7 Things You Should NEVER Bring On Hikes & Three Bonus Items

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man on a hike taking a break on a rock taking in the sights

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Are you getting ready to set off on your next outdoor adventure? If so, ensure you come prepared — but not too over-prepared.

We’ve rounded up the essential items you should bring with you and a few things that might be better left at home.

Read on for our top tips for what not to bring on a hike.

1. Don’t Pack Energy Drinks and Beers

Regarding packing for a hike, energy drinks and beers are not on the list of essentials.

Instead of sugary energy drinks and beers, look for lightweight, filling, nutritious snacks and hydrating drinks that boost energy.

Coffee is a great way to get some extra energy while out on the trail, but drinking alcohol before hiking can have serious consequences.

Altitude and alcohol don’t mix, so if you’re planning to hit the trail in the morning, opt for water instead of a beer the night before.

Beer growlers could be an excellent option if you’re looking to bring along some refreshments on your hike.

2. Jewelry and Make-up are a No Go

When planning a hike, it is important to consider what you should and should not bring.

Jewelry and make-up are two items that should be left at home. Not only are they likely to get lost or damaged, but they can also be a distraction and hinder your ability to move quickly or efficiently.

Additionally, jewelry can easily snag on vegetation or get caught in your clothing, leading to dangerous situations.

It is best to leave these items at home and focus on the essentials for your hike.

3. Essential Items to Pack: Allergy Meds, Paracetamol, Bandages, Alcohol Wipes

When it comes to packing essential items, you should bring anything that could help with minor injuries or illnesses.

Allergy medications should be a priority for anyone who has known allergies. Paracetamol can also come in handy for headaches or fevers.

Bandages are also important in case of cuts and bruises, and alcohol wipes and antiseptic cream can help too.

Additionally, ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatory medications can help with inflammation or pain.

Be sure to include tweezers and gauze pads in your first aid kit to help with bites and stings and sun cream to protect against sunburn.

Finally, don’t forget to include a few snacks in your kit, just in case!

4. Don’t Overpack Food or Water

Regarding food and water, it’s important to bring enough to last throughout your hike, but don’t overpack.

Bring only what you need for your trip, and try to choose lightweight options.

Freeze-dried foods, nuts, and fruits are a great way to carry light snacks that are easy to carry and store.

If you’re backpacking overnight, remember to pack enough water for the day and consider carrying a water purification system so that you can drink from natural sources along the way.

It’s also a good idea to bring a reusable water bottle or container that can be easily refilled when needed.

5. Don’t Leave Home Without a Map and a Compass

When planning a hike, leaving home with the right gear is important. One of the essential items you need to bring is a map and compass.

While GPS devices can be helpful, they don’t always work in remote areas, so it’s best to carry both in an emergency.

Along with a map and compass, there are other items you should bring, such as a super small knife, toenail clippers, gloves, notebook/pen, and electrolyte packets for rehydration.

All these small essentials can easily fit into a pouch in your backpack.

Don’t forget to bring an insulation layer like a high-quality puffy jacket, as you never know when it might come in handy!

6. Consider Animal Deterrent Gear

It’s also essential to understand the risks of animal encounters while on the trail and consider packing animal deterrent gear.

Bear spray is one option to consider for self-defense, and it’s also worth researching what other deterrents may be more suitable for your specific region.

If you encounter an animal, it’s essential to remain calm and slowly move away from the animal.

Do not feed or approach it, no matter how cute it is!

Understand the risks of animal encounters

Hiking is a great way to explore nature, but it also has some risks.

While there are some risks you can prepare for, such as packing the right gear and supplies, other risks, such as unexpected animal encounters, are harder to predict.

It’s important to understand the risks of animal encounters before you go on your hike.

Some animals may become aggressive if they feel threatened or if you get too close.

It’s best to be aware of the types of animals in the area you plan to hike and be prepared for any potential encounters.

Carry bear spray for self-defense

When it comes to self-defense against animals in the wild, bear spray is one of the most effective deterrents.

Bear spray is like a small fire extinguisher filled with pepper spray that irritates a bear’s eyes, lungs, and nose and usually drives them away.

It is strongly recommended that every person recreating, camping, fishing, or hunting in the bear country carry a canister of bear spray in an easily accessible holster.

Bear spray is very effective in deterring agitated charging bears. However, bear spray should not be used as a repellent – do not spray it on your backpack or around your campsite, as this will not keep bears away.

