Spring is a beautiful season for hiking with its mild temperatures and blooming wildflowers. However, hiking during springtime can also present some challenges such as unpredictable weather, muddy trails, and changing terrain. To fully enjoy the season’s wonders and overcome these challenges, you need to have the right gear for your spring hikes.
Whether you’re planning a day hike or a multi-day backpacking trip, we’ve got you covered with recommendations for what spring hiking gear to bring. So, get ready to gear up and hit the trails for some hiking adventure!
Whenever you go hiking or backpacking, it’s important to wear clothing appropriate to the season. Your life and limbs will depend on it. And since spring weather is a fickle thing, you must wear clothing that can be easily adapted to changes in temperature. Dressing in layers is the key to staying comfortable and safe in different types of weather.
Start off with the base layer. It should be made of moisture-wicking material such as polyester, nylon, or merino wool. These types of layers are designed to wick sweat away from your skin and keep you dry, which is essential for maintaining a comfortable body temperature. Avoid cotton, as it retains moisture and can lead to chafing and discomfort.
For your mid-layer, wear something that provides insulation while still allowing moisture to escape. This insulating layer will trap your body heat and keep you safe in colder temperatures. Lightweight and breathable clothes like a jacket or windbreaker made of wool and synthetic fleece are perfect for your mid-layer.
The outermost layer should be waterproof in case it rains. Wear waterproof pants and a pair of shorts underneath. You can take off your pants if it gets too hot. Hiking pants with zip-off legs will also work though they’re not for the fashion-conscious.
Bring a rain jacket, too. It’s a lifesaver when it suddenly pours or if you’re stranded and have to spend the night out in the cold. Other things you need to wear or bring on your hike include a hat and sunglasses to protect your head and eyes from the sun. Wear wool socks under your hiking boots for extra warmth.
Hiking Shoes or Boots
It’s a must to wear a good pair of boots or shoes that are designed for the outdoors. Choose one that can be used on different terrains, including wet and muddy trails. That means they should be durable, water-resistant, and have good traction. Avoid wearing flip-flops or sandals as they provide no protection for your feet. Regular rubber shoes won’t cut it since they won’t be able to keep your feet dry and the traction may not be enough.
A good backpack is essential for any hiking trip, and spring hikes are no exception. Choose a backpack that’s the right size for your needs and has enough pockets and compartments to store your gear. It should be made of water-resistant materials and come with a rain cover to keep your gear dry.
Never go hiking or backpacking without enough water to drink. If something happens and you’re unable to return home, you’ll need water to survive long enough until you find your way back or rescuers find you. An adult needs 1 liter of water for every hour of hiking, which is equivalent to about 4 cups. A child requires about 2 cups per hour.
Use a quality, BPA-free water bottle or hydration pack to store it in. Pack a portable water filter, a collapsible container, and some water purification tablets, too. It’s better to have lots of options in case of a life-and-death situation.
You need sustenance for the hike, so bring some food with you. Nutritious snacks like trail mix, energy bars, fresh or dried fruits, and nuts can provide much-needed fuel for your journey. They’re also lightweight and easy to carry in a backpack. Pack light meals that don’t have to be cooked and won’t spoil quickly such as sandwiches, wraps, hard-boiled eggs, cheese, or jerky.
Even if it’s just a day of hiking, you still have to be prepared in case you have to spend the night outdoors. A tent is the best emergency shelter around. It protects you from the elements when it rains during your day hike. It’s also perfect for multi-day hikes. Choose a lightweight one that’s quick and easy to set up and take down.
An emergency bivvy is more lightweight and compact than a tent. It’s small enough to fit in a backpack, which makes it a great option for day hikes. Other spring hiking gear that you can use for shelter are tarps, space blankets, and even garbage bags.
Springtime hiking trails can be challenging to navigate due to melting snow and changing terrain. Bring a map of the area and a compass so you can find your way back to safety in case you get lost. A GPS device will also come in handy as well as a GPS tracking app on your smartphone. Just don’t forget to charge your devices before you go hiking. You can also bring a power bank or portable solar charger.
First Aid Kit
Accidents can happen on any hike, so it’s important to be prepared with a first aid kit. Stock your kit with essentials like bandages, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers, and make sure you know how to use each item in case of an emergency.
Bringing a multi-tool when hiking in spring is a must because it can come in handy in a variety of situations. This versatile and useful spring hiking gear can help you make quick repairs to gear, perform basic first aid, and take care of other small tasks that may arise during your hike.
If you’re planning to hike for an extended period and there’s a possibility that you may be hiking after sunset. It’s a good idea to bring a headlamp. Even if you don’t expect to be out after dark, unexpected circumstances such as getting lost, a slower-than-anticipated pace or an injury could cause you to be out later than planned.
