Your Guide to Hiking and Backpacking
"Always be prepared" is the Boy Scout motto. And if you're a hiker, it should be your motto, too. Although hiking and backpacking are relatively safe sports, many situations can, and do, happen that require advance planning and safety precautions. And the best time to prepare for them is before you hit the trails.
First-aid and survival kits
A first-aid kit is a must. Bandages, aspirin or ibuprofen, 2-inch tape for blisters, and personal medications are the basic items you should always keep with you. For longer hikes, include the following in your first-aid kit: pain medication, tape, blister kit, cravats, sterile compresses, self-adhering roller bandage, and a malleable metal splint (to splint fractures).
Another backpacking necessity is a survival kit. Every survival kit should contain the following: map of the area, compass, lighter or matches, flashlight, knife, whistle, signaling mirror, and space blanket or tarp (for shelter). Water purification equipment, either filter or tablet, is also important to carry.
Clothes can make the hiker
Knowing what clothing to take is very important when packing for a hike. Hikers need to be prepared for all types of weather, regardless of the time of year. That's why you should layer clothing.
The most important piece of clothing is on your feet. A good pair of hiking boots, that are comfortable and broken in with firm ankle support, are an absolute necessity.