WHAT TO BRING—AND WHAT TO SKIP—ON A DAY HIKE
Be prepared without getting overloaded.
From cooler temps to colorful foliage, fall is arguably the best time of year to take a hike. And if you feel the urge, you’re not alone. In 2020, nearly 161 million Americans aged 6 and older participated in at least one outdoor activity, according to the Outdoor Industry Association. That's a jump of about 7 million participants from 2019.
I’m one of them—and I have been for a while. I don't go backpacking on multi-day camping-plus-hiking trips, but I've been day hiking since childhood when I became a Boy Scout and my family spent summers in New York's Catskill Mountains. I'm always mindful of recreational safety practices and preparation, thanks to the Scouts and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, for which I volunteer now. I've also taken some hiking courses and became certified in NOLS Wilderness First Aid.
Hitting the trails—whether they're in that urban park near your home or in the wilderness of a national park—can be so fulfilling and rewarding. But it can be daunting and dangerous, too. If you’re just getting started, I encourage you to start small and local: Find a trail near you, pack smartly, take a buddy or three, and plan to be out for only a few hours at a stretch. Here's what else you should abide.
May 7, 2022
Outdoor Life: Do You Really Need a Water Filter for Backpacking and Mountain Hunting?
While DEET products may be more familiar by name and their chemical smell, sprays with 20 percent picaridin, like Sawyer Products, offer comparable protection without the harsh odor and oily feeling on your skin.
The Sawyer Squeeze was (by far) the most common Pacific Crest Trail water filter this year – for the fifth year in a row. It’s a $39, 3 oz / 85 g hollow fiber filter that rids your drinking water of protozoa and bacteria (and floaties). It can be used with Sawyer bags (included with the filter) or with compatible water bottles (Smartwater is the bottle of choice for many hikers).
SAWYER MINI WATER FILTER, $22 This has been my water filter of choice for years now. The bags can be iffy — I have had a few break – so carry a couple. However, the filter itself is reliable, light and inexpensive. -Logan