Make sure you have the right gear | Aran Price
Essential Hiking Equipment
When getting off the beaten track on a multi day trek, the choice of what to take can be a little overwhelming. And while you may have the obvious items like socks, hat and sunscreen down-pat, our friend Dave Case over at Paddy Pallin
has come up with a list of the top essentials for your next hike. From hints about how to choose your shoes, to some in-the-know advice on creature comforts in the outback, check out the must-bring trekking essentials.
Base Layers / Thermals
If there’s one rule to remember when you go trekking, it’s to always bring layers! Start with your thermal layer, which will give you much valued warmth in the evenings as the temperatures start to drop. Paddy Pallin recommends:
If it’s chilly you will live in your Icebreaker
Base Layers (Oasis 200 weight top and bottom) and come to love them! Base layers also make great pyjamas to sleep in while on the trail.
Treat yourself to a little comfort in the wilderness and bring along some wet wipes on your trek. They’re the closest thing you’ll feel to shower-fresh when showering isn’t an option and water is scarce. Paddy Pallin recommends
: Sea To Summit Wilderness Wipes
for keeping some of the dirt at bay and Sea to Summit Wilderness Wash
, one little bottle of biodegradable wonder liquid that's great for washing clothes, dishes... but also for body wash and shampoo if needed. Keeping on top of sanitation is important.
Well fitting hiking boots or shoes will make or break your trek. When purchasing footwear, it's always best to avoid choosing the footwear based on price, how it looks or the colour. Fit, comfort and suitability should be the primary concern. Paddy Pallin recommends:
Take the time to explain where and how you're going to use your Hiking Boots or Shoes
to an experienced Paddy Pallin staff member, and then trying-on the options they suggest. Be wary of buying your footwear 'the size I usually wear' firstly hiking footwear is generally sized up between a half to full size due to thicker socks and swealing of the feet (bonus tip is to take your socks that you will be using with you to try on the boots). Sizing can vary between brands, so taking the time to measure your foot is recommended. On top of that, allowing the sales assistant to help with sizing will go a long way!
A neck gaiter or buff is a little tube of material that is invaluable and versatile. It can be used as a neck warmer, head band, beanie, balaclava, sun protection, face towel, pillow case, hair tie, the uses are endless! Many experienced trekkers carry at least two on longer treks. Paddy Pallin recommends:
Icebreaker is great for warm merino wool varieties of neck gaiter
s. Whilst the Buff brand high UV version is excellent for warmer climates.
There’s no better way to ruin an evening in the wilderness than be stuck in complete darkness without a head torch. Head mounted torches free your hands when trekking, but are also great for when you're looking for things in your tent or campsite. Paddy Pallin recommends:
A Head Torch
is vital, and the AAA battery offerings from Petzl
, Black Diamond
and Princeton Tec
all highly regarded. These head lamps are great if you’re looking use it around camp, in the tent and finding the loo and also for finding your way along the trail.
Like hiking boots, your pack is as equally important with the common mistake people regularly make is thinking they need a bigger pack than would be necessary. Remember, less is more (within reason of course, as you still need to fit everything including the kitchen sink!). Check if the zips and pockets are easy to find, and whether will they hold the things you want in the way you want them to be organized. Most importantly, try the pack with some weight in it at the store, as all packs will feel comfortable when empty. Paddy Pallin recommends:
Getting the harness fitting correctly is really important. Packs
come in a huge variety of sizes and styles, so getting an experienced Paddy Pallin staff member help with fitting can really help.
Bringing dry sacks on your trip is a beneficial in that it helps you not only know where your gear is, but also that it's going to stay dry brings great peace of mind, which is invaluable when you're experiencing unpleasant or rainy weather. Paddy Pallin recommends: Osprey
or Sea to Summit
Dry sacks, in a variety of sizes to divide up your gear and keep it dry.
Finally, if we are to recommend one piece of equipment you should never go without, no matter the hike, a rain jacket would be it. Paddy Pallin recommends:
In this day and age, realistically – there are no really bad and good fabrics. If you are purchasing a rain jacket from one of the top tier outdoor shops like Paddy Pallin, no matter what you buy, you are going to get a garment that will keep you dry. However, if you’re going on a multiday hike where you will be carrying your pack, be sure to look for a jacket which has a waterproof rating of over 20,000mm and breathability of 15,000g/m² and above. What is essential is that you choose a jacket/garment that is designed well. A poorly designed and ill-fitting jacket will never perform or be comfortable, no matter its fabric qualities.
Got the gear?
If you're all set up and ready to go, check out our upcoming guaranteed deparutres
and start planning your next walking holiday!
About Dave Casey
Dave has worked as an International Expedition Leader and in Outdoor Education for over 15 years. He has extensive travel and guiding experience in Australia, NZ, Asia, South/North America and Europe. In his spare time Dave is a keen bushwalker, mountain biker and climber while also dabbling in some mountaineering and sea kayaking. He is currently working at Paddy Pallin
as the National Account Manager, to fund all of the above.