Hiking is a great way to stay healthy and enjoy the great outdoors. It’s something that many people could use in their life. In fact, 43% of Americans live a lifestyle in which they are mostly sedentary, which leads to a whole host of health problems.

So get out there and hit the trail. Enjoy the sun and the crisp forest air. Just make sure to bring the proper hiking essentials.

Don’t know what to pack? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Read on to learn a few of the absolute essentials you need for a safe and enjoyable hike!

1. Navigation Equipment

One of the coolest parts of hiking is being able to explore an area you’ve never been to. The experience can quickly turn sour if you get lost though. That’s why it’s important to bring the essential navigation equipment.

It’s important to have a topographic map and a compass and to know how to read them! A map will never lose battery or signal, so learn how to use them and keep a nice waterproof one with you!

In addition, it’s a good idea to have a GPS. Sure, you can use your cell phone for GPS, but what happens when you lose signal? Having a dedicated satellite GPS unit may be a better option in case your phone isn’t cutting it. 

2. Personal Locator Beacon

A personal locator beacon (PLB) isn’t just a piece of cool hiking gear, it could save your life! This is a device that you can use to signal emergency personnel if something goes wrong when you are off the beaten trail. 

In 2003, avid hiker Aron Ralston set off to enjoy southeastern Utah’s beautiful canyons. Then, disaster struck and he ended up pinned under a rock. We’ll spare you the gory details, but let’s just say, it was eventful enough that they made a movie out of his story: 127 Hours.

If he’d had a PLB with him, he may have been able to avoid his unfortunate situation.

3. Headlamp

Even if you don’t plan to be out after dark, you never know what is going to happen. Finding your way in the dark can be next to impossible, so having a headlamp can be really handy.

The fact that’s it’s wearable and leaves your hands free is crucial as well. You’ll be better equipped to handle any situation if you can see and both your hands are free.

Don’t Leave Home Without the Hiking Essentials

As the Boyscouts say, “Be Prepared!” Hiking can be a lot of fun, but it can be even better with the right gear to ease your mind and let you really enjoy nature. That’s why you should never leave home without your hiking essentials!

Remember, whenever you spend time in the woods, it’s important to check yourself for ticks! Lyme disease is serious and you want to stay safe. Check out this article for more information!

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