Hiking is one of the best ways to explore Hells Canyon. It brings you closer to the canyon walls and offers unique opportunities to view the region’s wildlife. It’s not uncommon for those who are enjoying a jet boat tour of Hells Canyon to want to go on a day hike afterward. But for those who are new to hiking, figuring out what to bring with you isn’t always easy.

Don’t let stylish models on Instagram fool you. You’ll need more than just a cute backpack and a flannel shirt to hike safely and comfortably. Fortunately, Killgore Adventures has spent a lot of time on the hiking trails and we’ve put together this quick list of what to bring with you for your first hike!

Five of the Essentials for Hiking

A common way to organize your thoughts and your gear before your next hike is to think about the essentials. When you’re carrying the right amount and combination of these essentials, you’re well-prepared for anything that the trail might bring you.

Start With a Backpack

Your backpack doesn’t have to be huge for a simple day hike, but you’ll want to have one on you. Otherwise, you’ll be juggling your gear all day. Most bags that hold from 13-20 liters is perfect for most day hikes. For longer excursions, you may consider bringing something a little larger if you’ll be out all day. A 20-30 liter pack will allow you to bring extra layers and more snacks.

Dress for the Conditions, Not for the ‘Gram

The clothes you wear to work or on a day-to-day basis likely aren’t well-suited for a day hike. Instead, pick out your clothes based on when and where you’re hiking.

The day before your hike, and then the morning of, make sure you check the weather for the area you’re hiking in. That will determine your wardrobe for the day. Be prepared for changes in temperature and weather conditions.

Avoid wearing cotton fabrics, as they retain moisture and have a hard time drying off. Instead, were lightweight wool or synthetic fabrics. Consider packing the following based on your climate and weather forecast:

  • Lightweight fleece or insulated jacket
  • Rain or wind jacket
  • Well-fitting, appropriate hiking boots or shoes
  • Long-sleeve shirts and pants for bugs and sun protection

Don’t feel like you have to wear all of these layers during the whole hike. You can put them on and take them off as needed. You may also pack a layer that you never end up using. However, it’s still good to have it on hand.

Food and Water

You’ll want to pack a few light snacks to enjoy while hiking. They’ll offer you the energy your body needs to get you to your destination and back to the trailhead. Some great trail snacks include jerky, trail mix, and granola bars.

Make sure you’re staying hydrated on the trail by bringing enough water in a bottle or reservoir. You’ll want to bring about a half-liter of water for every hour you’ll spend on the trail.

Navigation Aids

No one likes getting lost out in the woods. Make sure you bring an updated map of the area you’re hiking, a good compass, and if needed or wanted a GPS unit. Make sure you know how to use these tools as well. Your local outdoor goods store likely has classes that can teach you.

Emergency Supplies

While hiking is a fairly safe activity, it can have its unexpected moments. A first aid kit should always be in your day pack with things like bandages, antibacterial ointment, and disinfectant. You’ll also want to bring something with which to make an emergency shelter if needed. A light space blanket works great. Also, bring something to start a fire with. Finally, make sure you create a travel itinerary for yourself and a friend or family member. This will let them know where you are, when to expect you back, and who to contact if you don’t connect with them at the appointed time.

Want to explore Hells Canyon? Book your expedition with Killgore Adventures today! We offer day-long jet boat tours, jet up and back services, and even white water rafting trips!