10 Must Have Hiking Supplies

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Our 2020 rescheduled road trip is coming up soon and our whole family is getting excited. While we’re keeping our itinerary a secret, you’ll be able to gather from this post, and some of our most recently themed posts, that we will be doing a lot of hiking (which our family defines as walking outside for a few miles on a well marked path). You can read about some of the Connecticut places we have explored for hiking (again, we’re using that term loosely) in this post, this post, this post, this post and why we love state parks in this post we wrote about why we love state parks We are NOT serious hikers, and at first thought we didn’t necessarily need anything other than sneakers for a hike. 

We’ve been proven wrong. Many times.

Over the past year, we’re been researching items that make our hikes safer, healthier, and more comfortable. This is NOT a comprehensive list, and again, we’re not experts, but we’re sharing the items we’ve used and plan on taking with us for the big trip this summer and in the future. We have only been gifted one of these items (noted).  Note: We’re skipping over apparel and footwear, as that is largely a personal choice and we don’t have any strong preferences right now. We all have sneakers with strong support; I recently purchased these hiking sneakers which suit me well. 

1. Backpacks: Last year, after much research, we decided on the REI Tarn 18 pack backpacks for our children. Grandparents gifted each child a backpack and they have been put to good use this year. The height is adjustable, there is a waist strap to balance the weight, and there are plenty of compartments for water bottles, snacks etc. Recently, my husband and I went to our local REI store and were fitted for backpacks that included hydration bladders. We decided on a REI Co-op Trail Hydro 30L Hydration pack backpack with hydration pack and Osprey Skarab 30 Hydration Pack backpack with hydration pack.

2. Water bottles: We decided on a hydration pack instead of a water bottle. I’ve read that dehydration and altitude sickness are no joke and the most common ailment that people experience in the areas we are hiking. Our goal is going to be to drink at least one gallon of water every. Our adult backpacks include a hydration bladder and we bought an additional pack to go inside our kids’ backpacks. The adults will have a 3L bladder and the kids will have a 1.5 ML bladder, which the REI staff tells us is appropriate. We also bought these tablets and brush to clean the bladders each night. 

3. Socks: I will fully admit that I rolled my eyes at the thought of spending any real money on socks, because I didn’t think they could possibly make a difference in our comfort. After asking for recommendations on summer reading, virtually every response sung the praises of Darn Tough socks. I caught a great sale at Back Country and purchased several pairs for every member of the family. My husband and I tested the socks recently on a warm weathered day , and our feet felt great- no sweating, no blisters! I plan on ordering more pairs during (hopefully) an upcoming sale, so we’ll be guaranteed to have a clean pair for each day of the week. 

4. Bandages: I am counting on our hiking shoes and the Darn Tough socks to prevent any issues, but on the off chance we do get blisters, I bought these blister bandages based on the recommendation of two fellow travel bloggers. I also bought a box of standard bandaids in a variety of sizes in case of other cuts and scrapes.

5. TP Kits: At first, I laughed at this item as well. I received a promotional email about these toilet paper kits that are intended for hiking and camping, but thought I would throw the box in my suitcase for our summer trip. I’ve already used a few of the kits on our recent hikes and they are great! The wipes, 2 ply tissues and packaging are all biodegradable and weight next to nothing. Each resealable package takes up such little room it fits in my pants pocket. I have the remaining kits ready to pack for our summer trip and plan on ordering more for the future.  They’d be great in a diaper bag for potter trainers, too. You can order them directly from the company or from Amazon. Disclosure: We were gifted a box of TP Kits; all opinions expressed are my own.

6. Other First Aid supplies: I plan on packing Advil and Tylenol in case of pains or headaches, and bringing tweezers in case of splinters.

7. Creams and Gels: During the summer, our family used Mary Kay After-Sun cooling gel, especially after a day at the beach. We’re bringing a few bottles to keep our skin smooth and soft. I have also purchased Benadryl (in many forms), including Itching Stopping Gel for both kids and adults. Many of the parks have plants like cactus and yucca plants that can irritate the skin (we’re packing tweezers too!) so these gels will help if we’re not paying attention.

