Sure, the idea of spending any meaningful amount of time outside right now is horrifying – it’s a million degrees in the shade with three thousand percent humidity. But, with any luck, the weather will soon cool, making the idea of being outside more palatable. All of that means that now is the perfect time to start planning for what you’ll need when the weather cools and you want to take that three day hiking trip.
A Place to Sleep
If you’re going to be out on the trail for more than a day, you’re going to need a place to sleep. Sure, you could take a tent with you, but then you’d have to carry it with you the entire time you’re out on the trail. Who wants to do that?
Your better option is a camping hammock. ENO hammocks and Castaway Travel Hammocks both make lightweight, durable hammocks that compress down into attached carry bags that easily slip into your backpack with the rest of your gear, making them perfect for taking on the trail with their small size and weight footprint, and their ease of setting up and taking down.
Protection from the Elements
There’s no predicting mother nature, which is why taking along a rain fly is a must – unless you like to gamble with how dry you’ll be. It’s a simple piece of fabric that will make your trip way more enjoyable by keeping you dry – at least when you’re sleeping.
Also, don’t forget a mosquito net. Being wet is bad enough, but getting eaten alive by bugs will make for a truly miserable night and rest of your hike – nobody wants to be scratching at bug bites while on the move.
It sounds simple, but keeping yourself hydrated is important while out on the trail. I recommend keeping a couple of water bottles on you so you can always have one filled. Be sure plan for spots along your hiking path where you can get fresh water before setting out so you’re not running dry.
Light Your Path
With good planning you’ll be setting up camp for the night with plenty of light to hang your hammock, start a fire, and enjoy whatever food you have with you. The best laid plans of mice and men, right?
Having light at your campsite is about safety if nothing else, but nobody wants to carry a big, heavy camp lantern with them for more than 60 miles. The ENO Moonshine Lantern is nice and lightweight, and it attaches to hang over your hammock, letting you relax and plan the next day of your hike with the necessary light.
I know that part of hitting the trail is getting away from it all, but let’s be honest – we take our phones with us everywhere. If only for emergencies and to use as a GPS, taking an electronic device with you is something we all have to account for when spending several days out on the trail. That means we need power.
I present to you the Estream. I love everything about this device. Sure it’s currently wrapping up it’s Kickstarter backing (it’ll be fully backed on September 12, 2016), but it’s something that every person looking to hit the trails should take with them – a sustainable way to generate power and charge up the few electronic devices you take with you.
Simply place the Estream in moving water and it’ll generate a charge, which can then be used to power your USB devices, such as a smartphone. It also doubles as a waterproof light, making it a good alternative to carrying a separate light.
All of these things that you’ll need to enjoy your hiking trip are great, but you are going to need something to carry them (along with a change of clothes and some food). Finding the right backpack for your trip is a very personal thing, but since you’ll be carrying it for several days, along with all your other gear, you’ll want to ensure that it has enough storage for everything you need, but weighs little enough by itself that you aren’t exhausted.
Fortunately, Dave Collins over at CleverHiker has put together a list of the 7 Best Lightweight Backpacks for 2016 – he’s an avid hiker and tries out each of the products himself, so you can trust his reviews and pick the one that’s right for you.
Everybody’s list of gear that they want to take on a multi-day hike will be slightly different, but I think this one does a good job of setting you up for success to personalize your gear before that long hike.
Is there an item you always take that I didn’t think of? Let me know. Have some great photos from your last trip? I want to see those, too! Send them to us (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we’ll share the ones we like the most.