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The Essential Hiking Tools That You Will Be Grateful to Have

The Essential Hiking Tools That You Will Be Grateful to Have

I love hiking. Getting out into the woods and connecting with nature is one of the most primal feelings that a man can experience. Venturing out into the wild puts us in touch with our ancestors, who had no choice but to brave the wild in order to survive. While many of us are grateful that technology has allowed us to live comfortably with climate control and easy access to food, it's in a man's heart to live as his primitive self, if only for a few hours. With that being said, hiking with children can be a bit of a pain in the behind. Mostly because they claim to be tired after a quarter of a mile. Of course when they are home they have no problem running around the yard for 3 hours straight. But hiking is something that every man should partake in. It will do wonders for your mentality and it is a great way to de-stress after a long week at the office or in the workshop. However while hiking you want to be sure that you are properly equipped. Always hike with proper equipment and enough water to get you through double your hike. And remember to always share your plans with a close family member or friend in the unlikely (or likely) event that you become lost. The following items will be of great service to you and allow peace of mind while traversing the natural world:

1. Multi-Tool:A multi-tool is the Swiss Army knife of hiking gear. It combines various functions like pliers, screwdrivers, knives, scissors, and even a can opener. Whether you need to cut rope, repair gear, or prepare food, a multi-tool is your compact, all-in-one solution. I always have my Leatherman with me and it continues to impress. It's truly an indespensible tool while hiking and you never know when you'll need it.

 2. Navigation Tools (Map, Compass, GPS):Why: Even in this age of technology, traditional navigation tools are essential. A topographic map and a reliable compass can guide you when technology fails. For added security, a handheld GPS device can provide precise location data, but always have the basics as backup. With the technology of today's phones, you can certainly use your smartphone as a GPS device. Especially if using the AllTrails app. But sometimes when you're out in nature, a cell signal is about as scarce as Bigfood. So having a backup device will allow peace of mind and a way out when you go lost.

3. First Aid Kit: Accidents can happen, from minor blisters to more serious injuries. A well-stocked first aid kit with bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and tweezers ensures you're prepared to handle any medical situation until you can reach professional help. Having children, the first aid kit has become a very important part of my hiking pack. For some reason, kids have an innate inability to look down while hiking, which results in stumbles over roots and rocks. Having antiseptic cream or spray and a supply of band aids is a requirement. 



4. Fire Starter (Matches, Lighter, Fire Steel):Fire is critical for warmth, cooking, and signaling. Waterproof matches, a reliable lighter, or a fire steel ensures you can create a fire in any weather condition. Always have multiple fire-starting methods in case one fails. I've never done a night hike although I would love to complete one. But you have to plan for all contingencies while hiking. You never know if your 2 hour hike turns into an overnight excursion if you take a wrong turn. Luckily in my small state of Connecticut it is really challenging to become completely lost but if you are in upstate New York, just a few miles away, nature can swallow you up with help many miles away. Don't try to be a hero and rub sticks together, always have a way to easily start a fire and stay warm. As for those panicking kids, well, you're on your own. 

5. Hydration System (Water Bottle, Filtration Device):Staying hydrated is paramount. A sturdy water bottle keeps your essential supply close at hand, while a portable water filtration system or purification tablets allow you to safely drink from natural sources like streams and lakes. This ensures you won't run out of clean water during your hike. My rule is to always bring a lot more than you think you'll need. This will make your pack heavier but it's worth it. If you're hiking with a spouse, then split the load and it'll make things much easier. In addition to water make sure to bring snacks that are high in protein and will provide a boost of energy. It's extremely important to stay hydrated during a hike. It might be the most important step you take. Equipped with these tools, you're prepared to tackle the trails with confidence and resilience. So, pack smart, tread lightly, and let the adventure unfold!

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