Hiking is one of the most primitive human experiences we can still have today. Moving through the great outdoors, feeling the rush of fresh air in our lungs, and the stretch in our muscles that comes from balancing on uneven terrain can leave anyone feeling refreshed and ready for another week of city living.
Because hiking is good for us and enjoyable, it makes for a spectacular pastime. Beyond this, it’s something that you can get into with relatively little money or purchases made. This being said, once you begin to dive deep into the world of hiking, you’ll discover that there are countless devices and gadgets that can make hiking easier, more comfortable, or more fun.
The following will explore some of the more handy devices you can take with you on your next hike to make sure that all your needs are met while you’re out. Of course, every person and their hiking needs are different; make sure you research the weather and terrain when planning any hiking trip and pack accordingly. The following list is meant to serve as a jumping-off point, not a one-size-fits-all hiking gadget list.
There’s a reason this device is considered a classic. It works. Compasses have been used for a long time to guide humans in the direction they need to go—especially once they’ve found themselves off course in uncharted territory. Compasses are simple to use, and with a little bit of practice, you should be ready to use this nifty device on your travels. Compasses have the added benefit of not needing batteries or certain conditions to function in.
This is another device that might not seem groundbreaking but can make a big difference when you’re out in the woods, and something doesn’t go according to plan. Having access to fire amid hikes of any length can put you at a great advantage if you need to stop and eat or if things get cold while you’re camped. Of course, make sure that you read up on the fire bans and warnings before you embark on your hike. In some areas, lighting fires is hazardous as the risk of forest fires is high. Make sure you know whether or not these risks apply to you and your hike.
Solar Panel Chargers
This one is convenient if you’re going on a longer hike. Yes, you don’t want to be on your phone the whole time—likely part of the reason you love hiking so much has to do with the lack of screens—but you still want to have a decent charge on your phone battery, so you can answer and give emergency calls if needed. Your friends and family should be able to get in touch with you if you need to cut the trip short and return home for any reason. You also want the ability to call emergency services if someone gets hurt on the trip or help is needed for another reason. As one of the most versatile hiking gadgets, solar panel chargers allow you to charge your cell phone battery using only the sunlight.
For those of us who like to go way out into the wilderness, cell phones aren’t going to cut it. There are satellite phones and satellite communication devices that can help make sure someone can figure out where you are at all times. Many of these devices come with power banks or solar chargers so that you can keep them fully charged no matter where you are.
First Aid Kit
While this doesn’t sound like a fun high-tech hiking device, first aid kits can be literal lifesavers. Many light-weight first aid kits are available for sale in a completed form, but you can also shop around and buy the items you need individually and put them together into a pack or container yourself. Make sure that the container you choose is waterproof or water-resistant—no one likes a soggy bandage, and it’s easy for bacteria to grow on wet materials.
Mini Filtration Systems
Staying hydrated is important, no matter where you’re going, but when you’re exerting yourself, or it is hot out, it’s even more crucial. Several water bottles are available on the market with built-in filtration systems that allow you to fill your bottle up at any natural source of running water (never use static water because the chances of bacteria gathering are high) and filter the water so that it’s drinkable.
The above list of hiking gadgets is by no means exhaustive. There are countless items available to help hikers no matter the weather, terrain, or distance traveled. One of the best things you can do for your own hiking journey is to make sure that you understand your limits and don’t push yourself beyond them.