As the weather gets nicer, we all start craving more time outdoors. Hiking is a great activity that you can enjoy with friends or with your family – it’s inexpensive, it’s a great way to discover new areas, and it doesn’t require a whole lot of equipment. That said, there are a few hiking essentials that you won’t want to forget; we've rounded up five must-haves that any hiker will want to have on-hand.
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1. Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Water Bottle
It’s no surprise that the first thing on our list is a water bottle. It’s important to stay hydrated on your hike, but as we all know, plastic water bottles aren’t great, either for you or for the environment.
The Klean Kanteen water bottle is made of stainless steel, which can make water taste a bit metallic, but it’s far better than dangerous plastic or breakable glass, and the electropolished interior does away with most of the metallic taste you might expect.
It’s light, durable, and comes in a variety of sizes, meaning that everyone from day hikers to more intrepid campers will love this bottle.
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2. Homemade Protein Bars
Nearly as important as adequate water on your hike is adequate fuel. We recommend throwing a protein bar or two into your bag, but before you go grabbing something off the shelf, consider making your own.
Our vegan, gluten-free protein bars are devoid of artificial junk, made simply from a combo of rolled oats, nuts and seeds, dried apricots, maple syrup, mashed banana, and almond butter. Sure, they won’t keep as long as the store-bought kind, but they’re much tastier and far more natural, and they'll definitely keep you full and energized.
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3. ECOdept Microfiber Towel
It’s important to have a towel on any camping trip: it can be used to mop up a wet tent, give you a dry place to sit, and allow you to dry yourself off quickly after a swim.
We love the microfiber towel from ECOdept, a small company that “believes in treading lightly on our planet” and thus designs eco-conscious products, including this towel, which is quickly gaining fans in the hiking community. It’s soft, dries very quickly, and is bigger than many, at 52 x 32 inches, though it packs down small and weighs only 8 ounces. It is also sold with its own waterproof bag, in case you need to pack it away before it’s fully dry.
Essential oils image via Shutterstock
4. Eco-Friendly Insect Repellent
You’re definitely going to want to protect yourself from bites on your hike, but that’s no reason to cover your body with dangerous chemicals. Natural bug repellant is the answer; you can either make your own with essential oils, using our DIY essential oil bug repellent recipe, or else this Baby Organic Bug Spray, both of which are DEET-free.
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5. Spyderco Delica 4 Plain Edge Knife
You’ll need a knife on your hike, but not necessarily for the reasons you think.
While many have big ideas of using a knife on a hike, the reality, according to a poll on It’s Tactical, is that the top 5 uses for a knife while backpacking are opening food packets, cutting cord, making a spark, preparing kindling, and cutting blisters.
For these uses, an ideal knife is going to be small, compact, and easy to use. And it doesn’t necessarily need to be pricey, either. The Spyderco Delica 4 Plain Edge Knife retails for around $60 and is easy to use, sharpen, and clean.
Hiking image via Shutterstock