Hiking is all about relaxing, enjoying the sights and sounds of nature, and getting quality exercise. In parts one and two, we gave you all the necessary components to get you out there and keep you safe. Now we're going to outfit you for comfort!
The items we'll list here aren't essential to your experience on the trail, but they will enhance your relaxation and help you enjoy nature just a bit more. The idea behind items like these is simple — no matter where you end up, you can plop down, take it all in and an ear-to-ear grin will spread across your face. As we wrap up this series, our hope is that you'll take our gear recommendations into consideration and be encouraged to find local and distant parks to explore. You'll find, just as we have, that the benefits are limitless and the rewards are yours for the taking. Now, let's get started.
ENO DoubleNest Hammock
If you've never felt the joy that comes from being suspended in the air between two trees, you haven't lived. Ok, maybe that's a bit much. In all seriousness, there's almost no chance of you laying in a hammock and not feeling totally at ease. As a matter of fact, the most risk you'll encounter is probably getting drowsy and dozing off. For the ultimate in backcountry serenity, check out the ENO DoubleNest. It's light, packs down a hair bigger than a softball and goes up easy. Don't forget the suspension straps!
Therm-A-Rest Trail Seat
Sure, you're in the outdoors; sitting on the ground is totally acceptable. For some, it's even preferred. But since we're here to talk about comfort, let's get you off the ground, even if it's only an inch or two. To keep your backside dry and free of dirt, take a look at the self inflating and super packable Therm-A-Rest Trail Seat.
Alite Designs Monarch Chair
So we got you off the ground, which is a comfort step in the right direction, but it's not lounging. If you want real comfort, you'll need to pack an actual chair. Seems hard to believe, right? The Alite Designs Monarch Chair will stun you with its strength to weight ratio, as well as its extreme packability. It's like reclining in your den, but in nature.
Luxuries in the outdoors are easy, even when you're far from civilization. Just thinking about throwing everything I could possibly need onto my back and heading out gives me goosebumps. Now that you're either laying or sitting somewhere in the woods, it's time to relax. Feel the breeze and the sound of rustling leaves while taking in a good book with a Kindle Paperwhite. Its glare-free display works great in the sun, and with a storage capacity that holds over 1,000 books, you'll never be without.
Apple iPod Nano
Perhaps reading isn't your thing. Totally understandable, but if you're reading this, you've at least stuck around to enjoy this Carry Smarter series (we appreciate that). Since we still have to keep you non readers entertained, here's option number two! The 16GB Apple iPod Nano will serve you well on all fronts. You can take a chunk of your digital music library with you, and even keep up with local weather and traffic with the built-in FM tuner.
A Little Something Extra
Platypus PlatyPreserve Wine Preservation System
This last entry is a bonus because it's truly the ultimate in outdoor leisure. Whether by yourself, or with a companion, to sip wine in nature is luxury refined. Try out the Platypus PlatyPreserve to store 800ml of your favorite red while you're out and about. Don't forget to check laws for consuming alcohol on state and federal land!
There you have it, all you could ever need to know about the gear to get you started, keep you safe and give you comfort on a day hike. Take our precautions seriously and learn about nature before heading out. There are plenty of resources available. For now, tell us what you think about the comfort items we recommended and let us know how much you enjoyed our hiking Carry Smarter series.