Packing for a Hike Thousands of Americans venture yearly into the outdoors to enjoy the beauty and serenity of their local trails. Frequent hikers regularly enjoy the benefits of invigorating exercise and breath taking views along their journeys and the intangibles of the hobby have drawn many to its following. A hiker’s gear is loosely defined as anything that they will need to help them successfully navigate and survive in the wilderness. Luxurious items may be toted down the trail as well but real gear is labeled “gear” for the intention of denoting its useful purpose. Gear, therefore, should be treated as though it is the tool of survival for a hiker; because that is exactly what it is. Every basic item of gear that is stuffed into a pack has, at its core, the benefit of providing life’s physical necessities of food, water, and shelter. But even for those who consider themselves regular or even avid hikers, there are a few things that may be lacking on their list of hiking gear. Beginners likewise can benefit from the following list of essential hiking items and should consider including these basic items in their packs the next time they venture outside. Getting the Right Pack The first thing that a hiker will need is a quality pack. A pack may not be seen by some as gear, but what else would you call the item holding the rest of your gear? A quality pack should fit comfortably on the individuals back, shoulders, and waist while carrying a load. Any spots of the pack that cause rubbing during the hike should be padded and precautions should be taken by the hiker against any superficial injuries that may come as a result of the problem areas. A hiker will always want to pack an abundance of water. But because only one quart of water weighs around 2 pounds, there are many hikers who choose to pack insufficient stores of water on the hike. A person expending energy, as one will do on a hike, should be consuming three quarts of water a day. To avoid being overburdened by this weight, a hiker may wish to pack a water filtering device to turn river or creek water into potable drinking water. Getting the Right Food Supplies Along with water, a hiker will need to pack sufficient food supplies. Experienced hikers know that lightweight, typically dehydrated foods are the best choice for longer hikes as these provide necessary nutrients without the weight of traditional foods. Often these dehydrated foods can be expensive to purchase but some have found that by using vacuum sealing bags they can plan lightweight meals and preserve them for the hike using the vacuum sealing technology. For this reason, common vacuum sealing bags used in the kitchen can be used as an extension of a hiker’s gear. A map of the area being hiked is another essential for any level of experience. Along with the map, a hiker should carry a compass and a detailed elevation chart or topo map of the route they are hiking. First aid kits are likewise a necessity on every hiking trip as are waterproof matches and a flashlight. Emergency signaling tools such as a small mirror or whistle should also be standard equipment on every hike. With the above gear accounted for and packed, a hiker can know that they are fully prepared for the adventures that await them. And that the gear they are brining will help them to successfully navigate and survive the outdoors.