10 Essentials for Hiking: Beginner Edition - Botanica

10 Essentials for Hiking: Beginner Edition

Maya Porebska-Smith

Who’s ready to get outdoors this summer? One of the many perks of warmer weather is the chance to spend time in nature. There are lots of ways to get outside: head to the beach, go cycling, have a picnic in the park, etc. Hiking is one of our favorite ways to connect with the natural world. If you’re a novice hiker, you may not be sure about what to bring with you when heading out into the nature. Here’s our list of 10 essentials for hiking for beginners!

1. Navigation

Knowing where you’re going may sound like an obvious hiking essential but its crucial. Depending on the trail, you may want to bring a map, compass, GPS unit, or a personal locator beacon. Having a hard copy map is a good idea but you can also use this app which lets you download offline maps and keeps you on trail. The All Trails website is also a great place to start looking for a hike that’s right for you. Previous hikers can leave comments on the trails and current conditions. There are lots of filters that allow you to search for trails that are accessible by stroller, wheelchair, and dogs. This means you can plan your hikes according to the needs of the group, making spending time in nature an option for all.  If you’re in the Vancouver area, check out these 10 best beginner hikes!

2. Snack attack

10 essentials for hiking: snacksGoing on a hike often means you’re some distance from services and food. Bringing enough food is key for a successful hike. Lightweight, calorie-dense foods are best. Some of our favorite things to bring are nuts, seeds, or energy bars. Grab a container of Botanica’s Perfect Protein Vanilla and whip up a batch of these chocolate coconut protein bars, or high-fiber energy cookies! Both are perfect for a hike and packed with protein. Bringing extra food is always a good idea as you never know what might happen and you want to be prepared.

3. Drink, Drink, Drink!

Hydration is key when you’re hiking, so make sure to bring a water bottle. For longer hikes, consider getting a water reservoir as these fit into backpacks and allow you to carry more water comfortably. Depending on the length of the hike, you may run out of water. Not to worry, most trails include a place to refill water (lakes or streams), all you’ll need is a way to purify it.

There are lots of different ways to purify water, so find what works best for your adventure. You can use purification tablets, pocket-sized purifiers like the SteriPen, or a gravity fed purification systems, among other options. It’s always a good idea to make sure you know how your water purification system works before you head out and follow purification instructions. Once you have clean water, you might want to add some electrolytes to aid rehydration.

We also love adding a scoop of Botanica’s Perfect Greens to water or juice to make sure we’re fueling our bodies appropriately. For day hikes, make this refreshing detox green smoothie to bring along or enjoy it afterwards.

10 essentials for hiking: hydration

4. Layer Up

Temperatures change quickly on a hike, so dress in layers to adjust to changing weather and movement. Bringing rain gear, a warm hat, and fast-drying layers with help you stay cozy throughout your adventure. It’s always better to have more options than no options, so don’t hesitate to pack that extra layer!

5. Let there be light

Bring a headlamp and extra batteries to make sure you can see the trail and map. Having a source of light is not only handy for seeing where you’re going but can be used to signal to others in case of emergencies.

6. Sun Safety

One of the best parts about hiking is being outside. That also comes with some risks, like excessive sun exposure. A hat, spf, sunglasses, and sun-protective clothing should be used in all seasons. Regardless of temperature or cloud cover, practice sun safety at all times.

7. First Aid Basics

Blisters are common amongst hikers, but there’s lots of opportunity for more severe injury. Bring along supplies to treat illness and injury and make sure you are familiar with how to apply them. It can also be a good idea to get certified for CPR and have first aid training.

8. Fire Starter

Fires can keep you warm at night on an overnight hike (restrictions permitting), provide a place for making smores, or help signal for help. As you head out for your outdoor adventure, pack fire starter and a lighter or matches.

10 essentials for hiking: fire starter

9. Multitool or Knife

A knife or multitool is great for repairing gear or first aid! At the very least, you can use to cut up fruit as a snack.

10. Shelter from the Storm

If you end up injured, lost, or stranded, an emergency shelter is key. It provides protection from the elements and helps keep you safe while you recover or wait for help to arrive.

While this might seem like a lot of things to get sorted before you get outside, these are all things that will help you safe. Knowing how to stay safe in nature leads to successful hikes. These 10 essentials for hiking will equip you for some fun and amazing adventures. Happy trails!

About the Author

Maya Porebska-Smith

Maya Porebska-Smith

Maya is passionate about learning and constantly seeks to do so in new ways. She recently graduated from the University of British Columbia and is...

Learn More