There is one single thing that I dislike about the outdoors.
I would actually use the word *hate* and I try not to toss that around in my vocabulary too often.
But here it is. I. Hate. Mosquitoes. I hate them, I truly believe they serve no purpose and they always pick on me 1639% more than my friends. My friends got 5 bites? I have 72. Not even kidding.
But this post isn’t about what I dislike about the outdoors, quite the contrary- I am here to celebrate the immense amount of peace and joy nature brings to my life, and I want to share with you my top 5 must haves when you’re hiking solo.
There are, of course, many factors to consider when it comes to the equipment to pack for a solo day hike, such as route, distance, weather, etc. But I’ll be sharing the basics that should cover you for just about anything.
Let’s get in to it.
Water. Even electrolytes. A hydration pack is a must, and I recommend having a 2 liter pack. If you are an *extremely* thirsty human, or you plan to be packing in at 5 am and out at 8 pm, you could consider a 3 liter bag. In addition, having a pack will allow for you to carry some of your other essentials, win- win! (And of course, plan for more if you are bringing your 4 legged best friend!)
If you are trying to save weight and know you will be around plenty of water that you can filter, you can also just bring a water filter!
I recommend the Katadyn BeFree Water Filter. Found here.
Again, depending on the terrain you plan to cover, footwear may vary- however, for day hikes- I would say it is definitely about comfort and support. Making your way up the rocky Eastern Sierras? I would recommend a lightweight ankle high hiking boot. If you will be moving along smoother trails, a trail running/hiking shoe should serve you just fine.
I love my Salomon Speedcross for lighter days!
Think about the length and intensity of your hike, and/or elevation, I definitely recommend some sort of electrolyte source as a backup to the snacks and food that you pack, just in case you feel a bonk coming on. I love the Honey Stinger Energy Chews, but I think it really just comes down to preference. In addition, I make sure to have some fresh fruit (you could opt for dried if you want to save space), trail mix, and a sandwich. If you truly plan to be out for 10 hours, I would plan accordingly to have another meal, but typically day hikers should plan for one “meal” and supplemental snacks.
4. Weather protection.
Going to be a scorcher? Sun block, hats, sunglasses. Possible rain? Light waterproof rain jacket or poncho (preferably one that will cover your pack!) Remember that with altitude comes the greater responsibility to protect your skin!
5. The Miscellaneous Check
Have your dog with you? Don’t forget some food for them and more water/their water bowl. A flash light (you never know…), phone or camera (if you’re into capturing the beauty with more than your eyes and soul).
Lastly, if you are driving to your destination, make sure you have a permit if it is required! In addition, know some would recommend having a change of clothes, of at least a clean shirt. I personally love to sit in my well earned filth during the car ride home, but to each their own. 🙂