Headlamps are the ideal lighting tool for hiking since it keeps both hands free compared to a lantern or flashlight, though it won’t hurt if you keep either one in your pack as your backup. And since you’re wearing it on your head, you light up the area where you look. This will make it easier to see where you’re going and look out for uneven terrain and other hazards. In other words, a headlamp will help keep you from losing your footing and getting hurt.
Speaking of uneven terrain, you may want to bring a pair of trekking poles on your spring hike. These will help you stay balanced and stable so you don’t slip and stumble. And if you’re on the older or heavier side, trekking poles will help keep some of the weight off your legs and lower body.
On the other hand, if you’re hiking on mostly flat and easy terrain, you may not need trekking poles. They could even be more of a hindrance than a help in these situations. It really depends on you. If you can’t decide, it’s best to do some research on the trail you plan to hike first. You can also consult with experienced hikers or outdoor gear experts to help you make a decision.
Firestarter and Tinder
Bringing a fire starter when hiking can be important for several reasons. If the weather suddenly turns cold and you can’t go back or find shelter, a fire can help you stay warm and prevent hypothermia. If you’re on a multi-day spring hiking adventure, you’ll need a fire starter to provide light, cook food, and ward off wild animals. And when you get in trouble, a fire can be an effective way to signal for help.
Firestarters like waterproof matches, lighters, and ferro rods are pretty lightweight so you can bring more than one. Pack some tinder, too. It’ll help you start a fire quickly.
Another way to attract attention when you find yourself in an emergency situation is to use a whistle. Use it to call for help or to scare animals away. A whistle is small and lightweight so you can easily carry it with you on the trail. And with the right decibel level, your whistle can be heard up to a mile away.
One reason why you want to go hiking in spring is to enjoy the view. Make the most of your outdoor escapade by packing a pair of binoculars. They will come in handy when you want to get a better look at the birds and animals around you. The binoculars are also great for spotting landmarks, lakes, or other features that can help you orient yourself if you get lost.
Take things one step further and bring a drone, too. It can help you document your experience by capturing amazing photos and stunning footage of your adventure. Drones can also help you navigate more efficiently, survey the terrain, and identify potential hazards or obstacles on the trail, such as steep inclines, drop-offs, or wildlife. And in the event of an emergency, you can use your drone to locate a safe area or attract other people’s attention.
Not all hiking areas may allow the use of drones, however, so it’s important to check local regulations first. You may also need to obtain any necessary permits before flying a drone in a park or wilderness area. And remember, fly responsibly and considerately. Respect the privacy of other hikers and minimize disturbance to wildlife and natural resources.
Sunscreen and Insect Repellent
Don’t forget to include sunscreen and insect repellent when packing your spring hiking gear. You’ll be spending some time outdoors so you’ll be exposed to the sun’s rays while bugs will have a heydey feasting on you. Make sure your sunscreen has a high SPF rating and your insect repellent contains DEET, so you can enjoy your hiking adventure without worrying about sunburns or bug bites.
It’s easy to get dirty when you’re hiking. One slip and you can get your hands and knees dirty or muddy. Worse if you fall flat on your face. Pack a small hygiene kit with some basic stuff like hand sanitizer, wipes, alcohol, and toilet paper. Bring something to wipe your sweat, too, like a bandana or a small quick-drying microfiber towel. These will help keep you clean and comfortable during your outing. And if you get a scrape or cut, you can use them to clean and disinfect your wound.
For lady hikers, you may want to bring some feminine products such as tampons or panty liners, especially if it’s the time of the month. Sanitary pads can also be useful when you suffer a cut as you can use them to absorb blood.
It’d also be wise for women to bring a female urination device (FUD). It’s designed to allow women to urinate while standing up, without having to remove their clothing or squat down. There are no toilets along the trail so you better do your thing before heading out and pack an FUD if you have to pee during your hike.
Just remember, boys and girls, never pee along trails, campsites, and near water sources. It’s unsanitary and it can disturb the wildlife. Also, if you’re on a slope, pee facing downhill so it flows away from you and not back down onto your feet.
Garbage Bag or Ziploc Bag
Hikers should leave no trace. Never leave trash or anything you brought with you on the trail. Pack a garbage bag or Ziploc in your backpack to collect trash during your hike and dispose of it properly afterward. This includes food wrappers, cans, and bottles as well as organic waste like apple cores and banana peels.
These are just some of the basic spring hiking gear and supplies you need to pack before heading out for your next adventure. Make sure to research your trail ahead of time, learn some hiking safety tips, and check out what other hiking gear you need for your particular situation. Learn all these and more over at Gentleman Pirate Club. Happy Hiking!
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