n my free time, I take to the trails. Especially in Spring and Summer when the temperature rises, and the clouds lift. Boots on, and I’m gone. When you are hiking for miles, you need to travel light, have a good backpack and be prepared for sudden shifts in weather. I keep my hiking supplies in my car, so I’m always ready to take off. Here are my top eight must-haves:
- A good backpack: I like Camelbak because it’s the most lightweight and comfortable backpack I have ever owned. It fits all of my essentials, and I like the way it looks, too. My first round of water is held in the Camelbak water pouch.
- Water: A no-brainer. In addition to the Camelbak, I carry a Klean Kanteen water bottle. It’s metal, so it’s reusable, and I get big environmental points!
- The right clothes: It’s Alaska! You always need to have a change. Because I live in the Southeast rainforest, the rain will never stop me. I keep my rain pants and rain coat rolled up in my pack in case I need them to keep me warm. My favorite? A water-resistant Patagonia Jacket. Keeps me nice and dry. Finally, extra socks. Happy feet can make up for a lot of other discomforts. I like SmartWool.
- Bug spray: As soon as the beautiful weather hits in May, so do the bugs. No one needs to add bug bites to the list of souvenirs from a beautiful hike.
- First Aid Kit: Common sense. You never know when you’re going to rub your ankles raw or get banged up a bit. My first aid kit has Moleskin, Bandaids, gauze, tweezers, scissors, etc., and a few toiletries.
- Camera: There’s a lot to see in the woods or alongside the water. Often, I just try to take it all in. When my brain is full, or I see something that I just have to share, the camera comes out. By the way, enjoy the photos here!
- Power! My Pink Battery Pack is a great device to have for backpacking. It will charge my GoPro and my phone, and it also has a built in flashlight. The last thing you want is to miss that gorgeous picture because your camera is dead, let alone be out of juice during more harrowing situations.
- Salmon Bites: High-protein snacks are important to keep your stamina up, but they have to be delicious to keep your spirits up. My favorite flavor is Sea Kelp & Sesame, because it’s a little sweet, crunchy and salty.
Living in Alaska means being very close to nature in all its beautiful and unpredictable glory. I love the peace that comes to me on a hike, not to mention the workout. It’s a big help to have my kit figured out and ready to go. Whether hiking the wilderness of Alaska or braving an afterschool carpool with five kids, we all have our go-to items.
What are yours?