10 Affordable Hiking Essentials That Are A Must For Every Hiking Trip

Beginner or lifetime trekker, you'll definitely need these on your next excursion!

Whether you're a seasoned wanderer or just beginning to dip your toes into lush trails it's never a bad idea to come prepared for the day, or days, ahead. While hiking looks quite simple, especially with social media influencers taking seemingly effortless selfies atop Machu Picchu, a lot of the time it can be deceptively difficult! 

Researching the terrain you're about to delve into can be an amazing indicator of what essentials you'll need on your travels. That being said, contrasting ecosystems do call for different supplies, but there are a few failsafe hiking accessories that almost always prove to be necessary.

Here's a compiled list of just some of my personal favorites.

1. Trusty Water Bottle

guy drinking water
Image Source: Bit Cloud on Unsplash

Bringing any sort of water container is an absolute must, even in our day-to-day outings. Of course, a plastic water bottle will do just fine in a pinch, but keeping your water cool all day is usually the best option in staying properly hydrated. Storing your water in a temperature-secure thermos is the perfect solution to warm weather exploration.

2. Snacks

granola bar
Image Source: Jade Wulfraat on Unsplash

Maintaining a balanced energy level while hiking is vital to having a positive experience. In order to fight muscle fatigue while persistently exerting your body, it's important to eat before your departure and to stop semi-frequently for snacks. Buying hiking-style go bars can add up, so why not do the next best thing? Make your own!

3. Back Pack

hiker with back pack
Image Source: Chris Altamirano on Unsplash

Perhaps one of the easiest guesses on our list of must-haves, but hey, it's obvious for a good reason!

Without a good backpack, waist bag, or some sort of secure carrier, hiking would possess a lot more challenges. A lot of travelers rely on their pack to keep their items safe and dry, and while you can purchase a new backpack, a regular school bag will more than suffice for holding your valuables.

4. First Aid Kit

carry first aid for a hiking trip
Image Source: Diana Polekhina on Unsplash

It's almost inevitable to not get some kind of scratch on hiking trips. Thankfully, the majority of people either only suffer a small scratch or maybe even a blister from their new hiking boots while out and about. Ensuring the safety of yourself and those around you by carrying a first aid kit, no matter the difficulty or length of the hike is a great proactive measure to take. 

5. Head Lamp

head lamp for better visibility while hiking
Image Source: Wander Creative on Unsplash

Time escapes all of us. One minute you want to take a peek at a hidden trail, or maybe even stop for lunch, then before you know it it's already dusk and you're 30 minutes away from your car. Carrying a headlamp in your backpack can be a key part of making sure you get back to your vehicle safe and sound. Carrying a flashlight or using your phone would work as well but sometimes going hands-free can be just a bit nicer.

6. Extra Layers

layered jackets hiking
Image Source: Jan Crhonek on Unsplash

Preparing for your day by checking the weather is the first step to any successful exploration. Even if the weather seems tolerable it's smart to bring an extra sweater, hat, or pair of socks, just in case the weather changes suddenly. Deciding what extras to bring will be dependent on not only the current weather but also where you might be hiking.

7. Toilet Paper

carry toilet paper on your hiking trip
Image Source: Erik Mclean on Unsplash

Possibly one of the most overlooked hiking items, toilet paper. When you're an hour into your hike and you've got to go, it's not very likely that you'll find a bathroom in time. Used toilet paper should be bagged and carried out until the end of your hike, where it can be disposed of in a garbage can, however, if you've forgotten your toilet paper there are plenty of natural swaps you can make while in the woods!

8. Waterproof Matches

water proof matches
Image Source: Jamie Street on Unsplash

On the off chance, you'll be spending a night in the woods, keeping warm should be the first thing on your mind, besides knowing the way back out. Making a shelter and building a fire to keep you warm, along with wearing those extra layers, will be the core to keeping you safe and warm for the night. Bringing regular matches will be just fine but if you can get ahold of waterproof matches, the result of fire will be more secure in the event of the weather changing drastically.

9. Sunscreen

Image Source: Lina Verovaya on Unsplash

Hiking in warmer weather can, unfortunately, be often accompanied by heatstroke. Even if the heat isn't unbearable, it's still a good idea to wear sunscreen, as the UV rays can still cause detrimental damage to your skin.

An excellent way to avoid too much sun is to wear sunscreen, gravitate to shady areas, cover up any exposed skin with breathable material, take frequent breaks, and drink lots of water. 

10. Knife

multi tool
Image Source: Kiko Camaclang on Unsplash

A multi-purpose tool like a swiss army knife can be your best friend if you ever lose your way in the woods. This lightweight pocket tool can allow you to start a fire, build a small shelter, make a burner out of a tin can, and help dress wounds. While the potential is incredibly high with swiss army knives they can also be used in more mundane ways like opening a can, filing your nails, and cutting a piece of cloth or bandage.

Our world is an outstandingly vast place that offers an endless supply of life-changing adventures. Contrary to what the majority of people believe, traveling internationally isn't necessary to experience the beauty of the earth. Exploring locally can be just as rewarding as flying across the ocean to see a tourist hot spot.

Next time you decide to wander out into the unknown hopefully you'll put some of these hiking accessories to the test!

Just a 'lil content creator from the Okanagan interested in worldly exploration and self reflection.

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