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Hiking is Fitness Tool

Experts say no matter if the trail you are heading out on is one you are familiar with or a new adventure, you should always have a compass as well as a map. If you don’t have a map of the area, I would highly recommend heading to the local Chamber of Commerce as they usually have all sorts of maps and information about the trails in the area. Another great resource, of course, is looking online for what is available in the area you are hiking. Where I live in Washington state, we have a fabulous website provided by Tri County Economic Development District that informs any visitor, as well as the locals who wants to learn more about trails in the area, about the various trails they can find including the different types of any trails such as ATV, bicycle, hiking, horseback, etc. So make sure to do your research to find the perfect trail for you!

Next we need to pack a backpack of basic supplies. This, of course, depends on the number of hours you plan on being out, but things you should always carry with you in your backpack are a First-aid kit, sunscreen, lip balm, flashlight, matches in a waterproof container or a lighter, knife, sunglasses, a light jacket, water (along with water purifying tablets), and snacks. If you have room, I would suggest packing food, warm clothes, and a tarp for staying overnight just in case.

To break it down a little more, let’s talk about what you might want to carry in your First-aid kit. Obviously you can’t carry a whole medicine cabinet, but you should make sure to have a good First-aid kit stocked with supplies that will be useful should you have to use it during a hike. While there are lots of good pre-made kits you can purchase from REI, Cabela’s, Academy, or even Walmart, you can also create your own First-aid kit and keep it in your vehicle to use whenever you might need it. I personally purchased a small fanny pack and made my own First-aid kit that is easy to snap on under my backpack and has everything I need conveniently located in one place without having to take up room in my backpack.

As for the basics you need to carry in your First-aid kit, there are a variety of supplies you can pick up to ensure you are ready for every emergency. To treat cuts, I would suggest carrying an assortment of adhesive bandages, including regular band aids, an assortment of sterile gauze pads (various sizes), small and large knuckle joint bandages, butterfly closures, medical tape, and fingertip bandages. In order to prepare and care for the wounds, your kit should also include hand cleansing wipes, alcohol pads, and triple-antibiotic ointment.

To be prepared for those surprise insect stings, you should make sure to take along sting-relief wipes and allergy-relief tablets such as Benadryl, the pink one. It is also highly recommended to take some additional medications along with you such as antacid tablets, Motrin, and Tylenol. You can purchase these in individual packs or small 30 tablet forms. For those pesky blisters that sometimes form, it is recommended to include Moleskin in your pack or you might have the worse hiking trip ever. Along with these items, some additional items you need to include are disposable gloves, forehead temperature strips, scissors, tweezers, and an emergency blanket. While you don’t have to carry a lot of supplies, I would highly recommend several of each to be prepared for whatever mishaps may happen.