Hike Ready: What to bring on a day hike + Packing Tips!
Whether you’re casually hiking a family-friendly trail or challenging yourself to tackle a steep ascent, carrying the proper gears is absolutely critical. Even the urban and wild in Hong Kong are so close to each other, we don’t want to underestimate the conditions as it can lead to a dire consequence, or to overpack either and make our trip unpleasant.
3 keys to determine what you need to bring
- How far you plan to hike
- How remote the location is
- What the weather forecast says
In a nutshell, the longer / the more remote the hike is and the more unstable the weather, the more gears, nutritions and hydration you’re going to need.
📍 Pak Sin Leng Country Park
Essentials that you need to pack for a day hike.
🗺 NAVIGATION TOOLS - A trail map and a reliable compass are the two basic tools for direction. For mobile navigation, our favourite hiking app is Hiking Trail HK because you can calculate route length and elevation, save trails and track your GPS location even when there’s no cellular or data connection. However! Whether you’re using mobile or paper map, the most important part is that you (or your hiking buddy) do know how to use a map!
Tip: You may also need a power bank in case your device runs out of battery.
🌧 EXTRA LAYERS - Weather can change quickly on any wilderness trip or it happens you misread the weather forecast (it happens often among outdoor beginners), therefore we always recommend bringing extra layers. For cold and wet weather, you will need windbreaker and / or rain protection for insulation whilst in summer time, you probably want an extra quick dry shirt for temperature regulation. If you’re unsure, ask an experienced hiker what you will need for the day,
🍎 HYDRATION AND NUTRITIONS - It is absolutely essential to stay hydrated on the trail. We usually carry at least 500-750ml of water for an easy hike that is less than 3 hours. If you’re planning to take a longer / tougher route under hot weather, do consider how much water and nutritions you will need to sustain your energy throughout the trip. Electrolyte drinks / tablets, energy bars, fruits and salted nuts are recommended.
☀️ SUN PROTECTION - In Hong Kong, exposing to the sun for about half an hour is enough for getting a severe sunburn. Sun protection comes in a variety of ways, for us, that includes sunscreen, polarized sunglasses, hat and SPF lip balm.
🧤 OTHER HIKING GEARS - Trash bag, insect repellent, hiking poles, gloves, headlamp, emergency kits and multi-tools are the common gears we have on our packing list. We don’t carry all of them on every hike but approach the relevant gears with the route we plan to go.
So, you have all gears ready! How to start packing?
There’s no right way to pack a backpack, but with a little know-how, you can get a more comfortable carry and easy access to frequently used items.
Your backpack can be broken down into three zones:
- Top Zone - This space is for gears that you might need on the trail, including hiking gloves, trash bag, rain jacket and sunscreen.
- Core Zone - The heavier items, such as food and water bladder, will go to this zone to create a stable and comfortable centre of gravity. The heaviest item should be placed as close to your back as possible.
- Bottom Zone - Store the bulky gears or items that you bring for those just in case moments / you won’t need until the end of the trip, including spare clothes and sport towel.
Don't forget to utilise the outer storages!
Lid - Ideal for small and light items like car key, lip balm, insect repellent and wallet.
Side Pockets - This is where you carry your water bottles or hiking poles.
Extension Pack - Perfect for essentials you’ll need immediately or often, for example phone, camera and hand sanitiser.
Front Stash Pocket - Use it to store tissues and face masks.
- Many backpacks have tool loops for attaching gears, such as sunglasses and hat, on the outside.
- Always use your compression straps to bring the load closer to your body and keep everything in place.
- Distribute the weight evenly between left and right sides.
- Use a wash bag to organise small items.
Any other packing tips you have for outdoors? Comment below & share with us!
RECOMMENDED GEARS FOR DAY HIKES
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