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Old Man Winter may still have most of the country in his grips, but spring and her warmer temperatures will be here before you know it.

This is great news if you resolved to get out and go hiking more in 2020. Perhaps you have researched some local trails and know where you want to hike. Now, you just have to wait for the weather to cooperate.

In the meantime, you can always start prepping for your upcoming hiking adventures by gathering some essential gear everyone should have when they hit the trails. As for must-haves for any hiking adventure, consider the following:

1. Sun Protection

Every hiker should wear sunscreen, even on cloudy days. Use both sunscreen and, if possible, wear SPF-protected clothing to help protect your skin. It’s also a good idea to bring along a tarp and cord in your backpack. This way, if the weather warms up significantly, you can create a makeshift shady shelter and rest for a while. Slather on the sunscreen prior to the hike and protect your eyes with sunglasses with UV ray protection.

2. Hiking Apparel

Regardless of whether you decide to hike for a mile or 10 miles, it’s imperative you wear all the proper gear. Go shopping for sturdy shoes or boots that will withstand rocky and/or muddy trails with ease and invest in some hiking clothes that will protect you from the weather. 

For instance, you can’t go wrong with plaid flannel shirts as a hiking essential. Indeed, if your hike will have you climbing up a mountain, you may be surprised at how much the temperature can drop during the ascent. Conversely, if it’s a warm day, you can roll up the flannel shirt and tuck it in your pack, along with a lightweight beanie or rain hat. This way, you’ll have your shirt and other gear handy if the weather suddenly changes.

3. Plenty of Water

A good rule of thumb for bringing along drinking water is to plan on carrying half a liter for every hour of hiking. Of course, if spring is warm in your neck of the woods, you’ll want to pack more H2O for your treks. To keep your water nice and cold, shop for an insulated water bottle with a flip-top straw that makes it easy to sip as you hike. Instead of bringing a huge water bottle, you might want to have two slimmer ones that can fit in the side pockets of your backpack.

4. Hiking Tunes

If you enjoy listening to music while you exercise, create a playlist for your upcoming hikes. Use Spotify to compile a playlist of your favorite songs that you can load on your smartphone and enjoy while you’re on the trail. A word to the wise, though: Because other hikers might enjoy a quiet experience on the trail, use earbuds to listen to your playlist, but don’t play the music too loud. If there are rattlesnakes in your area, you’ll want to be able to hear their warning sounds. Plus, it’s a good idea to be alert to other noises and hikers on the trail. As a happy medium, consider using only one earbud.

Have a Great and Safe Time on the Trail!

Hiking can be a fun and scenic way to get in a great workout and commune with Mother Nature. By taking the time now to stock up on some hiking essentials, it will also be a safe and enjoyable experience that you’ll want to do throughout spring, summer and into autumn.