I very distinctly remember one year my parents surprised me and my sister with the news that we were going to be going on a camping trip for our summer vacation. I was maybe 10 or 11 years old, and the first thing I thought about was the fact that we were going to go camping, and the next logical step was that we would then be eaten by bears.
Yes, bears. Because that’s what happens to every preteen girl who goes camping.
Somehow I convinced my sister of the same fate and we whined about it enough that our parents didn’t end up taking us. I had somehow convinced myself that I wasn’t an outdoorsy girl, and that I wouldn’t love spending time outside because things like bears and bugs and spiderwebs could make it too icky.
Fast forward a few years and I marry a man who loves the outdoors. We move to Colorado where hiking isn’t easy, but it IS fun and I just fell in love. The fresh air was doing wonders for me and I loved the way hiking helped me to explore our new state. Fast forward another few years and I have two adventurous boys who need outdoor time in a way I’d never experienced. After consistently making sure they get outside time, though, what I’ve noticed is that I have started to crave it too. I look for moments where I can carve out some alone time in nature, just me, to recharge and boost creativity and motivation.
I won’t call myself a professional by any means, but I have learned that I have nine things that make a good hike even better. These are just things that I love and wanted to share – I hope you enjoy them too!
- Camelbak Lobo Pack. My pack is an old one, but this one is close to it. I took the bladder out a long time ago because it was old and I didn’t want to replace it, but this pack has turned out to be such a lifesaver when I’m out with my kiddos. I love that it’s small and compact, and it clips together in the front which makes it easier to carry all the stuff AND the boys!
- A good water bottle – I like my Swell because it’s pretty compact and light and fits well in the pack. It’s so important to stay hydrated when you’re on the trail, no matter how long or short the hike is!
- A small first aid kit is always in my pack. I learned the hard way hiking with my oldest that it’s always a good idea to be prepared for injuries. Obviously you can’t be prepared for everything, but some bandaids, ointment, sanitizing cloths, etc. can make all the difference.
- A pocket knife. Honestly I don’t know a lot about pocket knives, but I do feel significantly safer when I have one with me. I make fun of my husband talking about being prepared all the time, but honestly it is smarter to be safe and prepared.
- Gum. I feel almost silly throwing this in there but it really is something I keep on my at all times when I’m hiking. More than anything it’s to help keep my mouth from drying out and not having to stop for water too often – but it tastes nice too 😉
- Sunscreen. SO SO SO important to protect your skin whenever you’re outside. For so long I didn’t think I needed to, and my skin has started to pay the price by showing signs of sun damage from years of tanning and not wearing sunscreen. I love Beautycounter’s Protect All Over sunscreen – it’s safe, it’s effective, and that’s all I need to know!
- A hat! I wear a hat almost every day for the main purpose of hiding unwashed hair, but it’s also key for hiking too. I wear mine for sun protection and to help wick away sweat. And the whole unwashed hair thing too 😉
- Good shoes. I totally realize that there are hiking-specific shoes, but my thought process is that as long as there is a good amount of tread and your feet are comfortable in them? They’re probably just fine. I love the Wave Rider shoe from Mizuno for pretty much anything; I got them years ago for a blogging project and they’ve been amazing ever since!
- A phone – taking pictures, calling for help, listening to music or podcasts, all of it – how lucky are we to be able to do everything from our phone? I try to keep mine in my pack as much as possible (don’t want to be distracted!), but I never go hiking without it fully charged.
Those are my basics – any additions y’all would like to make? I’m always up for learning!