Hiking Gear: The 20 Essentials Everyone Should Carry
Heading out into nature this summer? Here are the hiking gear essentials you need to pack to keep you safe, comfortable, and happy.
What you need to know before hiking
Hiking wasn’t even a hobby, much less a passion, for Jennifer Pharr Davis when she decided to hike the Appalachian Trail. Just 21 years old and fresh out of college, all she knew was that she needed something to help her transition from student to adult life, and tramping 2,190 miles through the wilderness seemed like a good plan.
“I had never really hiked before or spent a night alone in the wilderness,” she says. “It didn’t really hit me what I’d gotten myself into until that first night on the trail and I couldn’t figure out how to set up my tent. I realized I probably should have practiced that at home before I left.”
Filtration device: Sawyer Micro Squeeze Water Filtration System
Water is one of the most essential things to bring on a hike but it’s also really heavy to carry and takes up a lot of room in your pack; if you’re planning a longer hike, or want back up in case you get lost, it’s smart to bring a filtration device so you can refill your water from streams, lakes or rivers, Pharr Davis says. All three of our experts love the Sawyer filtration systems for durability, quality, and ease of use.
A 20% DEET Premium Controlled-Release Lotion will work well against mosquitoes, but Dr. Zimring says he prefers the 20% Picaridin lotion since it also protects against ticks, gnats, chiggers, and flies. (In both instances, he recommends Sawyer brand.)
Part of spending time outside means battling ticks, mosquitoes, and other biting insects. For this, Nelson swears by permethrin.
And out of the products we tested, Dr. Zeichner highly recommends Sawyer Products 20% Picaridin Insect Repellent.