What to Bring on a Hike

It’s kind of a loaded question, don’t you think? There are so many options of things you could bring, things like a hiking backpack, trekking poles, traction devices, water bottles or filters.  Most hiking backpacks aren’t big enough to bring everything you might need. Sometimes it’s all helpful, sometimes it never comes out of your pack and its only purpose is to increase your endurance for future hikes with all the extra weight. Everything you could bring is optional when you really get down to it. The only thing you really NEED on a short-day hike is a pair of shoes and some water. Some day hikes can even be done without a backpack. So then, what’s this article about? It’s about the planning that goes into a day hike: what gear is essential, what you can probably leave behind, and of course what Peregrine products are our favorites.  

The first thing you should do is be honest with yourself. Don’t take on a hiking trail that is beyond your current strength. Those trails will be extra satisfying when you’ve “trained” up a bit and can enjoy the journey. There are internet forums (Hiking Project), websites (National Parks Service), and apps (All-Trails) that will have information like difficulty ratings and distances for day hikes to help keep you true to your comfort level. Don’t take on something too long if you only plan on hiking for the day. It’s nice to push yourself, but it’s unsafe and unenjoyable to push yourself too far. The best forums have user input so you can read from another hiker what the trail conditions are currently like. One example could be in the early spring you’re unsure if there is snow on the trail. Is there too much snow to hike through? Will you need snowshoes? Is the snow packed down to the point you can hike over the top of it with a traction device? Is the trail slippery to the point you’ll need some trekking poles or other hiking aids? Is there water currently running near the trail so you can hike with a filter instead of lugging a water bottle in your backpack? How long did it take them to finish it? Is it realistic for you to finish this hike in a day?  

These aren’t necessarily questions you need to ask yourself before every hike. This is just one example of a scenario that might not come up year-round or in some parts of the world. The point being illustrated here is that you can’t bring everything possible in your backpack no matter how well designed for hiking it might be. There are many products that could be useful to you on one hiking trail and could be completely useless on another. So, put a little work in before-hand and get a better idea of what the trail looks like so you know what gear to bring. 

You’ve probably already thought to bring water and a jacket in your hiking backpack. What other gear might be a good idea for your day hike? Maybe an emergency kit? What else? There’s probably more gear out there than you can keep track of. You might not know the differences between ice axes used for hiking in alpine environments. Unless you’re going to be hiking in alpine environments, that’s okay! You’re not here to learn about ice axes. You’re here to learn about items that would be better used for day hiking like backpacks, trekking poles, and hammocks. Wait, hammocks? On a day hike?  A hammock is the perfect luxury for a day hike. They weigh almost nothing in your pack. You don’t need much to set them up. The forums you researched your day hike on should give you a good idea if there are trees or rocks you can hang your hammock from. Imagine yourself lounging in a hammock by that gorgeous alpine lake for the afternoon with your favorite trail snack. The Peregrine Refuge Lite is the perfect hammock to take along for a day hike. It weighs a mere 15 oz and is rated to support up to 250 lbs. As a bonus the stuff sack doubles as a storage pocket while in lounging mode, maybe you save the rest of your trail snack for after your power nap? 

Now that you’ve added your Refuge Lite and a snack to your backpack, this day hike just got ever so slightly more difficult. You already had a water bottle and an extra jacket with your emergency kit, so your backpack actually has a bit of weight to it now. You’ve decided that you need these things in your backpack for your day hike. So, making your hiking backpack lighter isn’t going to be easy. A solution for you to consider would be to maximize the efficiency of your body. You may think this implies that you should be stronger, but you’d be wrong. You shouldn’t need to train super hard for a day hike. If you do end up having a harder time coming down, knees are always the first to go, that’s what trekking poles are for.  Trekking poles are dynamite on a day hike because they allow you to engage your arms to help carry your load. Peregrine makes a trekking pole called the Uinta in a variety of materials. Carbon trekking poles are more lightweight at 14 oz while the Aluminum versions are 1lb 3 oz. Both are extremely light and very strong in either a telescoping or foldable design. Although aluminum is slightly heavier, it can be reshaped when it gets bent allowing you to finish your journey while retaining your trekking pole. You’ll be surprised how big a difference trekking poles can make on just a quick day hike. You’ll find you can go farther, faster and burn less energy causing less fatigue leading to greater enjoyment of your day hike. 

The trekking poles will certainly help carry the weight of you hiking backpack. You should also consider what kind of backpack you’re using on your day hike. The backpack you used at school is likely made of materials that make it very comfortable for carrying heavy books, laptops and pencil cases. You don’t usually bring these with you on a day hike. Hiking packs typically lighter and utilize more breathable fabric so you don’t sweat as much.  The Peregrine Flight 18+, Koa, Azor, Vanga and Tartaro packs are extremely water resistant due to the materials and construction they’re made with. These hiking backpacks are also designed with adjustable compression to keep the pack and its contents close to your center of gravity so that your muscles can stay efficient and conserve energy to help you thrive on your day hike.  

The list of things you could possibly need to bring in this backpack on your day hike is ever growing. Planning variables come up all the time that require you to change your strategy and gear kit. Hopefully these few essentials are helpful in many day hiking scenarios. You should have a better idea of what tools you can use to plan and execute your day hiking objectives. A hiking specific backpack may not be necessary in theory but having one can expand the possibilities for you. A hiking backpack could open the door to new levels of enjoyment on your day hiking objectives this season. We want to see where your new Peregrine gear takes you! Follow us at @peregrineequipment and use #peregrineequipment for a chance to be featured on our page!  

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