Tens of millions of people in the United States alone consider hiking to be their favorite outdoor activity, and there are plenty of reasons for that. Not only are there plenty of great places to go hiking in the country and around the world, but it can also be a completely free activity for those who don’t want to break the bank.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t enhance your hiking experience by spending a few dollars. There are some amazing gadgets that will make hiking easier, safer, and more fun. Here are our picks for five gadgets that every hiker needs in their arsenal.
A multi-tool is one of those things that you may never need, but when you do, you’ll regret never getting one. Multi-tools can be easily kept in your pocket or backpack, offering a wide array of tools including a bottle opener, wire stripper, pliers, and many more. While you may only end up using one or two of the tools that are included as a hiker, you never know which ones will be used.
The multi-tool is considered a must-have for anyone that goes into nature because of the long list of services it can provide. How much you end up spending on a multi-tool can vary greatly, though, depending on how many tools you want to pack into it. Some of the cheaper ones that receive high ratings are around $40 to $50 while those that are considered top-of-the-line can be upward of $150. However, those more expensive ones are such high quality that you may never buy another one again.
There are a lot of hiking trails around the world that are so frequently traveled and carved out that it’s almost impossible to get lost as long as you stick to the trail. However, those trails might not always be calling your name, especially if you spot something in the distance that you really want to see up close. Because of that, it’s important to have a device that has a GPS system to let you know exactly where you are.
Each year, around 2,000 hikers get lost, with almost all of them either not having a GPS device, or having a device that ran out of battery power. There are plenty of handheld GPS devices available for hikers, with some of the best ones in the industry showing exactly where you are down to the square foot. While your phone can come in handy, you might want a backup device that doesn’t use as much battery, costing anywhere from $100 to $600.
Outside of not having a GPS device that tells you where you are while hiking, the other major reason why people get lost is that the sun sets and hikers continue to try and find their way back. You can get lost in the dark very easily, especially if you’re in an area that’s far away from any city life. When the moon isn’t out, hiking trails can be entirely pitch black and downright frightening.
Because of this, you should bring plenty of lighting with you, even if you plan on hiking in the morning, as you never know what could happen. Always bring a flashlight with you, and bring some headlamps to make it easier on your arms and conserve energy. These headlamps are rather cheap, too, at around $15, while a good flashlight can cost around $50-100. Of course, you’ll want to make sure you’re stocked up on good batteries, too.
You could be the most in-shape person in the world, but being on a hiking trail with a lot of hills can wear you out pretty quickly. With that in mind, invest in a trekking pole that has good grips. This can alleviate a lot of the energy you use to travel uphill, acting as a third and/or fourth leg which can also help you balance when you’re on ice or feeling dehydrated (also, bring plenty of water).
Trekking poles are incredibly affordable since most are made out of aluminum. At around $30, trekking poles aren’t too much for the beginning hiker and are still reliable on the lower end. Some of the more expert-level poles can be around $100, which still isn’t bad for the quality.
A lot of hikers also enjoy camping, so it’s a good idea to bring some portable shelter if you plan on staying the night in the wilderness. Even if you don’t plan on staying, it’s a good idea to bring a small tent with you.
We already pointed out how handy a multi-tool can be, and that will be instrumental in helping to set up your tent. If you get stranded, having that shelter can help save your life and keep you safe until the sun rises.