As the weather grows nicer in most parts of the country there are many avid hikers and backpackers who are itching to get out of town and hit the trails. For some of these people, it may be as simple as a day hike in a local forest or wilderness area, and for others it could be days or weeks spent in rugged backcountry.
Regardless of your personal hiking style, you’re fully aware of the things that you just cannot do without when on the trail. Water, food, and portable shelter are the big ones, but there are many new products on the market that can serve to enhance your experience, safety, and comfort. Once your hike goes high tech you may never hike in any other way.
Take GPS to the Next Level
Personal GPS devices have evolved to the point that most people cannot fathom a hike without one. They can be instrumental in route planning and in emergency situations. However, what if you could combine your GPS system with other useful technology?
Heart rate watches are used by athletes in almost every sport, and hikers can now take advantage of that as well. GPS enabled heart rate watches are available and are perfect for those who love being in the great outdoors. Whether you’re monitoring your heart rate for training purposes or for another reason, a heart rate watch with GPS features could be your new hiking buddy.
If you’re taking a short hike it’s usually no trouble to carry enough water for the trip. However, if you’re planning a hike that is a day or longer it’s wise to bring your own water filtration device and/or purifier.
Many people believe that if you’re high enough in elevation and far enough from grazing animals or human traffic that you can almost always safely drink from fast moving water. That may not always be true, and it’s better to bring your own equipment. Many products on the market today filter bacteria and particulates and kill viruses in one step, which is always going to be the best choice.
Hydration packs have long been used by hikers, but now they’ve evolved a few steps further. Many brands offer filtration devices that can be combined with the hydration pack for ease of filling, which also eliminates the need to carry extra drinking vessels.
We rarely go anywhere without our smartphones, including the backcountry. Thankfully, app developers have realized that apps serving the hiking and backpacking communities are good sellers, and there have been some great ones released recently.
For instance, want to know the name of a particular peak in your line of sight? There’s an app for that. Need maps of all the national parks? There’s an app for that too. There’s even a United States Army survival guide app available that offers possible solutions for every type of emergency.
While you’re planning your backcountry adventures remember to pack the essentials. When you’re done with that, be sure to consider some of these items that just might make your hike a little bit better and a lot more fun.