This is a brief overview of my favourite hiking gear. Ideally, I wouldn’t want to carry anything, but hiking requires some planning. You need to be prepared for certain situations, like sudden weather changes and minor injuries, for instance.
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I love love love my new waterproof jacket! This is definitely part of my favourite hiking gear. I have had such bad luck choosing waterproofs in the past, but this jacket has been amazing so far. It has a helmet hood, so it can easily accommodate my Bose noise-cancelling headphones. The jacket has a really high collar and a peaked hood. This means that when the rain sets in, you can quickly cover most of your face. It is also super easy to adjust! When it gets windy, all you have to do is pull on the cords in the hem and voilà – no cool air gets in. Oh and the pockets are really big and can easily fit my iPhone 12 Max Pro, which I use as my camera. Did I mention that I love it?
My new hiking shoes! I hadn’t heard of this brand before, but I swear these have been tailor-made to my feet. They feel like walking on clouds and are just as comfortable as my trainers. The only difference is, these are waterproof and have sturdier soles. No list of my favourite hiking gear would be complete without these.
These are my favourite hiking socks by far! The fabric is smoother and more elastic than any other socks I’ve tried, which really helps prevent blisters. They are also very comfortable to wear and dry quickly.
I came across these by coincidence on Amazon, and thought they looked remarkably similar to a certain high-profile fitness wear brand. Turns out they are virtually identical – all that’s missing is the logo. Great quality at less than half the price? Yes, please! They come in lots of gorgeous colours as well!
I loved this one so much when I got it, that I immediately ordered two more in other colours. The long sleeves have thumb holes, which I love. The reflective details are practical and it breathes really well – and, just like the socks, it dries quickly. Karrimor also has a high-neck version with a zip. In late autumn and winter, I just add a thin woollen layer on top.
I never go hiking without a baseball cap. It protects you from the sun, screens your eyes and helps regulate your body temperature. Weirdly, it also seems to make people more likely to let me pass them! I can’t explain it, but something about wearing a baseball cap seems to say ‘step aside for the pro hiker’. You heard it here first.
My favourite water bottle for hiking is one I bought in Norway. I got it on the recommendation of my nieces, who take these bottles to school every day. They are BPA free, phtalate free and dishwasher safe, and mine has never leaked (touch wood!). The bottles are very light-weight and the wide opening makes them easy to top up when you’re out and about.
This bum bag is deal for shorter hikes when you don’t need a lot of hiking gear. It fits a bottle of water, a protein cookie my mobile and my keys. It even fits my Blafre bottle. The key clip is a great detail. It stops me worrying about my keys falling out every time I open the zip.
This one is great for longer hikes (and much cheaper than a certain other brand!). In addition to the hydration pack, there is enough space for your hiking gear, such as a dry top, some food, your mobile, a lip balm, keys and some blister plasters – you know, if you bring them, you won’t need them.
Hydration is more than water. If you find yourself sweating a lot, you need to replenish with electrolytes as well as good old H2O. The flavour could be better, but you don’t have to worry about getting all kinds of shaky from dehydration. (Please tell me that isn’t just me?). Note that one dose is two tablets, so the tube with 20 tablets only contains 10 doses. I originally bought these for the gym, but it is easier (and cheaper) to use regular supplements for my workouts. But Phizz is great to keep in your backpack for when you find yourself unexpectedly sweaty on a hike. Better safe than sorry.
What do you mean vegan protein cookies aren’t strictly speaking hiking gear? They are to me. I never go anywhere without them – my gym bag is literally strewn with them! They taste a-ma-zing and there is 13g of vegan protein in each cookie, so you could argue that they are a health food, actually. No, really, you could. Ok, I admit it, I am totally addicted to them. They are great for stuffing into your hydration pack or bum bag when you’re going for a hike, though. (Somehow they taste even better when they’re a bit squished. Go figure.) If you want to try them, use the code NINA-R4MD at the checkout to get free next-day delivery for 3 months. You’re welcome. And don’t say I didn’t warn you about how addictive they are.
After making do with various iPhones for years (I sold my dSLR back in 2010), I bought a ‘proper camera’ again in September 2020. And then two months later, Apple came out with the iPhone 12 Max Pro. It has a Pro camera system with 12 megapixels Ultra Wide, Wide and Telephoto cameras, 5x optical zoom, night mode and lots of other fancy functions that I presume I am benefiting from without even being aware of it. I especially love the night function (I can photograph the stars!), but even just in terms of colours and zoom, the iPhone 12 Max Pro is better than the ‘proper camera’ I bought. I love that I no longer have to carry both a camera and a mobile on my hikes!
If you go for a walk, but forget your fitness tracker, did it even happen? I used Fitbit trackers for almost a decade, but in 2020 I decided it to get the Apple Watch, as all my other gadgets are by Apple. I didn’t really get on with it at first, and at one point even felt bullied by its motivational messages, e.g. “Yesterday you hiked 22 km. Today you can do even better!”. Yup. I’m afraid Apple still hasn’t realised the importance of rest and recovery. I tried using the Fitbit Sense for a while, which I really like, but it has one major flaw: you can’t lock the screen. A press-up or two, and your wrist has accidentally ended your workout without you even realising it. No good. So I went back to the Apple Watch, switched off the ‘motivational’ messages and most of the other notifications (including the incessant nagging about standing for a few minutes every hour – I meet that goal most days anyway), and now I love it! I do miss the 6-day battery life of the Fitbit Sense, though. I have to charge my Apple Watch every day, which is a bit annoying. I like to use it to track my sleep as well, so I try to remember to charge it when I’m just working at my desk. Hopefully one day, my perfect fitness tracker will come along. Until that day, the Apple Watch is the best of the bunch in my humble opinion.
I never leave the house without my AirPods. This is the older version, which seems to fit my ears better. I love listening to audiobooks, podcasts and my Spotify playlists when I’m hiking, so these are essential. When they are fully charged, they last for about 4h. Fortunately, they recharge pretty quickly, but sometimes I bring ye olde plug-in headphones as well, just as a backup. And sometimes I don’t use them at all, preferring the sounds of Mama Nature. It is nice to have the option to listen to my gym playlist on Spotify, though. That always makes me speed up!
I love this little gadget so much that I have two! (One black, one pink, so I can tell them apart). It basically works like a backup battery. I charge them at home and always bring one on hikes that will take more than two hours. That way I won’t panic if my mobile suddenly dies. I also don’t have to sit at home and wait for my iPhone and AirPods to be fully charged before I can head out. Sometimes I bring it to the gym as well. I mean, I don’t want to skip the jacuzzi after a workout just because I can’t check my work e-mails! Peace of mind in 85 grammes. Don’t forget to pack your mobile phone’s charging cable!
A first aid kit is an essential bit of hiking gear. It is the one thing you always bring, hoping you will never need it. This is a great little kit, which in addition to basic first aid equipment – bandages, plasters, alcohol wipes, plaster tape and safety pins – also contains a tiny torch, a whistle and an emergency blanket. I have added my flint and steel plus a tick remover just to be on the safe side.