What do I need to get started?
Here is a list of things you should have with you for day hikes.
This list does not cover everything that you may need. And is for day
hikers. Overnight hikes would require much more.
Note: I am not an expert. Only a hiking enthusiast. I
have no official training.
1. Backpack. Find a good comfortable backpack. Make sure it will be
comfortable to wear for several hours at a time. Buy one that is durable so
it will not fall apart after a few trips.
2. Water. Bring plenty of water. I always bring more than I need. I would
rather lug the extra weight than run out of water out on a hike. This is
especially important if you are not near water on your hike.
3. Food. You may want to bring something to eat on longer hikes. Not only
for comfort but to keep up your energy.
4. Wear appropriate clothes. I learned this the hard way on a hike in
Hawaii. I wore cheap sandals that broke and I ended up walking barefoot
for over an hour. Good hiking boots would be better. Not only to protect
you feet, but also for the tread. On steep trails you want good tread to grip
the ground better and keep you from sliding. If it is cold bring a jacket. Be
sure to consider how long you will be out. In the Gorge and in the
mountains it will get cold fast. If you are hiking in the winter, fall, or spring
you may want to bring clothes to change into even if it is warm when you
first set out.
5. A compass. This may not be so important for shorter day hikes on well
marked and maintained trails. But if you plan on going off the main paths
or several miles out you could forget which trail leads back.
6. A whistle. If you do get lost a whistle will travel further you yelling.
7. Pass. Many hikes in the area will require a pass of some kind to park at
the trail head. These can usually be purchased by the day or an annual
pass. A NW Forest pass will be sufficient for most hikes in the area and is
only $30 a year. A great deal if you plan to do much hiking. I have
specified on each hike what kind of pass if any is needed. And provided
links to both purchase online and retail locations to pick one up. The
money goes to maintaining the trails.
8. A friend. Hiking can be dangerous. You can fall and hurt yourself. It is
best to hike with someone whenever possible. Also when I go hiking my
wife makes me tell her where I plan to be, when she is not going with me,
and to call her when I am done. This way if I do not call her she knows
where to have someone look for me. When we go together she always tells
9. First Aid Kit. This could come in handy for cuts or bites. It may be
unlikely you will ever need one but it is better to be safe.
10. Child Carrier. If you are a parent like me and have a small child you
can take them with you. Now I would not recommend trying this if you are
new to hiking. This is something for people that are experienced and in
very good physical condition. Your toddler may not seem heavy when you
pick them up at home. But on your back for several hours is another matter.