• Melanie Adair

Top 9 Hiking Gear: Additions

Got the basic gear down for hiking? Looking to upgrade or expand some of your gear? Add these 9 additional recommendations the next time you go out (*Note: some are season dependent).

saskatchewan, hiking, autumn, fall, wascana trail, outdoors, trails, nature

*Disclaimer: Gear and brand names are all my own suggestions based on previous experience. I am super harsh on my equipment so if they have lasted with me, they should also last with you. Please use whichever brand works best for you.*

1. Trekking Poles

I have had these for over 10 years and they travel with me everywhere. For long, steep hikes, they help relieve pressure off your knees and allows you to use the whole body to get up that mountain. And when you're tired, they are great to have that extra support to lean on. Not convinced you need them? Try a friends for your next hike and you will notice a remarkable difference.

trekking poles, hiking poles, hiking, outdoors, nature

2. Microspikes

These are a new addition for me and I love them. Weather can be deceiving. It looks beautiful and clear when you start and as you trek up that hill, the weather gets colder and snow and ice linger for a little bit longer.

I used Kahtoola MICROspikes. There are different types of spikes depending on what you need them for (light walks, trail running, backcountry hiking, etc). These ones are good for general hikes and the backcountry. Their spikes are a bit longer and grip ice as you walk up or down the trail.

*Only recommended if plan to hike during fall/winter/spring when there is snow and ice.*

3. Hydration Pack

If you don't want to have to constantly stop and take off your bag to get water, invest in a hydration pack that sits in your hiking bag, and the tube goes along your shoulder straps. I had my old one for almost 8 years and I used it a lot.

Few things to look for when buying one, the size. I would recommend 1L or higher. 2L is a good option and what most come in. It gives you just the right amount of liquid without taking too much space.

My go-to choice is HydraPak. I bought their 1.5L insulated hydration pack in Hong Kong and kept my water cold for almost 6 hrs at +30C! I fill it full of ice and have ice cold water for most of the hike. It is well worth the purchase for any hot hikes.

*Based on experience-DO NOT put anything other than water in these packs! They are a bit hard to clean and juice, electrolyte replacements can actually start to mold inside.*

hydration pak, camelbak, water, hydration, hydrapak, hiking

4. Gaiters

Another new purchase but I feel like I've had to pull this out more than I was expecting this year.

I love gaiters because they are lightweight, waterproof, and only cover the area that you need them to cover. They work great when it's not quite cold enough to wear ski pants when it's snowing or you don't want the hotness of rain pants for that little bit of morning dew. I have worn them running during the winter, during snowshoeing, and any other times I don't want my feet wet. They fit well over hiking boots or shoes.

My choice is Black Diamond. They velcro up the front, have adjustable straps, and can be tightened up at the top.

gaiters, hiking, waterproof, winter, spring, fall

5. Waterproof Pants

I literally only own waterproof pants because I needed them for Antarctica but wow they have made a difference in a lot of activities I do. I'm surprised at how many times I have actually worn them.

I have Northface Futurelight pants. As the name suggests, they are super thin and lightweight and I can wear them all year round. Since they are not insulated, they pack down quite well in your bag and literally add zero extra weight. I use them a lot for the in-between seasons when it's not cold enough to wear ski pants. For hiking, I've pulled them out a few times where it's the wet snow that soaks everything. I normally put those on and then have my gaiters overtop, that way I'm 100% dry.

waterproof pants, North face, hiking, winter, summer, spring, fall

6. Hiking Socks

Just like shoes, socks are also just important. They need to keep your feet cool when it's hot and warm when it's cold. I typically wear liners to help with that and blisters, along with a pair of hiking socks.

My choice of hiking socks are Icebreaker. They have everything you need (length, thickness) depending on the type of hike. The best part is that if you ever get a hole in your socks, you can return them and get a new pair for free!

7. Headlamp

Hands up if you ever went on a hike that went waaaaay longer than expected and ended up trekking back in the dark. Happened to me a few times before. I know all phones come with flashlights but it's a real pain trying to carry that, with your poles, balancing your weight when coming down or your phone has died because your hike went longer than expected.

I have had mine for 6 years and bought it at Canadian Tire. As long as you have a headlamp that gives off a normal amount of light in the dark, that's all you need. It can be battery or rechargeable but as long as you have one.

headlamp, night hiking, hiking

8. External Battery Packs

By the time you take all your photos, look at the map 100x's, those all drain your phone's battery. Just like the headlamp, as long as you have one that's charged and can at least charge your phone to 100%, that's all you need.

Few recommendations: 20000mAh as they can last a few days if fully charged, and one that has a couple of extra ports to plug in (charge multiple things at the same time).

9. Waterproof case

Nobody likes ruined electronics by unpredictable weather. I use SealLine and my bag is just big enough to be able to keep my phone and battery pack inside. I've had this waterproof case for over 10 years and it has never failed me.

I hope you enjoyed these suggestions and use some of them for your next hike!


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