Everyone should have a good checklist to make sure they are prepared before heading out on a trail. The checklist below is a good starting point to make sure that you'll have all the essentials before heading out on your next hiking adventure. Depending on the season of your hike and the length of the trail you may want to add or remove items based on the conditions and your personal needs.
Hiking backpack: For a day’s hike, a 15 – 25 lt capacity backpack will provide you with enough space for your water, food and clothing.
Weather-appropriate clothing: Check the weather forecast before your hike and make sure to dress according to the weather conditions. During winter months it’s advised to have an extra pair of socks and waterproof/windproof shell. Avoid cotton clothing and always wear quick dry synthetic fabrics.
Hiking boots or shoes: For footwear, decide what to wear based on the terrain of the trail. On gentle hikes on smooth trails, hiking shoes or trail runners are enough. For rocky trails, boots will provide more support. Whatever you choose, make sure your boots or shoes are well broken-in and comfortable for your hike.
Food: Pack snacks like energy bars, dried fruit, nuts that you can eat easily on the trail. I like to bring a sandwich too and my all-time favourites M&M’s.
Water: 1½ or 2 lt for the day should be fine, but depending on length and difficulty of the trail, the weather conditions and your sweat rate adjust the amount accordingly.
Navigation tools: Map, compass, or a GPS device. If you bring only a GPS device (or use your phone’s GPS) make sure you have extra batteries or a power bank charger for your phone.
First-aid kit: Get a lightweight first aid kit that you can always keep in your backpack with your other day hiking essentials. It is also advised to throw a lighter or a box of matches into your first aid kit.
Knife or multi-tool: A useful item to keep in your backpack, a sturdy knife or multi-tool will help you prepare food, cut something, make a possible repair.
Headlamp or a small torch: When choosing your headlamp or torch check the lumens (the amount of light emitted by the headlamp) and the battery life. Always make sure to pack extra batteries.
Sun protection: Regardless of the season sun protection (especially in Cyprus) is vital for any hiking trip. Always protect your face, lips and eyes.
Needless to say, there is one more item you always need to have in your backpack: a trash bag. You’ll need it for any trash you create, like snack wrappers or empty water bottles and keep it with you until you can throw it away in a designated area. Respect nature and leave no trace!
Trekking Poles: Trekking poles are not an essential item, but many hikers like them for a variety of reasons. The main benefit is that they reduce impact on the knees and increase stability, which can be needed and helpful on long uphill or downhill sections of a trail and when crossing rivers.
Hand sanitizer: A travel-size hand sanitizer might not clean the dirt off your hands, but it's a way to clean the bacteria your hands might carry, before having your food and after going to the “bathroom”.
Wet wipes / Toilet paper: Dirty toilet paper is the most common form of litter you can find on trails throughout the world, so make sure to place yours in your trash bag and dispose them properly.
I hope you found this post helpful and remember to always plan and prepare before each hike. Your own list will be adjusted over time based on the course of your own hikes. Now, get out there and enjoy your hikes!
Feel free to share with me your comments or any questions you might have!