Hiking is a great way to recharge and spend time with friends. Getting away from the city and work gives your brain time to rest and recover. You will be more productive when returning to work after a hiking trip with buddies.
Remember a map of the area and a map of the specific hiking trail. Electronic GPS devices and phones are great, but you just can’t rely on them. They can get damaged, run out of power, or get water damage. Always have printed maps as a backup. Protect your printed maps in a waterproof bag.
Always print out a map of the hiking trail you will be following. Usually, this can be found on the website for the trail or park the trail is in. You can also check with friends if they have saved routes of the trail from GPS devices. Print these at home and make any useful notes right on them.
The second map will also be printed or bought. This is a topographical map of the area the hiking trail is in. You can buy these from survey companies or print your own. This will help if you get lost or leave the hiking trail for any reason. It is always helpful to know the terrain around the trail.
This might seem obvious, but please check the weather before going hiking. Most people who run into trouble while out hiking get caught in inclement weather. Websites like Accuweather or Weather.com are great for checking the forecast.
Make sure you are prepared for the weather and that you are comfortable that you will be able to survive any foul weather. Pack appropriate clothing for the weather conditions expected. Also, include something a bit warmer than what you would need just in case.
Getting back to the point about the weather. Make sure you have adequate shelter when out hiking. It will be a lot more comfortable at night if you have a nice tent to spend the evenings in. For in-depth advice about tents, you can look: https://www.myopencountry.com/best-8-person-tent/, where you can check the dimensions of the different tents before buying. A large tent that you can comfortably get dressed in as well as pack all the kit in when it rains is what you are looking for.
The shelter is also key when things go wrong. If the weather takes a bad turn you will need good quality shelter. If someone gets injured the shelter is where you can set them up until help arrives. Getting an injured person out of the rain or direct sun will help a lot with them staying calm while waiting for help.
Don’t forget your camera. You will want quality images to reflect on after the trip. Also if you take a good camera along remember to send the images to your buddies as well.
Look for a weatherproof camera with variable zoom to capture all those special moments. Some hikers prefer a compact rugged camera that can slip into a pocket. More serious photographers will keep a space in their pack for an interchangeable lens camera. Just try and keep your kit minimal to not weigh yourself down.
Let someone know
Remember to let someone you trust know where you are going and what trail you will be on. Let them know when you will be back and able to check in with them. Give them a date and time when they need to let the authorities know if you haven’t checked in.
Food and water
Remember to pack some extra in case you need to survive for a few days extra. A good way to pack is to have heavier food early on and more hiking-specific food later on. This way you get some yummy food the first day or so while your pack quickly gets lighter. Also, leave a treat or two in there when you need a boost after a few days.
Sunscreen and hat
The sun can be rough when out hiking. The last thing you want is to get sunburnt or heat exhaustion on the first day of a multi-day hike. Have a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses ready. Remember to apply the sunscreen.
Camping and cooking at night are almost impossible without a good quality headlamp. Make sure it is a waterproof model. This is one item you want to be able to rely on in emergencies.
Pack some extra batteries as well. You never know if you will need them to last for many hours in an emergency. If your headlamp of choice is rechargeable then pack a small power bank and the charging cable for your headlamp. A small power bank should be able to charge a headlamp quite a few times. Some power banks are also weatherproof and have a built-in solar panel. These are great for hiking.
Make sure to go prepared and enjoy the trip. Remember to take some beautiful photos and send them to your buddies after the trip.