Bear spray and firearms are the last tools in your toolbox and should not provide a false sense of security.

Bear spray has also been proven to be an effective deterrent for other wildlife species.

7. Avoid Wearing Cotton and Unsuitable Shoes

Hiking is a great way to explore the outdoors and stay fit, but it requires the right gear and clothing.

It’s important to avoid wearing cotton when you go on a hike as it absorbs sweat quickly, making it uncomfortable and heavy.

Instead, opt for clothing made of an athletic material that is lightweight and breathable.

Also, wear shoes specifically designed for hiking or other activities. Shoes designed for running or walking may not provide the support or grip you need while on the trail.

8. Avoid Heavy Backpacks

Picking up the backpack the right way can help you avoid back injuries. As with any heavy weight, bend at the knees and grab the pack with both hands.

You need to pick your gear carefully and pack it efficiently because the heavier your load, the more often you need to stop and rest.

When filling your backpack, the general rule is to keep heavier items toward the center (not at the bottom or top) and as close to your back as possible.

The trapezius muscles (“traps”) are your upper back muscles that radiate to the neck: they are crucial for carrying your pack, so keep that in mind when loading up.

For those planning a longer hike, try to limit your pack weight to 20% of your body weight.

If you can manage this, you should be able to carry your load without too much strain or fatigue.

9. Pack Snacks for the Trail

Regarding snacks, it’s important to bring something that will give you energy but won’t take up too much space in your pack.

Peanut butter pretzels, energy bars, jerky, and nuts are all excellent choices you can quickly eat on the go.

If you’re looking for something more substantial for lunch, consider bringing vegetables like carrots or cucumbers that are pre-cut and easy to eat.

You can also try throwing some peanut butter or cheese on them for an added boost of nutrition.

Additionally, don’t forget to pack some fruit like apples or oranges – they’re full of vitamins and act as their packaging!

Just remember to pack only what you need – overpacking food will add unnecessary weight to your backpack.

10. Stop Overpacking!

On the trail, you want to be as light as possible. This means avoiding overpacking and leaving any unnecessary items at home.

It would be best if you also did a shakedown of your gear to decide which items to leave behind.

What you don’t need on the trail, like extra gadgets and clothes, should be left at home.

The last thing you want is to have to carry around an unnecessarily heavy pack. Pack only the essentials, including snacks for the trail, to ensure an enjoyable day hike.

This way, you’ll have enough energy to make it back home safely.

Do Pack Shakedowns To Drop Items

Traveling light is critical when it comes to backpacking, and it’s important to do a pack shakedown before you leave.

This means taking out all of your items, organizing them into categories, and assessing what is necessary.

Make sure you have the essentials – food, water, map, compass, first aid kit, etc. – and then decide what else you can live without.

By doing a pack-shakedown, you can get rid of heavy items or things that are unnecessary. This will make your journey more accessible and enjoyable.

Leave unnecessary gadgets at home

It’s essential to make sure you only pack the essential items in your backpack when you go for a hike.

As tempting as it may be to bring along some weird gadgets like collapsible camping whisks or camping chopsticks, it’s best to avoid bringing them to save on weight and space.

Instead, focus on packing the necessary food items and gear. Removing any unnecessary packaging before you hit the trail and leaving canned food at home is best.

Pack snacks like energy bars, jerky, and nuts that you can eat quickly on the trail.

A sandwich is also a great option if you are a gourmet camping chef. Whatever you do, make sure to pack what you need so that you don’t overburden yourself with unnecessary items.

Ditch the extra clothes

When planning a hike, planning your food and drinks is important. Pack snacks like energy bars, jerky, and nuts that you can eat easily on the trail.

Some people like to bring a sandwich for lunch, too. For water, bring at least two liters for each person, even on short hikes.

Additionally, be sure to pack Granola bars or protein bars, cheese sticks, and special treats for bribes if you have kids. Make sure to bring enough food and water to last the whole hike.

Along with food and water, it is important to pack the right kind of clothing. Avoid wearing cotton, as it can make you feel cold and clammy when wet.

Opt for lightweight synthetic fabrics instead. When packing your clothes, be sure not to overpack; sometimes, we think we need more than we do.

Consider doing a shakedown of your items to see what you can leave at home. Ditch the extra clothes, unnecessary gadgets, and any other items that may weigh you down on the trail.

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