What to take on a hike: all the essentials you'll need for a great trip up the mountain

HIKING and exploring is not only a great way to keep active but the views make any uphill struggles worthwhile.

Getting ready for your next hiking trip? It's important to be properly equipped, so we've come up with this guide helping you to pack all the essentials.

With the winter season slowly drifting away, we turn our heads to outdoor activities and hiking is at the forefront of our minds.

It's not only a great cardio activity but can be a bonding experience for families and couples.

In order to have a good hike, you'll need to be prepared and pack all the essentials without making your backpack too heavy as you'll be carrying it for hours.

Don't forget to take seasonal and weather conditions into account as it will determine some of your backpack's contents.

Here are the things to consider and to take on a hike:

1. Backpack

A comfortable backpack is an absolute must when on a hike, and it pays to invest in one if you want to get something that will serve you years to come.

We suggest getting a lightweight and spacious option, but not too big as you might risk to overpack and it'll be hard to carry for hours.

There are different backpacks designed for men and women, due to women generally having a shorter torso, but there are also a plenty of unisex options.

You might want to get a waterproof hiking backpack as weather conditions can change rapidly, especially when higher up the mountain.

If you normally go for a day's trip, look at smaller and lighter options.

But if you like to go for longer trips, you might want to get something bigger and more spacious to carry everything you might need for a few days adventure.

Here are some great options:

  • Country Walking Backpack, £19.99 from Decathlon – buy here
  • Osprey Rook 65, £90 from Go Outdoors – buy here
  • MH500 Women's Mountain Backpack, £44.99 from Decathlon – buy here
  • Vango Sherpa 700, £71 from Go Outdoors – buy here

2. Water bottle

Keeping hydrated is crucial when on a hike, so it pays to invest in a quality water bottle.

The best water bottles are easy to pack, lightweight and comfortable to use.

Check some of our favourties:

  • Nomader Collapsible Water Bottle, £17.95 from Amazon – buy here
  • Foldable Water Bottle Pack of 3, £8.99 from Amazon – buy here
  • OMORC Stainless Steel Water Bottle, £16.99 from Amazon – buy here

3. Hiking clothes

You probably won't be carrying many extra hiking clothes in your backpack (unless you'll be going for a few days) but it's crucial to be properly dressed.

You need to sort out your hiking clothes in advance and find something you'll be comfortable in for many hours.

Think in advance about possible weather and seasonal conditions: if you're going in early spring or autumn, you might want to invest in a warmer jacket, but if summer is your choice of season, a proper hat and light clothes will be the key.

We suggest getting windproof and waterproof clothes no matter which time of the year you're heading up the hill: the higher you go the windier it gets, and rain is rather common in the UK.

Here are some good hiking clothes

  • Bolle Polarized Sunglasses, £75.61 from Alpine Trek – buy here
  • MEETYOO Men’s Thermal Underwear Set, £24.98 from Amazon – buy here
  • EINSKEY Wide Brim Sun Hat, £13.99 from Amazon – buy here
  • Salewa Women's Jacket, £71.16 from Alpine Trek – buy here
  • Trekking Gloves, £8.99 from Decathlon – buy here

4. Hiking shoes and boots

Always make sure to check the forecast before your trip to be dressed for the conditions.

What footwear you'll be wearing should be based on the terrain.

If you're heading for a hike featuring smooth trails, hiking shoes or trail runners should be sufficient, but for rocky and rugged trails opt for boots.

We'd also suggest to try out your chosen shoes before the trip to make sure they'll be comfortable to wear for long hours.

It pays to invest in quality hiking footwear that can serve you years to come.

Solomon has released a handy guide helping you to choose the right pair of hiking shoes, and you can find it here.

  • Solomon X ULTRA MID Men, £125 from Solomon – buy here
  • Solomon X ULTRA 4 Women, £120 from Solomon – buy here
  • Men's Waterproof Off-Road Hiking Shoes, £34.99 from Decathlon – buy here

5. Miscellaneous

We suggest making a list of the things you might need when on a hike way in advance of your trip, to make sure you've packed everything you might need.

Here are the things you might want to add to your list:

First Aid Kit: especially if you're going on a longer trip, you might want to be ready for everything in case of an emergency.

Sunscreen: it's important to be protected against damaging UV rays any time of the year, but if you're hiking in the summer, you might want to get a higher SPF one.

Tissues and plasters: even if you've got the most comfortable pair of shoes, hiking for hours can leave your feet blistered meaning plasters will serve you well.

Compass: Don’t rely on your phone GPS to navigate your hike, chances are you’ll lose signal but you can always count on a proper compass.

Swiss Army Knife: it's your classic hiking essential, and might come in very handy on a number of occasions.

  • Garnier Sun Protection, £6 from Amazon – buy here
  • Victorinox, £32.49 from Amazon – buy here
  • First Aid, £16.99 from Amazon – buy here
  • Military Compass, £11.59 from Amazon – buy here

6. Trekking Poles

A set of trekking poles can help to save your knees from strain on the descent, as well as improve your endurance when walking uphill.

Additionally, trekking poles will help to aid balance on muddy terrains and prevent you from slips.

  • Black Diamond Trail Running Poles, £99.99 from Decathlon – buy here
  • Black Diamond Trekking Poles. £80 from Cotswold Outdoors – buy here
  • Glymnis Walking Trekking Poles, £24.29 from Amazon – buy here
  • TheFitLife Trekking Poles, £22.98 from Amazon – buy here

 7. Food

Going for a short one-day hike? You should pack some snacks to keep you going, even if you left your house after a meal.

Physical exercise increases your appetite so make sure you've packed with nutritious bars, sandwiches to keep your energy levels up.

However, if you're going for a few days trip, we suggest planning out your meals in advance to make sure you're always full of energy to continue your journey.

Stock up on protein-rich foods as they can keep you full for longer.

Don't forget to pack a cookware kit and cutlery.

Here are some hiking food ideas:

  • Nature Valley Crunchy Oats & Honey Cereal Bars, £5.99 from Amazon – buy here
  • Wayfayrer All Day Breakfast Camping Hiking Food, £4.69 from Amazon – buy here
  • Odoland Camping Cookware Kit, £29.99 from Amazon – buy here
  • Garofalo Fusilli Dry Pasta, £2 from Amazon – buy here

If you're going for an overnight trip, check out the best sleeping bags you can buy now.

Additionally, camping chairs will come in handy when on a trip.

To discover the full range of our reviews and recommendations, take a look at Sun Selects.

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