The children’s charity I volunteer for frequently takes our wards out hiking. We do the activity at daytime since we wouldn’t want to lose any of the kids on the hiking trail. Besides, it’s quite fun seeing everything in the brightness of day to enable the children to get the most enjoyment out of the activity.
Of course, like any outdoor endeavor, hiking requires essential and optional gear to be brought along. There are also accessories as well as clothing to think about. After we’ve decided how long to hike, we need to pick a trail that can accommodate that element. This will enable us to narrow down an often long list of gear that we have to take on the hike.
We make sure the kids are in hiking boots, good socks, comfy shirts, and pants. Those items keep their bodies covered from possible things in the wilderness like poison ivy. We can’t afford to cut the hiking trip short because someone has a swollen face that needs medical attention. We also make sure they have waterproof, and lightweight jackets on or folded up in their daypacks. There’s no telling how the weather can turn so suddenly.
Since the tops of the ears, as well as the back of the neck, could get sunburned easily while on the trail, some sunscreen or a hat ensures those parts are covered. Sun protection can also include lip balm and sunglasses.
For navigation, a map in its case is useful, but we have this only as back up because the charity lets us use a GPS. You can also take along an altimeter if you intend to go climbing along the trail, but with kids in tow, we do not attempt that activity.
We make sure the kids also have gloves on, as we do. We make sure we have some first aid kits, at least one for two people on the hike. Some of us bring lighters for building a fire, in case we decide to do any outdoor cooking.
A flashlight or headlamp will be useful if you plan to go exploring caves on the way. Oh and be sure to have extra batteries for that.
We also need a multi-tool or knife for handling outdoor elements. We make sure our group has a day’s supply of food. It won’t do to have one of the kids going hungry and the whole team not having anything for nutrition.
We bring hydration packs or water bottles, and in case we run out of drinking supply, water purification tablets or systems can enable us to draw natural water from a stream and get it purified for drinking.
It is also sensible to bring along a tarp or tent or a reflective blanket, although we do not have the intention of staying too long in the wilderness with the kids. Snacks like trail mix, energy bars, chews and the like are sensible things to bring as well. Hand sanitizers and toilet paper or wet wipes are necessary.
Hiking should be fun and exciting. That’s why you and I should not leave home without the essentials as well as some miscellaneous items to ensure success in the outdoor endeavor.