perspiration and have a quick drying so that the humidity of our sweat does not create problems. Long sleeve or short sleeve is another common question, sometimes if the route goes through wooded areas the long sleeve, even in summer, will protect us from scratches and irritations caused by plants.
As with the jersey the best thing is that it is technical for the same reasons we mentioned earlier. In winter, cordura trousers are probably a good choice. And our advice, although many people don't follow it, is to always wear long pants. Scratches and ticks among other things will be quite difficult to avoid otherwise.
Choosing the right socks is just as important as choosing the right backpack and footwear. They should not have seams, it is important that they evacuate the humidity well and therefore that they dry quickly. We also have socks with different characteristics depending on the activity and time of year.
On many occasions we find ourselves with a day when the wind reduces the wind chill, but our warm clothes are too powerful to wear them without overwhelming us with heat. These days a thin and simple wind cutter allows us to continue with our activity without problems, protected from the cold and without seeming to be stuck in a sauna.
We will usually spend many hours in the sun, so it is important to protect yourself as best as possible. A cap, headscarf or hat will take care of it without overwhelming us or adding a noticeable weight or volume. Without forgetting that they will also protect us from the cold.
Here as we have already commented previously the type of garment that we will have to take will depend on the time of the year. While in summer with a thin fleece lining, we usually have more than enough, in winter we will need one or more garments with a higher calorie content. The fiber garments give us a lot of game in exchange for little weight and volume.
As before, the market offers us a variety of garments according to each period. It is essential to maintain a good waterproof and breathable ratio so that we can wear it without problems for a long time in case of rain or to protect ourselves from the wind.
The gloves are one of those complements of our equipment for hiking or trekking that seem to have less importance. Not so, especially after seeing us a few hours at the mercy of rain or wind. We have gloves capable of providing comfort without taking up space in our backpack.
You should always carry a small first aid kit. In it in addition to the medicines you usually take, you should carry at least plasters, tape, gauze, scissors, tweezers, hypodermic needles, antiseptic, painkillers. And remember, only a doctor can prescribe medication.
There are many backpacks that already come with this essential article. If this is not the case, we can not miss in our material for hikers.
When we talk about carrying a headlamp in the backpack, with its relevant batteries charged, there is always someone who says, why do we carry it, if by nightfall it will already be time that we will be at home, also the route we will travel during the day. This is one of the elements of security that yes or yes must always accompany us.
If the rain gets any worse, we'll have to protect ourselves somehow. If the layer is wide enough and long enough, it can do this job like a charm, but the wind is a problem for it. The umbrella is also quite playful, but it's more weight and volume. Rain pants are another good idea, but if the rain catches you on the spur of the moment... they don't usually perspire well when worn for a long time.
Technology has come to stay and GPS is a security element that must always accompany us. Of course we should not fall into the error of entrusting one hundred percent of the orientation of the route to an electronic device, as these can fail and sometimes are not entirely accurate. Even so, a GPS with the track loaded of the route we are going to make can be of great help in case of need.
The environment in which we usually do our hiking or trekking routes is a changing environment and the weather even more so. We must always carry a thermal blanket in our backpack. This simple object will not only protect us from the cold, but also from the heat. For example, in summer it is not so rare that we or whoever accompanies us gives us a heat stroke and the thermal blanket will allow us to protect this person from the heat and sun.
Safety is very important when we do outdoor activities, but just as important is being able to communicate in case of an accident. Nowadays it is common that we always carry with us the mobile phone, but even so we should bring another way to communicate in case of need. Some Walkis Talkies thanks to channel 7-7 allow us to communicate an emergency and help other walkers in case of need.
Today mobile devices have become inseparable companions. But like any electronic device, the humidity and extreme conditions we may encounter do not usually suit them very well. This mobile phone case can be used to avoid a displeasure with this device.
When we talk about insect repellents we seem to have in mind the image of countries from other latitudes, or mosquito repellents that are usually used to protect babies or children from the annoying bites of these insects. But it would be a serious mistake to keep this image because not only they are exposed to the bites of mosquitoes, among other bugs.
A stream of crystal clear waters, a fountain of refreshing water in the middle of the mountain are perfect places to drink and replenish our canteen... or not? In the vast majority of cases not, however appetizing it may seem bacteria are usually present. It is important to purify the water we drink from them before drinking it, and a simple LifeStraw water filter will avoid many problems.
Of course protecting ourselves from the sun is essential, so we can not miss the sunglasses. In addition, by wearing them, we also protect our eyes from the wind and the particles it carries with it.
Unfortunately, when carrying out this type of activity we are subject to risks that we cannot control no matter how well we prepare the route, as we already know there is no such thing as zero risk. At our disposal we have several systems that help us to communicate our emergency and ask for help but unfortunately we will not always have them operational. Something as simple as a survival whistle can help us at any given moment to make ourselves heard and attract the attention of people who are close to us but who would not hear our cries.
I hope at least to have been able to bring some light to the arduous task ahead of us when deciding what to take with us on a hiking or trekking route. The best thing is to make a list with everything we think we need so that we don't forget anything. Nor is it a bad idea to try in the comfort of our home as everything is packed in the backpack, another of the critical points of every hiker, how to distribute the equipment in the backpack, but this remains for later.
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