When I lived in New Zealand, I discovered the joy of multi day hiking and camping trips. We would set off into a national park for days at a time with everything we needed to survive strapped to our backs. It was one of the best travel experiences of my life. There is nothing more empowering than knowing you can survive in the wilderness and going to sleep and waking up under the stars.
Before I went on my first multi day hiking trip I did a lot of research and made sure I bought the necessary gear. Some day I will post a full packing list, but since it is gear month here at OurOyster.com, I wanted to share with you some of my favourite gear for hiking or camping trips.
Steripen or Clean Water System
Clean water is a must. When I was hiking in New Zealand, the back country huts would have water supplies of collected rain water, but they always advised to boil it for at least 5 minutes before drinking. We didn’t like the idea of wasting that much fuel just to get drinking water – because when you are hiking for 5 – 6 hours per day you need A LOT of water. Also since our camping pot was quite small, it would have taken AGES to boil enough water for two people each day.
That’s why I decided to buy a device called a Steripen. The Steripen works by using an ultraviolet light to disrupt the DNA of any living creature, no matter how small, in your water. The UV light can’t go through plastic, and the light is only activated when it is fully immersed in water, so it is perfectly safe to use.
The Steripen uses batteries, so if you are on a only trip, make sure you take a few spares.
There are other water purification systems out there, but we personally love our Steripen. If you use another system, we would love to hear about it in the comments.
If you are trekking in the true wilderness, you will want a GPS to make sure you are on the right track. There are plenty of varieties out there. I personally like the GPS watches which you wear on your wrist. Obviously the map capability is going to be less than in a full handheld GPS, but you are much less likely to lose it if it is strapped to you!
Of course, you could always go the old occasioned way and have a compass. No batteries required!
I have crap knees. I think it’s a curse of most tall people. Going up doesn’t bother me too much, but coming down hill starts to really hurt me after a while. I heard that using hiking poles takes the majority of the impact shock off our knees so I decided to give them a go. It really, really worked.
I have seen some really cool hiking poles out there as well. The ones I have, have a ball that screws off the handle, and underneath is a camera attachment which turns the poles into a tripod. I have also seen some with little compasses in the handle as well.
This is essential for hiking. Especially if you are traveling with some of the awesome tech gear I have recommended in this post. A dry bag will set your mind at ease that your sensitive belongings are protected. I have heard of some people getting a large dry bag that essentially lines their backpack in order to keep everything dry, but I found that just having a medium sized one for my maps and electronics worked fine.
Sadly, many people go missing and perish when out in the wilderness. Weather conditions can change suddenly, and injuries can happen which threaten your ability to survive when out in nature. If you are *really* going off the beaten track you will want a personal locator. This is great even if you are only going to be out of cell phone coverage for a short time. Even something as simple as a sprained ankle can be life threatening if you are far away from cell phone coverage.
If you plan on surviving on more than just cold food, or need to boil your water you will need some sort of camp stove. There are tons of varieties on the market, but we really like the Omnifuel stove. Most typical camp stoves attach to a bottle of fuel which you use up, detach, and throw away when the canister is empty. The Omnifuel stove however, is refillable, and best of all, you can fill it with ANY type of fuel. It can burn white gas, kerosene, diesel, aviation fuel, and similar petroleum fuels, and will attach to butane or propane canisters. This fuel versatility makes it ideal for trekkers who really plan to get off the beaten track.