Want to know what equipment should I choose for hiking? Then you need this guide! Inside you’ll find simple techniques to help your hiking.
Discover new horizons or explore the surroundings of your base camp. Meditative break after a busy work week, enjoy the effort or observe nature . From mountain trails to coastal paths. So many ways to practice and enjoy hiking.
Whatever your motivations and your objectives, your equipment must accompany you and not clutter you. In this article, we give you all the advice to adapt your equipment to the type of hike you are going to undertake. Take with you only the essentials. Smile, you will walk light!
Defining your type of hike
To know what equipment to take with you, you must already know what you are going to do. We suggest that you define your type of hike according to the characteristics of the target route (duration, distance, elevation, technicality) and the conditions under which you will have to walk (climate, season, weather). Depending on the specifics of your hike and the weather conditions, you will know what equipment to put in your bag and what clothes to wear.
Duration of a hike
If the essential equipment does not change too much for a walk of a few hours or a day hike (except especially the amount of water and food to take), the choices to be made are more difficult as soon as you plan to walk on a trek of several days.
Should we take the tent, a sleeping bag and a stove? Provide lyophilized dishes? Extra clothes? So much material that you will have to choose to take or not and that will have to fit in your hiking bag!
Distance and elevation
More than the duration, the distance and the elevation of your route condition the physical effort to provide. The more you plan a long route or with a significant drop, the more you will have to try to reduce your weight. Each gram gained will save energy and comfort for the legs at the end of the journey.
Here we are touching the limits between hiking and mountaineering. We cover in this article only hiking which excludes the use of a climbing rope (although a short hiking rope can sometimes be used to secure a dizzying or more difficult passage), crampons and other ice axes, skis, ice pins, etc …
Ski touring or glacier hiking are disciplines that require specific equipment and knowledge for the mountains in winter or for high mountains.
So prepare your route well so as not to venture into too technical terrain. The maps published by the National Institute of Geographic and Forest Information (IGN) are very detailed and particularly appreciated by hikers.
Climate, season and weather
The conditions in which you will hike will particularly influence your choice of clothing:
- The climate: it is very different between the seaside and the mountains. Your priorities according to the climate will therefore be to protect you from cold or heat, rain or sun.
- Season: depending on the climate, choose the best season for your hike or adapt. The conditions can be very different on the same route (presence of snow, cold or heat, etc …).
- The weather: finally, always take the weather for D-day or for the period of your trek. At the slightest instability, you must take additional clothing (waterproof or windproof jacket, over-pants, spare clothing).
What equipment should I choose for hiking?
Whatever your type of outing, you must always bring the following equipment (to be adapted according to the type of hike and the conditions):
- Good hiking shoes ( read our tips )
- A hiking backpack
- Clothes suitable for the weather
- What to protect you from the sun: glasses, cap, sunscreen
- A hydration system and food
- A guidance material according to your usage patterns: a smartphone with mapping, IGN map, compass, altimeter, GPS hiking or GPS watch
- The emergency gear: Kit pharmacy, survival blanket, multifunction knife, headlamp, mobile phone
Clothing: Equipment for hike
The choice of clothes is very important whether it is the ones you wear or the ones to take in your backpack:
- Socks: good hiking socks are essential for your comfort and to avoid blisters and other foot pain.
- Shorts or pants depending on the weather. There are also pants convertible into shorts.
- Breathable synthetic fiber or merino wool underwear. Thin and comfortable bra for women.
- Intermediate layer, polar or micro down jacket for those little chills in the morning or at the top.
- Spare T-shirt for the top and to get dry after sweating.
- Extra spare underwear if you hike for several days
- Wind or rain jacket if the weather is capricious.
- Waterproof over-pants if risk of rain.
- Down jacket: essential at the bottom of the bag as soon as it can get cold. Very good weight / size / heat ratio.
- Cap, hat or headband, hat depending on the weather and your habits. –
- Gloves: in case of cold.
- Gaiters: in the event of snow or if you have low-cut shoes
Adapt your equipment to the type of hike
You have defined what type of hike you will practice, it is now time to adapt your equipment by also taking into account the weather :
The essential hiking equipment includes :
- Good pair of shoes: adapted to your practice and your fitness.
- Backpack: volume of 10 liters for walks of a few hours and up to 70 liters for treks in autonomy.
- Hydration system: water bag, gourd or flask always at hand. Read our guide > 6 actionable way to purify water when hiking and backpacking
- Walking sticks: for steep slopes and if you are used to it.
- Rain cover: rain-cover, over-bag to put on your backpack in case of rain.
- Tent, sleeping bag and sleeping mat: for hikes of several days without refuge.
- Meat bag or silk sheet for nights in a refuge
- Microfiber towel
- Stove, meals and cutlery: if you walk several days independently.
- Harness, rope, carabiners: if you are going on a particularly committed hike
In your hydration system, take at least 1 liter of water. Prefer models of backpacks with pockets dedicated to water whether inside the bag or on the straps. Increase the amount of water carried in case of high heat and lack of water points on the course. Read more> Camping Food Storage: Tips For Camping And Hiking
A thermos flask in the bag with hot water or tea is always appreciated during a break in cold weather.
Filtration systems or micropore type tablets are used during isolated treks.
Bring a picnic, energy bars and dried fruit in sufficient quantity for the entire hike. Eat regularly to avoid hypoglycemia and other “tiredness”. Reserve the joy of freeze-dried meals for independent treks and a breakfast ration.
Always take an energy gel or an additional bar at the bottom of the bag (or even in the first aid kit).
Always prepare your route in advance and gather as much information as possible from the web or a guidebook. Depending on your usage habits and your skills, take:
- Your smartphone with a GPS application (iPhiGéNie, ViewRanger) and remember to download the maps in advance for offline reading. see our article> How to read a map when your GPS fails?
- A GPS watch: choose models with a barometric altimeter
- An IGN Top 25 topographic map
- A compass and an altimeter (although less and less used for the benefit of smartphones or outdoor watches)
Safety and first aid
Properly studying your safety and first aid kit allows you to be prepared for a maximum of situations without carrying excess weight.
- Sunglasses and sunscreen (except in case of a deluge of course!).
- Adapted first aid kit
- A blanket
- A knife or multi-purpose knife (anyway you will have to cut the sausage well!)
- A headlamp (at least a small back-up model)
- A mobile phone loaded with the registered emergency numbers.
- An identity card and a paper with the numbers of the persons to be notified and any pathologies or treatments in progress. This information is very useful in the event of an accident.
Optional depending on conditions:
- Lighter / Matches and candles in cold weather. Pay attention to the regulations in times of fire risk: it may be forbidden to transport a means of making fire.
- Additional battery for phone and GPS if their autonomy is insufficient
- Radio / Satellite phone / GPS beacon in very isolated route
Hygiene: Equipment for hiking
A packet of tissues is not very heavy and can help out in multiple situations.
An effective mosquito repellent may be useful in the affected areas. From the anti-tick is also increasingly used.
For you, hiking is a way to practice another passion such as landscape photography, observation of fauna and flora or even paragliding? Remember to lighten up as much as possible the additional equipment that you will take with you (camera and lenses, binoculars, notepad or drawing equipment …) Falling under the weight of the equipment is never pleasant and will make you less mobile.
Walk for a few hours or trek engaged, avoid hiking alone and always notify at least one person of your route. These simple precautions can be essential in the event of the unexpected.
Finally, we appreciate all our playgrounds so let’s take care of it! Provide a small sachet to bring all your waste and that of others.
To continue playing for a long time, let’s play responsibly!
I hope you enjoy these tips. Do you have questions about What equipment should I choose for hiking?
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