5 Equipment Essentials for Your Long-Distance Hiking Routine

Long distance hiking is a very challenging, but rewarding sport. You get to see things that you would never be able to see otherwise, and get to face new challenges that the landscape presents you. By the time you are finished with your hike, you will be so proud of yourself for completing it and just itching to go again. Long distance hiking is not just a stroll around the mall, it is physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging, and you have to be prepared to be successful.

Along with the equipment you need to bring on your hike, stretching beforehand should also be one of your main priorities. Stretching prepares your body for the intense physical activity it will endure and prevents possible injuries. It will help reduce the soreness in your muscles when you are finished with your hike.

Check out these 5 equipment essentials that will also contribute to your successful hiking trip.

Quality Footwear

Comfort is essential for hiking, but that doesn’t mean you need a lot of stuff. It means that you should wear clothes and hiking boots that fit you well and support your body. Quality hiking boots are worth the money. They have the job of protecting your feet from cut, punctures, and even falling objects.

If you are going on a hike with new footwear, it is essential that you understand how to break in new boots. There are different methods to stretch out the areas that pinch your feet using water, oil, or a stick. However, wearing your new boots before you actually go hiking is the best way to break them in.

Buy hiking boots that fit you fairly well in the first place, but the two-week process of breaking them in could help them fit better.

Shelter System

When you are going long-distance hiking, you should bring some sort of tent or shelter system. This shelter system needs to be small and light enough for you to carry in the pack on your back, but it should also provide adequate protection from the elements.

Some hikers will bring a hammock instead of a tent. Depending on where you are going hiking, this may be a viable option, but it is entirely up to your personal preference. Regardless of which shelter system you go with, it should be light, since you have to carry it, and durable, so it doesn’t rip or tear and to protect you from the weather.

Sleeping Bag

Bringing the correct sleeping bag is essential to the success of your hike. Many hikers go out when the temperature drops below freezing at night. This means that your sleeping bag has to be able to withstand those temperatures. Sleeping bags are rated based on the temperature they are meant for, so be sure to bring one that will keep you warm.

Sleeping bags are made of two insulation materials. The ones made with down are lighter and easier to compress into a smaller size, which is ideal if your goal is a light pack.

Synthetic insulation usually fares better in damp weather and is less expensive. You should bring the best quality pack for where you are going.

Water and Purification System

Hydration is extremely important to your success on a hike, but it is also really heavy. Depending on where you are going, you should consider how much water you should initially take. Some places have more adequate water sources than others, so you may not need to bring as much water than if you were going hiking in a desert.

Even if you do bring enough water for the entire trip, you should budget for needing more. The best way to do this is to bring a water purification system. These can range from small inexpensive systems that will get the job done, to much more elaborate systems that are worth the price.

Bringing a water purification system will cut down on your need to bring water with you initially, since you will be able to drink the water along the trail.

Pack System

Your pack system is arguably one of the most essential pieces of equipment you will need for your long-distance hiking routine. Simply put, the lighter your pack, the farther you can go. The pack system is different from your shelter and your sleeping bag. It is the system that holds everything together in a small enough bundle that you can carry on your back.

In addition to the other things mentioned in this list, your pack should contain your hygiene essentials, cooking ware, and extra clothing. You want your pack to be highly water resistant, not waterproof. If it is waterproof, you will come to rely on it, and will be in trouble if you get a hole in it.

Choose a light, water resistant pack and pair it with a few dry bags to keep your essentials safe. 

No doubt the best backpacking backpack you choose will make your adventure into the wilderness more enjoyable. Just remember to keep it light.

Final Thoughts

Cheryl Strayed, the woman who wrote the book Wild, took that trip as a first-time hiker. Looking back, she has said that she would consider taking fewer items with her on the hike. She even still has the pack that she named Monster, and she still uses it. She bought quality long distance hiking gear, that has lasted her over a decade.

When going on a long-distance hike, you need to consider the most essential pieces of equipment to take along with you. Wear quality hiking boots and clothing for comfort, and make sure to bring a light and durable shelter, sleeping bag, and pack. Your water and purification system could change your life, so don’t forget them, and have the time of your life on your hike.