Hiking Essentials: Getting Ready for a Trek!

This weekend is Labor Day Weekend and many of you may be itching to hit the trail! Before you and your family or friends head out for an adventure, be sure you are prepared. Although only planning a short hike or a day’s worth, there are still some essentials that you need to keep in your backpack.
First and foremost is taking plenty of water and snacks or food. Too often a group sets out on a trail with no additional water or source of nutrition. If the trail is more difficult than expected, you or someone in the group may need more water than planned or get shaky and require a snack. Freeze-dried fruit is something small that is easy for children and adults to get some sugar and carbs for quick energy but won’t bruise or go bad as quickly as fresh fruit. Dehydration is always a risk, no matter the season, so be prepared!
Consider packing any additional insulation you may need. Even though you shouldn’t be hiking once the sun goes down, do check the forecast to see if there is a drastic temperature drop and have an extra hat, vest, etc… ready if needed as your hike moves along. Don’t forget about sunscreen! Even though it may not be the blistering sun of summer, you are still exposed to lots of rays so plan ahead. Lip balm is also something small but helpful!
For first-aid, you will want to have the basics such as bandages, antiseptic wipes, blister treatment, and any medicine for allergic reactions. Also keep in mind the area you are hiking. For the area around Lake Keowee, we are thankfully not as prone to snake bites as other areas but a snake-bite kit is inexpensive and small so worth the investment…just in case!
Matches or some form of fire starter is always great to carry, even if you don’t plan on needing a fire. If something dire was to happen, having a fire provides warmth, protection as keeps away animals, and can provide clean water. A map, trail guide or compass is highly recommended. It is easy to get turned around once you are away from the bustling traffic and well-marked road signs.
There are many great sources online for you to create and prepare your own checklist of items for a hike but these are just a few suggestions. As always, go and enjoy nature but be prepared when you do! Have fun on the trails!

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