Hiking is an activity that I enjoy so much. I try to hike as much as possible, and over the years I have tried a few things that I cannot live without, or items that I have-- that I just wish I found something better.
Trekking Poles - Trekking poles were something that I have never really used in my early hiking days, because I was kind of nervous and slightly embarrassed to use. But, I used some recently, and oh my gosh... they were life changers! My knees were so much less sore, and everything just seemed easier on my body overall, while using poles.
Shoes - Hiking shoes are also one of those things that I didn't really know I needed until I got them. I used to just use my running shoes... they were okay, but using my nice running shoes for hikes, just caused a lot of unecessary wear, and they also just didn't have the grip I needed. Salomons have been my go to, I have the Vayas boots, and the other more aggressive boots that have gore-tex and a grippier bottom. Next pair that I will be investing in will be the Speedcross 5's.
Backpacks - Backpacks, backpacks, backpacks... so far I have not had the best of luck finding the perfect pack. I used to hike with the REI Rucksack, but have finally retired that one. It's still in great shape, however it's not perfect, and it also didn't have enough support for my camera gear for long hikes. Therefore, the Peak Design backpack has been my new hiking pack. It's perfect for camera gear, & my hiking stuff. It's also surprisingly sturdy, breathable, and balanced. I carried 15lbs on a 6 mile hike with 1035 elevation gain, and I felt no pain, nor heat exhaustion. For light hikes, I just purchased the Osprey daylite, which I will use tomorrow, so I will keep you posted on that.
Sunblock - Pretty self explanatory. Bring it. Wear it. Slather it all over.
First Aid Kit - First Aid Kits used to never be part of my kit... shameful. I know. BUT! I now bring a pretty intense first aid kit... to each their own, but I feel so secure bringing everything I do. I always make sure to bring a tourniquet, simple first aid kit (bandages, ointments, etc), SAM Splints, etc. I will create a more in depth post about my first aid kits soon!
Water - Like the sunblock. Bring it, Drink it, Slather it all over... lol... Depending on the hike I may use a bladder, my running vest with flasks, or just a water bottle.
Snacks - To each their own. But, I always bring cliff bars, and electrolyte and/or energy gummies. For longer hikes I may also bring a sandwich and fruit/veggies. I have friends that like to bring lunchables-- which is super cute. Just more handsy.
This is a pretty basic list, and that's how it should be! Don't overthink it, and hit the trails!