1. Navigation tools are necessary.
When day hiking, you are on a race against the sun, so it is important to arrive at your destination at a reasonable time. Before hiking, we always print out a topographical map so that we can familiarize ourselves with the trail. Sometimes the trail blazes are not marked well and when you are isolated in the middle of the forest, a map can end up becoming your best friend.
2. Bring water!
Camelbaks are great for long-distance hikes. It allows you the ability to travel hands-free, especially if you are hiking with trekking poles. For short distance jaunts, a water bottle should suffice. Water is a precious commodity and every person should have their own supply.
3. Bring extra socks.
Sweaty socks + friction = the dreaded blister. This little fluid filled bubble can end a hike before it even starts. Be smart and carry two extra pairs of quick drying socks. Cotton socks are a major no-no. If your feet are starting to feel sweaty, take a break to remove shoes, air out your piggies, and change socks. The few minutes that you spend taking this preventative measure will be well worth it.
4. First Aid Kit.
Now, the chances of you actually using it are rare, but you just never ever know when something could happen. We put together our own kit, which consists of bandages, medical tape, antiseptic ointment, pocket-sized mirror, a pocket knife, cotton swabs, and medications if necessary. We always carry our IDs and insurance cards. We know that it might sound silly, especially if you are just day hiking, but the truth is that danger can strike at any time and it is always important to be prepared!
5. Bring your cell phone.
Before heading out on the trail, turn it off. If you forget to turn off your phone, chances are that while you are hiking, your phone will be roaming and the battery will drain fast. Most often, cell phones do not work in isolated areas, but it does not hurt to carry it with you.
6. Before departing for your trip, eat a hearty breakfast.
We will usually have some coffee, eggs, homefries, and whole wheat toast. If we leave before the birds start chirping, we will usually opt for a quick protein shake.
7. Pack hearty and dense snacks.
On an average hike, a person can burn anywhere from 800-1100+ calories. Our favorite trail snacks include Cliff bars, trail mix, and our infamous PBJs. Sometimes we will bring apples and bananas too.
8. Use your noodle.
The trails are for the most part very safe. However, it is still important to use good judgment and common sense. Always stay on the beaten path.