I love hiking. Absolutely love it! And I’m lucky enough to be a short drive away from the Great Smoky Mountains and Pisgah National Forest in Western North Carolina. Even with my love of hiking I’ve had a lot of learn about hiking gear along the way. And I’ve made my fair share of mistakes by not being prepared for a hike. So I’m going to share my list of must have hiking gear to save you all some trouble and some of the mistakes I’ve made along the way.
Waterproof hiking boots:
I can not stress enough how important this whole waterproof thing is. When you are hiking you never know when you are going to have to cross a creek that you will have to wade through. I made the mistake of wearing tennis shoes on my hike to Mount Cammerer. Less than a 1/4 mile into the hike I had to cross an icy cold creek. I had the hike the rest of the way in snow and ice in cold wet tennis shoes for 10 miles. I never claimed to be an expert, but I sure learned my lesson!
Your knees will thank you for this especially if you are planning on doing longer hikes. I was so wishing for hiking poles as I was making the descent from Mount LeConte. My knees were screaming by the end of that hike. Again, lesson learned.
Portable and compact camping stove:
After a long hike you are going to be hungry. Yes, you can pack sandwiches and snacks. But there is something so nice about having a warm meal at the top of the mountain. I personally love my Jet Boil. It’s super compact and light and easy and quick to use. We’ve had numerous hikers tell us they were envious of our warm meal. Father’s Day gift win right there!
First aid kid:
You never know when an accident will happen, especially if you are hiking with your kids. I always like to keep a small first aid kit with us along with a roll of toilet paper. I figured out toilet paper was good for more than just wiping your booty after my son took a spill during a hike and busted his nose. I’m still thankful for the hikers that stopped to help us with their toilet paper stash.
High protein and high carb snacks:
You are going to get super hungry during your hikes. It’s always nice to bring along yummy granola bars and nuts to munch on along the way. This will help curb your appetite until you can stop for a meal.
I hope this list helps you all out, especially if you are a beginner hiker. If you are a hiking enthusiast I would love to hear from you! What is your must have hiking gear?