A day hike through the Appalachian Mountains is an invigorating and exciting adventure. The Appalachian Trail stretches over 14 states---so there are several locations to start and stop. Even if only hiking on the trail for a few hours, there still are several necessities that should be considered and brought along. Checking weather forecasts and analyzing current conditions before the hike is considered a safety measure and should be implemented into the trip. For those who will be navigating the trail for more than a day, packing essentials such as tents, sleeping bags, backpacking stoves and fire-starting supplies should be added to this list.
Food and Water
One of the most important things to take on a hike is plenty of food and water. There are no stores or outposts along the trail that offer food and water, so making sure every hiker is equipped will lead to a healthy hike. Because outdoor temperatures can vary greatly on the trail, body temperature can as well. This means the body might require more water as temperature changes occur. Freezing a bottle or two of water will keep water cold. For food, try to pack nonperishable items such as granola bars and trail mix that won't spoil as moisture increases and the temperature rises.
The Appalachian Mountain range temperatures typically start and end cool---even in the summer. Higher-altitude ranges can bring cooler temperatures and rain, so hikers should bring a light jacket. Wearing clothing such as Under Armour as a base will help regulate body temperature and prevent sweating. Additional button-up jackets and long pants can be worn over top as long as they easily can come off as the hiker gets warmer. Bringing a backpack to hold essentials is a good idea. Hats, sunglasses and sunscreen are beneficial on sunny days. Adequate hiking boots are a must to get through trails and uneven terrain.
Maps and Navigation
Hikers should begin by mapping a hike. There is a scale used by hikers on the trail with a No. 1 being flat terrain or easy to hike, a No. 5 being a lot of uphill and downhill terrain and a No. 10 being recommended for experienced hikers only. Appalaciantrail.org offers maps of specific state areas that are numbered according to difficulty level and length. A topographic map is essential to have when hiking in the area. The topographic map uses landmarks and natural landscape to help guide hikers and mark-mile points. A GPS navigation device can be used for those who are unfamiliar with the trails.
A general first-aid kit should be included. Because most of the terrain is unpredictable, injury easily can result. This could be from a fall, hitting a foreign object, rock falls or animal bites. Bandages, antiseptic, tweezers and dressings should be in the kit.
Other equipment hikers might want to bring is trek poles. Trek poles offer stability and support when climbing hilly and rocky terrain. Climbing gear also might be an option for those who are looking to do some backcountry hiking and climbing. Rope also might come in handy for climbing and navigating rough rivers or rapids.
Article Written By Julie Boehlke
Julie Boehlke is a seasoned copywriter and content creator based in the Great Lakes state. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. Boehlke has more than 10 years of professional writing experience on topics such as health and wellness, green living, gardening, genealogy, finances, relationships, world travel, golf, outdoors and interior decorating. She has also worked in geriatrics and hospice care.