Hiking has become very popular with the pandemic, as more and more people are looking for ways to spend their time outside of their homes. Being outdoors, breathing fresh air and spending time with your friends and family is a time well spent, but there are things that need to be considered before you head out for a hike.
You want to experience the beauty of nature, but you also don’t want nature getting the best of you. Your protection against the elements such as heat, cold, rain, and wind can make or break your trip. Hence, getting the right gear is essential for staying dry and protected against all weather surprises.
Get Protection Against Rainy Weather
There are many ways to protect yourself against rainy weather, but one of the best is still a simple plastic tarp. Tarps have many advantages over other types of shelter. They are light and compact, same as the bivvy bags yet they can keep you dry in almost any kind of rainstorm. They’re easy to set up and take down, and they can be used again and again.
As a hiker, you should carry a tarp with you just about anytime you go out into the woods or mountains. You don’t need it on warm summer days or clear winter nights, but there will be plenty of those occasions when rain threatens your hike.
A waterproof jacket is another important piece of gear for any hiker, and it should be your first choice regardless of the season. A rain jacket will not only protect you from rain but will also offer you protection from wind and cold weather.
Choose a Compact and Lightweight Shelter
A bivy bag is a tent for one person that packs up small enough to be able to fit in a backpack. As such, it’s a nice option when a tent isn’t a choice. Bivy bags are popular with ultralight backpackers. They can be useful in situations where carrying a large tent is not practical and can also act as an emergency shelter.
The practical and compact bivy sacks are designed to keep the user dry and warm while spending the night outside in cold or inclement weather. Some models have mosquito netting, which helps keep insects at bay while you sleep. Some also have zippered entrances on either side of the face, allowing you to easily get in and out of the bag without having to unzip it entirely.
A standard bivouac bag measures about 235 x 70 x 30cm and weighs about 600g when empty. It also has a waterproof outer layer made from nylon or polyester, and an insulating inner layer made from either nylon or polyester fiberfill. They’re extremely compact when packed into their stuff sacks, which are about the size of your fist once you roll up your bag inside it.
Designed to be used with a sleeping pad, the bivy sacks have a floor made of thin foam and waterproof material that covers the whole bottom and the sides of the bag under your sleeping pad. They keep water from leaking into the bottom of your sleeping bag by creating a barrier between it and the ground. This kind of bags can also be used with a hammock.
The most important part is the waterproof material along the bottom of the bivy bag. The material must be waterproof, breathable, and durable enough to withstand repeated use. Most manufacturers use Gore-Tex or similar laminate or coating technology for this fabric. You’re also going to like them for their simple setup.
Layer up: Common Hiking Clothing Options
Clothing and equipment that protects you from the elements are one of the most important items in your backpack. The reason is simple: if you’re not comfortable, you won’t enjoy hiking.
Because of this, hikers have come up with an abundance of clothing and gear options to keep them warm, dry and happy in all sorts of conditions. It helps to think about layers when you’re choosing your shelter since that can make it easier to adapt to changing temperatures or weather. And some hikers take the layering even further by bringing a variety of specialized clothing items.
In general, though, you want clothes that are:
Comfortable: You want them to feel good against your skin, stretch well and not chafe or irritate you. That’s particularly important because hiking can be repetitive work; if your clothing doesn’t fit well or feels uncomfortable, it can start to feel like a job instead of fun.
Hiking-specific: You don’t want to worry about how your clothes will hold up against rain or snow; you want them to be designed for hiking so they’ll perform well in those conditions. Even if it’s not raining when you set out on your hike, it might start raining later on during your hike. And even if the weather is nice now, it could get cold later, so you’d also like to have some long-sleeved shirts, thermal underwear (or a fleece jacket), and a jacket or windbreaker that will keep you warm.
Wear Proper Footwear
A good pair of shoes is as important as the shelter like the bivy sacks you ought to carry on a long hike. Not only does a good pair of hiking boots provide support for your feet, but it also protects them from rocks and other trail hazards. The type of shoe you choose depends on your current hiking activity and the terrain you’re tackling. Make sure you purchase the right type for your activity.
While some people may prefer to use a low-cut hiking shoe, others may like a high-top boot that covers more of their leg. Whatever your preference, make sure that the shoe has enough grip to handle all types of terrain while keeping your feet comfortable and safe.
Frequently changing terrain and weather conditions require hikers to adjust their footwear accordingly. Wet terrain often calls for waterproof boots that have grommets or vents to allow water to escape. Hiking in snowy conditions typically requires insulated boots with extra traction to prevent slipping.
Additionally, it’s important to make sure your shoes or boots are worn in before taking them on an extended trip or hike so you avoid blisters and other injuries. Overnight hikers should bring along warm socks, as well as a spare pair in case the first pair gets wet or lost.
Wear a Cap to Protect Your Head from Sunburns
Apart from sunblock, always wear a cap when you go hiking. By wearing a cap, you will protect yourself from sunburns as well as possible headaches due to heat exposure. It will also protect your head from injuries caused by rocks, branches or other hard objects when you fall down or trip over something along the trail.
To Sum Up
The most important thing to remember is that the very fact you’re leaving your home to spend a few days outdoors means you should plan ahead. Your biggest enemy when hiking is not a bear or a wolf, but bad weather, so make sure you bring the necessary equipment with you.