8 Must Have Hiking Gear Outdoor Enthusiast

8 Must-Have Things In Your Hiking Backpack Before You Set Out Hiking Next Time (Updated 2022)

Hiking has been a popular pastime for centuries. For those of us fortunate enough to live in Canada, the country has some of the most beautiful trails in North America. Whether you are new to hiking or a seasoned vet, there are a few hiking essentials that you need to stay safe and comfortable on your next hike.

Below we will look at 8 must-have items to ensure you are ready for anything on your next hiking adventure.

First Aid Kit

A first aid kit is an essential piece of gear for any hiker, whether you are planning a short day hike or a multi-day backpacking trip. A basic first aid kit should include supplies to treat minor injuries like cuts and scrapes, as well as supplies to treat more serious injuries like bone fractures and snake bites.

You can buy a pre-made first aid kit or make your own by packing supplies like bandages, gauze, adhesive tape, antibiotic ointment, pain relief medication, and insect repellent. First aid kits typically cost anywhere from $10 to $100, depending on the size and quality of the kit.

First aid kits can make a world of difference when it comes to outdoor activities beyond hiking. Experienced hunters understand the value of a well-equipped first aid kit and will not venture out into the woods without one.

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Emergency Shelter

Survival experts will tell you the most important thing you can do if caught in an emergency situation outside is to find adequate shelter. Better yet - bring an emergency shelter with you!

An emergency shelter kit is a very important thing to have when you are hiking. If something bad happens and you have to stay outside, this will help keep you safe and protected from the elements. It is a good idea to have one of these in your backpack whenever you go on a hike.

Many emergency shelters are small, tent-like structures that are conveniently packed tightly in a lightweight bag. These tents offer protection from rain, snow and wind. Other options include heat-conserving emergency blankets or large tarps. Depending on the size and style these shelters can range from $30 to $150+.


Dehydration is a common ailment that can occur during hiking, especially in warm weather. Symptoms of dehydration include headache, dizziness, nausea, and fatigue. In extreme cases, dehydration can lead to seizures and even death.

It is very important to be prepared for dehydration by bringing plenty of water with you on your hike. A good rule of thumb is to pack one liter of water for every two hours you will be hiking. You should also carry a means of purifying water if you are hiking in an area where drinking from the water source is not safe.

In addition to bringing water, it is also important to stay hydrated by drinking fluids regularly throughout your hike. If you are feeling thirsty, you are already dehydrated, so be sure to drink plenty of water.

If you are planning an extended hike, or just preparing for any possible situation, it may be a good idea to pack a water filtration straw. These straws are ultra-light and can be worn easily on a lanyard. Filtering water as you drink, these straws can keep you hydrated if you find yourself lost or run out of water while outdoors.

Water Jug


When heading out for a hike, especially in an area that you are unfamiliar with, having proper navigation tools is imperative. In today's world of technology, digital compasses, GPS systems and apps such as AllTrails are a great resource. However, technology does fail. Whether batteries die or you are unable to access service areas, it is important to also include a hard copy of a map of the area.


When you are hiking, having a light source is essential, especially if you find yourself out after dark. Not only does it allow you to see where you are going, but it also keeps you safe by making you visible to others.

One of the best light sources for hikers is a headlamp. This allows you to have both hands free, which is very important when hiking. You may need to use your hands to climb or balance and a headlamp leaves your hands free to do so.

In addition, a headlamp provides more light than other options like flashlights. This is especially important when hiking in the dark or in areas that are difficult to see in general. Headlamps typically cost anywhere from $10-$50 depending on the brand.


Sun Protection

Hiking is a great way to get outdoors, breathe fresh air and soak in the sun. However, too much sun can cause a number of problems so it is important to ensure you are properly protected. Apply sunscreen prior to beginning your hike and reapply as necessary. It is also a great idea to dress in light layers as clothing, especially UV blocking fabric, can further protect your skin. Other necessary items for sun protection are sunglasses and a hat or visor.

Extra Layers

While you may be planning to work up quite a sweat while hiking, having extra layers in your backpack is smart. Depending on where you are hiking and for how long, temperatures can quickly change. From storms moving around to elevation levels, the weather is constantly changing and having a few extra layers can help.

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Part of the reason people love hiking so much is that it is a fun way to stay active. In fact, an hour of hiking can burn anywhere from 400 to 500 calories! That being said, it is also important to ensure you have food on you to sustain your body as you are hiking, especially if you plan on being out for a while.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are a great snack to pack along as well as items high in protein. However, if for some reason you find yourself out longer than expected, having calorie-dense options is also important. Granola bars, protein bars as well as non-perishable items can make all the difference in emergency situations.

Hiking is a great way to get outside, explore nature and stay healthy, however, it can be dangerous if you are unprepared for what may come your way. It's important to make sure you have all of the necessary hiking gear on hand before embarking on any hike - from navigation tools to extra layers and food sources that will keep you going strong. Whether you own real estate in Kamloops or Banff and are itching to check out nearby trails, never be unprepared for a hike again!