When you go hiking, you just need a good pair of shoes and some simple comfortable clothes, right? While that’s basically true, there are a few great accessories that serious hikers should still bring along. Give some of these a try, and you may find you just can’t live without them.
Even if you think you don’t need these, you probably do. Without realizing it, you’re probably squinting in the sunshine. Over time, that causes your facial muscles to tense up. Wearing sunglasses not only protects your eyes from damaging UV rays, but also keep you from getting a headache.
Cell phone pouch
A cell phone pouch is the perfect way to keep your phone near you if you don’t have a pocket. The pouch slides right into the waistband of yoga pants or shorts and provides a secure spot for you to hold your phone. As a bonus, it can often make your phone’s step tracker more accurate.
High tech socks
Your socks could be holding you back. If you’re wearing regular cotton, you are probably living with painful blisters that limit how far and how fast you can hike. What you need is a thick, quality sock with fibers that don’t slip and slide under you foot and that wick sweat away.
If you hike where temperatures plummet in the winter, you should lay in a supply of hand warmers. Match these with gloves or mittens that have a pocket so you can insert one of these hand warmers straight in and you don’t have to worry about your hands freezing while the rest of you is toasty warm.
A good watch
Time can get away from you when you’re on a great hike. As mile after mile flows beneath your feet, it can be easy to forget where you are, how long you’ve been hiking, and when you need to stop. A good watch can also help you keep an eye on the barometric pressure, which lets you know if a storm is blowing up.
If you like to hike in the dark or in remote places, an emergency whistle is a light-weight object that can literally save your life. If you should take a fall or otherwise have an issue when hiking, you’ll be very glad of a way to alert rescuers to your presence.
Once your trail game really gets going, if it hasn’t already, you’ll start to notice a lot of chafing and blistering. This can be especially a problem if your sports bra or shirt doesn’t fit just right; but it can happen to anyone. An anti-chafe balm will keep this from being a problem.
If you’re not already wearing neon reflective clothing on your travels, it’s time you started. It is never safe to hike along the road — even in daylight — without brightly-colored, reflective gear that alerts cars to your presence. Although lots of people are active, drivers just aren’t looking for people alongside the road, especially at night and in the early morning on the way to work.
If you hike or walk at night, reflective gear might not be enough. Wearing a hat or beanie with a light installed not only makes you more visible, but also lets you see better where you’re headed through places that aren’t well-lit.
If you like to keep your hands and body as free as possible, the pocket hat might be the best thing for you. This hat really kills two birds with one stone. There is room in the side pockets for money, energy gels, and ID. The fabric will wick moisture away from your head and keep the sweat out of your eyes.