4 Items I wish I had started with on my long distance hike
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Most of these are small and inexpensive items – but they can make all the difference in your daily life on the trail.
- A butt pad or seat. I got lucky and found one in a hiker box, it’s just the bottom 18 inches or so cut off from a closed cell foam sleeping pad. Or Thermarest makes one, the Z-seat, which is also a great option. These are lightweight, and keep your butt dry and relatively warm when you stop for meals or are sitting around at camp. Much, much better than sitting on a wet log or cold rock!
- Sunscreen. I wasn’t in the habit of wearing sunscreen each day before my long distance hike, and didn’t really think too much of it since it wasn’t even hot out yet. But, man did I get burnt!! Hiking all day, everyday, in Georgia when there are *no* leaves on the trees left me with a painful sunburn. Always bring and wear sunscreen so you don’t have to try to deal with the aftermath while you’re on the trail.
- A lighter sleeping pad. I’ll admit, I was scared of being uncomfortable while sleeping on the ground on the trail. So I ‘splurged,’ as in, allocated more weight than I should have to my sleeping pad. The sleeping pad I have is great, and pretty comfortable, but it’s full length and not ultra light by any means. I wish I just got a lighter one!
- A dromedary. This is great to have in addition to your water bottles that you use through out the day. I recommend a 4 liter drom if you’re going to go for it. That’s plenty to fill up once you get to camp to get you through dinner and breakfast the next day, and maybe even fill up your water bottles to start the day. They also come in handy when you have a long way between water sources and need to carry more than what’s in your water bottles. I love this MSR drom with the 3-in-1 lid because it has a bigger opening, which makes it easier to fill and clean, but also smaller openings to pour from if you’re cooking or washing dishes or your hands.
Speaking for myself, and most hikers here, we all wish we had started with lighter and simpler gear. So just keep that in mind as you are shopping around for gear and packing up for your next (or first!) trip.
Share something you wish you had on a hiking trip in the comments below!
For more tips on planning your long distance backpacking trip, check out:
- Things I thought I needed on the Appalachian Trail – but didn’t
- Is it safe to hike the Appalachian Trail alone?
- First Aid, Wilderness First Aid, and Wilderness First Responder – what’s the difference?