When planning a hike, it is easy to throw in everything you think is important in a bag. The problem with that, however, is you end up with a heavy bag that makes the hike uncomfortable.
Most Nigerian hikers barely carry a backpack at all. At most, they carry any bag that allows them put in the bare essentials like water, snacks, and photography gear (if available).
So what do you need to know in orrder to pack effectively before a hike on?
First, you need to decide the nature of the hike – is it a day hike, section hike or multi-day hike? This is important because the nature of the hike may determine what you should carry. Also, know how to use the gear you intend to pack. There is no point packing gear that you don’t know how to use.
Below are 10 items you can consider putting in your backpack:
It could be a GPS tracker, a map o a compass. This is important and will help if you get lost. With a navigation tool, you will be able to find your way.
This could be a sleeping bag with a sleeping mat, reflective blanket, a tarp, a hammock or a tent. Even on a day trip, you could run into a challenge that might make it hard for you to get back to base. An example would be starting your hike up Oke Ado Mountain late in the day such that you run out of daylight. Having sleeping gear makes it easy to camp out if the need arises.
If you plan to camp out, you need to have things to cook with like a mini stove, a source of fuel, a lighter/matches, bowl/plate, utensils, insulated mug, etc. You also need to carry a water bottle to store water in case you run out of water and stumble on a fresh spring.
Edibles & Water filter
You can carry items like bread/sandwich, juice packs, g. nuts, garri, sugar, noodles, kilishi, fruits, etc. If you attach a good quality water filter or purifier to your water bottle, you should be able to get clean drinkable water from any water source you come across. Carry at least a day’s worth of food with you on any hike.
Safety and First Aid kit
For first aid kit, as usual, we are referring to the likes of antiseptic wipes, antacid, antihistamine, bandages, gauze, medical tape, insects sting relief, electrolyte tablets, irrigation syringe, pain medication, tweezers, medical gloves, scissors, etc. To treat any injury, pain or stomach trouble that may occur during the hike. For safety equipment, get headlamps, pocket knife/multi-tools, flashlights with extra batteries, whistle, repair kits for a tent or stove, duct tape, solar charger, etc.
When out in the wild, you need to protect your body from the elements. Use sunglasses, a sun hat and sunscreen for protection from UV rays of the sun, lip balm for dry cracking lips when thirsty, socks to protect your feet from blister formation, the right hiking shoes to protect your ankle and feet, a helmet and knee and elbow guard (if going for cave exploration), etc.
Carrying an extra pair of clothing is important. Sometimes the weather can change on you during a hike and you need to be prepared. Keep a waterproof clothing item close by or you can use a plastic nylon bag. You can also get thermal leggings to keep your leg warm and a jacket/thermal base layer for your upper body if you are hiking in raining season or somewhere cold like on Obudu Holy Mountain. If in a dry place like in Northern Nigeria, carry clothes with breathable material like cotton. Have a hiking shirt and underwear that can absolve sweat when heat bears down.
You can carry a zip-lock bag, a waste paper bag, a toiletries’ bag with biodegradable soap, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, a towel, toothpaste and brush, etc. Other items include and are not limited to your phone, camera, binoculars, personal medication, insect repellent, outdoor journal, etc. Having a credit card or a small amount of cash isn’t a bad idea too.
Is there any other compulsory item we should include in this list? Share it with us and the reason you recommend it. We’d love to hear from you.