If it’s been a little while since you last took an outdoorsy vacation, you may need to add a few items to your packing list. Even if you’re hiking a new trail or traveling at a different time of year than you did before, you can still optimize your packing and travel smart. Here is a smart selection of the most important items you would want to pack for your outdoorsy vacation:
Photo by Toomas Tartes
1. Protect Your Feet
Hiking places stress on your feet as the miles add up, so your choice of footwear can make your day seem to float by, or make you feel like you’re about to crash. Hot summer days often end in late afternoon thunderstorms, so you’ll want to be ready if it gets muddy when you’re out on a trail. Keep your footing with a tread meant to handle slick surfaces. Work boots can double as great hiking boots due to their durability and slip-resistant design.
3. Let Your Gear Match Your Destination
According to the National Park Service, tennis shoes are great for walking in the city but on unpaved roads, rubber soles are your friend. Additional ankle support also helps, making boots your footwear of choice. Don’t forget an extra pair of socks. Choose a style that will wick away sweat during long summer hikes, and that will dry quickly after a rainstorm.
3. Stay Dry
While an umbrella or a tarp might keep you dry at your campsite, a raincoat or poncho will feel more practical on the trail. If camping overnight, the National Park Service recommends not just a sturdy tent, but also a repair kit. When hiking it’s better to be prepared for the unexpected.
4. Bring Healthy Food and Ample Water
On an outdoorsy vacation, you may engage in more exercise than normal, so hunger and thirst can come as a surprise. However, dehydration is a serious health concern and since some of the symptoms include confusion and fatigue, plan to stay hydrated before you set out on a hike. It is recommended to pack more food and water than you think you will actually need. A missed trail marker could add a few additional hours of hiking on top of what you planned.
5. Take Your Cell Phone or Personal Locator Beacon
Not only can you take some great pictures of your hike, you can keep yourself safer in the event of an accident just by keeping your cell phone charged and working. The built-in GPS will make it easier for rescue services to locate you in the event of a fall, or you can call for help if you get lost. Invest in a carrying case meant for rugged conditions: one that is meant to withstand significant impacts and/or water damage. If you’re hiking in a rural zone without cell service, it is recommended a Personal Locator Beacon.
Once you have these essential items, you can fill a bag with other small-but-smart gems, like bug spray, a first aid kit, and sunglasses. Top off your packing list with a nice protective hat to keep excess sun off your face and neck. Now, you’re ready to enjoy your vacation!
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