AANIteacherHiking is a rewarding outdoor activity, but there are a few things that every Hiker should know before they head out for the trail. Bringing plenty of water along with you in a good Hydration Pack or Hydroflask is probably the most important thing to remember. On average a hiker will consume approximately two gallons of water per person per day when the temperature is around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, while here in Oregon it doesn’t usually get that hot, or higher, it is always a good idea to have more water than you think you will need. It can also get very cold during the winter months here in Oregon, especially when snowshoeing, or even on a day hike on a fair winter day. Always wear proper clothing and have additional clothing available in case the weather conditions turn extreme (hoter or colder than expected). Failure to do so may result in your having to be rescued, or in your death.

I can’t say enough about the need to carry enough water, just do it!

You should also have good hiking boots instead of walking shoes. Many of the trails have loose sand and dirt and you will need the extra traction. Be sure to check out the bottoms to look for good traction when buying your boots. The hiking boots being sold today are much lighter and more comfortable than the hiking boots of a few years ago.

Another helpful hint for any hiker may sound funny, but don’t forget to trim your toenails! On the downhill part of the hike you will be VERY glad you did. If you don’t, your big toe will be pushed into the front of your boots, and it will cause much MISERY !

You should always check out the weather reports before heading off into the backcountry. You can be caught by an unexpected storm and get into trouble very easily.

It is a good idea to let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return just in case something happens to you. You should also never hike alone, and you should always carry a cell phone. However, remember that you may not be able to get cell phone reception while out in the wilderness, so don’t count on your cell phone in case of an emergency! It may be just a useless piece of equipment without reception, so stay on the trail, plan ahead, and use common sense while out hiking.

And stay on the trail!!

I can’t stress this enough. Unless you know the area like the palm of your hand, and have hiked the area for years, stay on the trail! Most lost hikers get lost because they leave the trail to explore. It is very easy to get turned around, especially in the forest, but if you stay on the trail you will most likely not need to call 911 to get rescued!

Items To Take With You On A Hike

  • Water ( like I said, you can’t have too much)
  • Food. We usually carry Apples or other fruit, some string cheese, and energy bars like Cliff or Luna Bars.
  • Trekking Poles or a walking sticks. You can have one, or two whatever your prefer. They really help absorb the shock on your knees while going downhill, and they add power on the ascent. There are some nice trekking poles out there starting around $45. If that is not in your budget, do like I did and find ski poles at a thrift store for about $2.
  • Compass and a map of the area. Most of the trails listed on this website are really easy to follow, but it is a good idea to carry these items. I also recommend a good and a handheld GPS unit, but don’t rely on modern technology, have a Compass as well.
  • A good breathable Hiking Hat to keep the sun off your head and face. Baseball hats tend to trap heat.
  • Sunglasses
  • An outdoor safety and survival kit, or matches, a lighter, or a dependable fire starter of some kind (you just never know when you will need them).
  • You should also carry a headlamp for each member of your group, and a couple small flashlights. I know, you are going on a DAY HIKE right? But if something happens and you are out there after dark, you will be glad you did. And you should also make sure you have extra batteries for the headlamps and flashlights.
  • Good sunblock that can resist sweat ( the higher the SPF number the better ).
  • Aspirin, ibuprofen, or whatever pain reliever you prefer.
  • A good first aid kit. And it is also a good idea to carry a snakebite kit (it is rare to see Rattlesnakes if you STAY ON THE TRAIL, but it does happen especially in and around Smith Rock State Park).
  • A good outdoor survival knife.
  • A good camera (don’t depend on cellphone photos, get a good camera …) and binoculars.
  • Imodium … What can I say?
  • A ChapStick or other lip balm.
  • Kleenex and Toilet paper (Kind of speaks for itself…)
  • And always have a cell phone in case of emergency (but only in emergency, stay off it and enjoy nature). However, remember that you may not be able to get cell phone reception while out in the wilderness, so don’t count on your cell phone in case of an emergency! It may be just a useless piece of equipment without reception, so stay on the trail, plan ahead, and use common sense while out hiking.

Always remember to use common sense when hiking, and STAY ON THE TRAIL. Please pack EVERYTHING that you bring on the hike back out with you. Please don’t leave trash behind on the trail when you leave.

Also, please leave plants, rocks and any historical artifacts as you find them.