When heading out for a day hike on one of our amazing hiking trails in Mpumalanga, there are a few essentials that you should be taking with you.
In our monthly blog, we’ll be sharing a helpful list of essential backpacking items that you should consider packing. We’re keeping the list light and easy, so you don’t have to be too concerned about the extra weight.
Firstly, the type of backpack that you purchase is very important.
Ideally your backpack should be a 15-30 litre bag but naturally your selection will depend on what you will be taking with you. A larger bag will be necessary if you are going to take rock climbing gear, extra water or extra snacks. It is advisable that when choosing a bag, you select one that is waterproof, since you may get rain along the way or have to cross a river, and would not like all your essential items drenched in water.
Trekking poles or walking sticks are also a great but not necessary option when covering long distances, as they can significantly reduce the load and impact on your hips, knees and ankles especially on the descent. Some of latest designs are light weight and streamline.
Always have in a water proof holder your personal documents as well as the contact details of your next of kin. Do give someone who is not going on the hike with you an itinerary of where you will be hiking, just as a precautionary measure. When hiking at Bermanzi, you can can assured knowing that we will keep an eye out for you.
You can also take your cellular phone with you and make sure that emergency numbers are on speed dial. Having a fully charged power back is also a good idea.
Do pack a high-decibel whistle that you should keep in a separate water proof holder together with a lighter and/or matches and cotton wool.
Pack a triangle bandage for slinging a broken arm or dislocated shoulder. Any personal medication should be packed as well as headache, nausea and diarrhoea medicine.
Space blankets are essential in the case of an accident as well as a small bottle of disinfectant liquid and plasters.
Some kind of lip balm should be carried in your pocket and applied regularly, especially if you hiking in the sun. Do make sure you apply sun screen consistently, even on a cloudy day.
Clothing and Footwear
Never hike in new boots. Make sure your hiking boots are well worn in before you set out on your hike. Depending where you are hiking, gaiters are always a good idea. Get a good pair, the snake bite proof type are the better option. Packing sunglasses and a hat is also a very good idea. Try to avoid a cap, as a hat with a large brim is better able to keep the sun off your neck. Depending where you will be hiking, another necessity is a wind proof/rain proof jacket or, when hiking in the cold, a thermal jacket. There are many light weight thermal jackets on the market.
Food and Water
Always pack enough snacks to replenish your calories as well as some emergency food. 1 – 2 litres of water in either bottle or water bladders is a non-negotiable essential. Water purifying tablets are also good to have.
Cable ties have many uses and it’s always a good idea to take a few along in your backpack. You should also pack a good pocket knife and multi-tool. A roll of duct tape is useful for repairing gear along the way or it can also be used to strap a laceration by using it as a bandage or it can even be used as an emergency sling.
A head lamp should be packed. You may get delayed or lost and be out after dark. Binoculars and/or camera for capturing a few memories or seeing things clearly is also nice to have. You should bring along some kind of bug repellent, especially if you are hiking in summer. And finally, a tarp that can be used as an emergency shelter, might come in useful.
Our list is quite long, and obviously you won’t be needing everything we’ve mentioned, but we hope this list can be used as a guide, especially for first time hikers. If you need more advice, you can always give us a call before your hiking holiday at Bermanzi.