8. Hats: I hate wearing hats but every hiking blog I read strongly advises wearing a hat to shield my face from the sun and help prevent a heat stroke. This bucket sun hat from REI has high ratings and I just ordered it. The boys will probably wear their baseball caps and my daughter has a bucket hat similar to mine.

9. Portable power pack: I anticipate taking hundreds thousands of photos each day, both with my camera and my phone’s camera. It won’t be as simple as plugging my phone in an outlet at a restaurant at lunch, so I just ordered this Anker portable charger pack so I can recharge my phone’s battery. 

10. Other random items: I plan keeping a whistle and small mirror in my backpack for emergency communication. Although we’ll be staying on well marked trails, these are good items to have in case of emergency. 

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25 Comments

  1. I’ve only been hiking once (Samaria’s Gorge) in Greece, and I was totally not prepared! This is such a helpful list. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I’ve only been hiking once (Samaria’s Gorge) in Greece, and I was totally not prepared! This is such a helpful list. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I’ve only been hiking once (Samaria’s Gorge) in Greece, and I was totally not prepared! This is such a helpful list. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Growing up in the Midwest, my definition of hiking was a long walk on a paved path. My first real hike was when my boyfriend took me to the Smoky Mountains and made me hike ten miles!! I was so underprepared with thin socks and typical sneakers. Now I have Darn Tough socks and hiking boots – lesson learned!

  5. Growing up in the Midwest, my definition of hiking was a long walk on a paved path. My first real hike was when my boyfriend took me to the Smoky Mountains and made me hike ten miles!! I was so underprepared with thin socks and typical sneakers. Now I have Darn Tough socks and hiking boots – lesson learned!

  6. Growing up in the Midwest, my definition of hiking was a long walk on a paved path. My first real hike was when my boyfriend took me to the Smoky Mountains and made me hike ten miles!! I was so underprepared with thin socks and typical sneakers. Now I have Darn Tough socks and hiking boots – lesson learned!

  7. What a lovely post, and so fitting for the summer time too! I always try to have bug spray with me for each hike, it can be totally calm one minute then the next, the bugs would be going crazy! Thank you for this list 🙂

  8. What a lovely post, and so fitting for the summer time too! I always try to have bug spray with me for each hike, it can be totally calm one minute then the next, the bugs would be going crazy! Thank you for this list 🙂

  9. What a lovely post, and so fitting for the summer time too! I always try to have bug spray with me for each hike, it can be totally calm one minute then the next, the bugs would be going crazy! Thank you for this list 🙂

  10. What a great post! Most times I forget number 8… Not to mention what happens after…

  11. What a great post! Most times I forget number 8… Not to mention what happens after…

  12. I love that you and your family get out and see the world so much. Have fun on your trip. We are headed to Yosemite this weekend and I am excited for the amazing photo opportunities.

  13. I love that you and your family get out and see the world so much. Have fun on your trip. We are headed to Yosemite this weekend and I am excited for the amazing photo opportunities.

  14. I love that you and your family get out and see the world so much. Have fun on your trip. We are headed to Yosemite this weekend and I am excited for the amazing photo opportunities.

  15. The sun cooling gel is a great idea! We’re going to Florida soon so I am adding that to my list as I know someone in the family will get a bit sunburned. Thanks!

  16. The sun cooling gel is a great idea! We’re going to Florida soon so I am adding that to my list as I know someone in the family will get a bit sunburned. Thanks!

  17. The sun cooling gel is a great idea! We’re going to Florida soon so I am adding that to my list as I know someone in the family will get a bit sunburned. Thanks!

  18. Great list! We have just started small hikes, and we find walking sticks are a great help! Although backpacks are a really good idea, bc I’m tired of carrying all this water bottles!

  19. Great list! We have just started small hikes, and we find walking sticks are a great help! Although backpacks are a really good idea, bc I’m tired of carrying all this water bottles!

  20. Great list! We have just started small hikes, and we find walking sticks are a great help! Although backpacks are a really good idea, bc I’m tired of carrying all this water bottles!

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