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Gear Essentials for an Overnight Hike

by Chris Pivik » on Jun 04, 2018 0

Chris Pivik Gear Essentials

Heading out into nature is an excellent way to clear your head and get some great exercise. After enjoying many day trips, I decided to move on to longer multi-day hikes a few years ago. The key to enjoying a safe, successful outing is preparation. And once you invest in a minimal amount of high-quality gear (including a pair of comfy minimalist shoes), you can use it over and over again.

Here’s what to make sure you have on hand.

Refillable Water Bottles

While this seems like an obvious packing choice, it’s important to consider how many ounces of water you’ll need per day. No matter what the weather, you will sweat more than you think and it is vital to stay hydrated. If I’m not sure whether there will be a clean, available water source, I always err on the side of caution and pack more than I think I’ll need. Collapsible, flexible water bottles or backpack reservoirs are a go-to for me.

A Properly Fitted Backpack

Going on a multiday hike means that your body will ache a bit more than usual as it takes on the additional wear and tear. Reduce back pain by wearing an ergonomically designed hiking pack that has been fitted specifically to your body. By distributing the load evenly on your hips and shoulders, you will be more comfortable. Plus, I love that my backpack has features such as a whistle, compression straps and an easily reachable pocket for a phone, camera, GPS.

Wool Socks 

If you don’t want to have giant blisters, it is vital to wear 100% wool socks on your hike – trust me, you will thank me on this one. Wool socks allow your feet to breathe and help to prevent blisters, as opposed to cotton socks which retain sweat, causing friction and hot spots. Properly fitting hiking shoes or boots will give you support and traction. If minimalist trail shoes are not going to be feasible for certain weather or terrain, I also own a taller pair of boots with extra ankle support.

Layers of Clothing

The temperature may change dramatically from hour to hour or while gaining elevation on your hike. I like to layer my clothing so I can remove or add it when I become hot or cold. Choose moisture wicking fabrics to stay comfortable and dry. Resist the urge to wear a cotton sweatshirt and put on a fleece or a long-sleeved athletic layer instead. A cap will shade your face from the sun and help protect your skin, although you should wear and carry sunscreen, too. Depending on the location of your hike, you may need to bring a winter cap and light gloves, no matter what the season.

Challenging yourself in the great outdoors brings both physical and mental rewards. Don’t forget to spend some time researching available gear to see what is best for you. I hope these tips encourage you to explore some beautiful scenery on your own two- to three-day hike.

Chris Pivik is an avid hiker and outdoorsmen who has gone on expeditions to multiple continents and knows Virginia trails like the back of his hand. Follow Chris on Instagram, Twitter or Medium.

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