By Dr. Trevor Tew
Whether you're doing a casual day hike to your favorite waterfall or tackling a challenging summit, it's crucial to have the proper equipment in your backpack. As we all hope and assume things are going to go smoothly, having the needed items on hand can make the difference between a minor inconvenience and a dire circumstance. The following list will give you 6 items you should have in your day pack to successfully enjoy all of your hiking adventures.
Sunscreen/Sun Protection- Living in the State of Alaska, an average summer day can consist of gray skies and cloud coverage. It's very easy to space bringing SPF and Eyewear. Be sure to pack these items to avoid sun blindness and skin-damaging sunburn.
Extra water/ Filtering system- The vast majority of us wouldn't step foot onto the trail without our water bottles. While that's the norm, it is very important to bring some extra water in your day bag. Without enough water, our bodies muscles and organs aren't able to perform at their best. Invest in a filtering system if hiking in areas without clean water, to avoid running out of H2O and reduce pack weight.
First Aid Kit- Prepackaged first aid kids are easy to find. Try finding a small kit at your nearest REI, or hiking outlet. This will put your mind at ease when you're out exploring the Alaskan trails.
Extra Food- Sure you may be assuming this hike is going to be a couple hour expedition, but as previously stated, it's important to be over-prepared rather than under. There are a multitude of things that could keep you on the trails longer than expected: getting lost, difficult terrain or wildlife to name a few. Having extra food in the pack will keep your energy high and hunger at a minimum.
Rain gear/ Extra Layers- As much as we hope the local weatherman will be correct, living in a state like this, we know that's not always the case. I suggest dressing in layers with the option to dress down, or to pack a light jacket in case it starts to downpour or pick up wind. Avoid packing cotton and always pack a hat.
Trash bag- This is an important addition. Pack a trash bag to be sure the trails you love stay beautiful for future hikers to enjoy just as you did. Whether its a ziplock to pick up small items, or a drawstring trash bag, picking up the trash will make us feel accomplished in more than one way after getting down the trail.
With these items added to your day pack, you are now ready to successfully complete your epic adventure. The warm sunshine on your face, dirt under your shoes, and the wind blowing through the trees is awaiting. Gear up and get out there, the trails are awaiting your footprints.