If you're a fan of nature and exercise, you've might already know that hiking is the most harmonious combination of both interests — but if you have yet to embrace the trails, it's never too late. Whether your hiking shoes are weathered and worn or if you have yet to cut your wilderness teeth, there are certain things you should always make sure you have when you're hiking. Sometimes even the most experienced trail blazers leave the house under prepared.
Generally, so long as you stay on official trails and are cautious about wildlife and weather conditions, hiking is a safe sport. That said, just because hiking can be a gear-less, slow-paced, and "safe" sport, doesn't mean there aren't risks. Staying hydrated, warm, dry, and protected are of utmost importance, so it's crucial to know what key resources you should have with you when you set foot in nature.
Personally, I learned the hard way that I was hitting the trails without the proper tools and accessories, but you don't have to. When you're prepared for a hike, you can enjoy it more fully. You can be present, you can be flexible, and you can be confident that no matter what the weather or the wilderness throws at you, you're not going to be knocked off course. Here are a few things that you should always have with you when you go for a hike, no matter how short the trail or favorable the weather.