Warmer weather is on the way and the summer hiking season is here! Crested Butte is known for its miles of incredible hiking trails. We love early season hikes and taking in the beautiful wildflowers. Whether you are planning a day trip or overnight excursion, here are 10 essential items every hiker should carry:

  1. Appropriate Footwear – Having the right shoes really can make or break your hike. There’s nothing worse than getting halfway through your hike to discover you are developing a painful blister. You also want to consider traction and support when picking out your well-fitting hiking shoe or boot.
  2. Map & Compass/GPS – While your phone or GPS may be handy, they aren’t always reliable. Electronics can fail. Carrying and knowing how to use a compass and map is a great backup plan.
  3. Water (and way to purify it) – Water is one of the most important things to pack on a hike; no matter how short or long. It’s also a good idea to be able to refill and purify water should you need to. One should plan on a half a liter of water per hour of moderate hiking. Pack a water purification system (and know how to use it) just in case you run out and need to refill while on the trail.
  4. Food – Pack calorie-dense snacks to give you energy for your trip and pack extra in case you’re out longer than expected.
  5. Rain Gear & Dry-Fast Layers – As you know, the weather in the Rocky Mountains can be unpredictable and can change very quickly. Dress in layers to adjust for changing weather conditions. Wear moisture-wicking layers, bring a rain jacket and a warm hat!
  6. Safety Items (light source, fire, & whistle) – You never know when you might need them but one should always carry a way to start an emergency fire, signal for help, and light up the trail or map in the dark. Waterproof matches, a flashlight, and a safety whistle are three key safety items that should be packed on your hike.
  7. First Aid Kit – There are many options out there when it comes to first aid kits. Obviously the size and weight is important but you also want to be as prepared as possible. Basic items to consider are: antiseptic wipes, antibacterial ointment, some sort of reliable bandage, gauze pads, medical adhesive tape, blister treatment, pain-relief medication, sting relief, anti-itch ointment, some sort of antihistamine to treat allergic reactions, tweezers, and some sort of small scissor device. Some sort of first-aid manual or guidebook can also be helpful if not well-versed in first-aid training. Keep in mind, your supplies are only as helpful as your knowledge of how to use them.
  8. Multi-Tool – There are countless uses for a good multi-tool, including gear repair and first aid. Be sure to get one that includes a pair of pliers and a knife. Keep in mind though, too many useless tools isn’t helpful and just adds extra weight.
  9. Sun Protection – The sun is intense at 9,000+ feet! Always pack sunscreen, sunglasses, and sun-protective clothing, no matter what season, temperature, or weather conditions. In addition to skin damage, sun exposure can lead to dehydration and rapid loss of energy.
  10. Shelter – An often overlooked essential is shelter. Often we don’t think of the importance of shelter when going out on a day hike. It’s a good idea however to be prepared to stay out overnight in the event of an injury or should you become stranded.

*Added Bonus – Bring a trash bag to pack out your trash or any you might come across on the trail. This helps keep our trails beautiful for everyone to enjoy. A large ziplock bag is a great option and helps keep trash separate from the rest of your gear. Take it to the next level by bringing a pair of disposable gloves to use when picking up the more yucky trash.

For more information on hiking essentials as well as product recommendations, read: Here Are The 10 Essential Items You Should Always Pack While Hiking.

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