Editor’s Note: Chris Szaroleta is one of our community’s most active members. He’s a corporate trainer by profession, but a gear enthusiast and lover of the outdoors at heart. After seeing his well-built hiking carry and his contributions to our forum topic on hiking, we asked Chris to school us on hiking safely and efficiently. Here's part 1 of his Carry Smarter primer on hiking and enjoying the outdoors.
You're undoubtedly aware that consistent physical activity will result in positive health benefits abound. Stress relief, mental acuity, calorie burning and stamina building are only a few examples. However, combining exercise with EDC culture can sometimes be problematic — you won't find too many guys at the gym pumping iron with a flashlight in their pocket or a multi-tool on their hip. Luckily, there's a simple solution to this EDCer conundrum... go for a hike! Hiking combines the highest degree of the previously mentioned health benefits, along with the need to carry gear. Truly, it's a win-win for those of us who want to stay in shape and have our essentials with us.
There's no shortage of reference material to assist in building your understanding of nature's complexities. And while there's absolutely no substitute for a good, working knowledge of outdoor skills, it'll be to your benefit to keep certain items with and on you. This first installment of this three-part series focuses specifically on day hiking (in warm to moderate to moderate climates) and the bare-bones essentials you'll need to get started on your first jaunt into the woods.
A Quick Note on Clothing…
We won't begin from the ground up with detailed information about apparel or footwear. Those are important elements to consider when hiking, but clothing and boots have more to do with personal preference. In general, try to find comfortable attire with moisture wicking properties and boots that fit well, provide ankle support, have substantial tread and water proofing or resistance. Now let’s get into some essential EDC items for shorter hikes.
Backpack & Hydration
Osprey Packs Talon 33 Backpack
For a day hike, you'll want something durable, lightweight and formed to fit many body styles. Enough room for your gear, some minor organization and an internal sleeve for your hydration bladder will suffice. To accommodate these features, look to the Osprey Packs Talon 33 Backpack. 33L is ample for day hike needs, but can be a functional multi-day option with an intelligently packed, minimalist approach. Osprey also provides one of the best warranties in the industry.
Platypus Hoser Hydration System
As for hydration, ease of use and quality control reign supreme. Check out the Platypus Hoser Hydration System. This 2L option will fit snugly in the hydration sleeve of your pack, and will provide you with plenty of water for a quick out and back trip.
Adventure Medical Kits UltraLight & Watertight Kit
Scrape a knee, cut a finger or get a blister and you'll be happy you were prepared. Adventure Medical Kits makes various first aid necessities to assist the casual and advanced hiker when injuries occur. To keep it light and simple, try out the Adventure Medical Kits UltraLight & Watertight .9 Kit.
Having nearly limitless functionality to assist in completing common tasks, a good multi-tool is an invaluable resource to have in your day-to-day, let alone, in the woods. Grab a Leatherman Wave for one of the most feature packed multi-tools available.
Black Diamond Storm Headlamp
It's easy to lose track of time when hiking. If darkness begins descending and you still have a bit of a trek back to your car, you'll want a light to guide your way. Your eyes go where your head goes, so stay hands-free with a headlamp to illuminate the trail. Check out the Black Diamond Storm Headlamp for bonus features at a great price.
To help avoid letting time slip away, wear a rugged, multi-functional watch built to withstand the elements. Slap the budget-friendly Casio SGW100-1V on your wrist to aid in navigating if you get off trail and to check for an accurate air temperature reading.
Editor’s Note: By now, you’re equipped with the bare-bones knowledge to hit the trails for a short dayhike. Stay tuned for part two, where we'll examine emergency preparedness and survival gear. Do you hike often, or want to get started? We hope this guide was useful! Let us know in the comments below.