10 Must-Have Items for a Flawless Hike:

Summer is still in full swing in Arizona, and all you can think of is how it has got to be the hottest summer on record.  Or, it certainly feels that way anyway! If you’re anything like most folks that have lived in Arizona long, this is about the time of year you begin to itch for a trip to cooler weather. If that’s not possible, you might have to settle for waking up at the crack of dawn and going for a day hike somewhere to feel like you’ve escaped the heat. No worries, I’ve got you covered! In addition to the obvious things like water, here are the ten must-have items to take with you to ensure a flawless hiking experience!


1. SUNSCREEN

Numero Uno y muy importante: SUNSCREEN. I wear two different sunscreens when I hike. Why? I’m extremely prone to burning, and my face has more sensitive skin than the rest of me. I use the spray Coppertone (anything with 50 or higher SPF works for me). I also tend to miss fewer spots by using the spray over the lotion. For my face, I gravitate to tried and true Neutrogena UltraSheer Dry-Touch Sunblock. It seriously feels like you’ve got nothing on and still allows me to put any makeup on over it without making me look like I learned how to do makeup last week.

Numero Uno y muy importante: SUNSCREEN. I wear two different sunscreens when I hike. Why? I’m extremely prone to burning, and my face has more sensitive skin than the rest of me. I use the spray Coppertone (anything with 50 or higher SPF works for me). I also tend to miss fewer spots by using the spray over the lotion. For my face, I gravitate to tried and true Neutrogena UltraSheer Dry-Touch Sunblock. It seriously feels like you’ve got nothing on and still allows me to put any makeup on over it without making me look like I learned how to do makeup last week.

 

2. COMFORTABLE SHOES

Trust me. You will not have a good hike if your feet aren’t comfortable. I’m personally a sucker for Merrell’s. My current faves are the Merrell All Out Crush Light Trail Runners. They work so well for hiking in addition to trail running because the bottoms are sticky and you’ll slip less. I love these so much that I have two pairs.  Plus, I think they’re pretty darn cute shoes.  

Trust me. You will not have a good hike if your feet aren’t comfortable. I’m personally a sucker for Merrell’s. My current faves are the Merrell All Out Crush Light Trail Runners. They work so well for hiking in addition to trail running because the bottoms are sticky and you’ll slip less. I love these so much that I have two pairs.  Plus, I think they’re pretty darn cute shoes.

 

3. WATERMELON

In addition to whatever your usual snacks are for hiking, include some pre-sliced watermelon. You will thank me later. I usually bring a small cooler, put some diced up watermelon pieces in Tupperware and eat it after the hike when I get back to my car. This also helps with rehydrating.  

In addition to whatever your usual snacks are for hiking, include some pre-sliced watermelon. You will thank me later. I usually bring a small cooler, put some diced up watermelon pieces in Tupperware and eat it after the hike when I get back to my car. This also helps with rehydrating.

 

4. A Hat

Photo by Claude Piché I go back and forth between cute and practical. I have a bucket-style hat made from recycled paper that I often wear, but sometimes it’s more of a ball cap-type of hair day… know what I mean? I’m currently really digging this one from Forward Fitness. And, as a bonus… feel free to use my husband’s ambassador promo code Eddie15 for the hat (or anything else on the website) to get 15% off. You’re welcome.    

Photo by Claude Piché

I go back and forth between cute and practical. I have a bucket-style hat made from recycled paper that I often wear, but sometimes it’s more of a ball cap-type of hair day… know what I mean? I’m currently really digging this one from Forward Fitness. And, as a bonus… feel free to use my husband’s ambassador promo code Eddie15 for the hat (or anything else on the website) to get 15% off. You’re welcome.  

 

5. DUCT TAPE

  If you didn't listen to me and wear comfortable, worn-in shoes, you might wind up needing duct tape to alleviate any blisters you might now be feeling crop up on the back of your heels or elsewhere on your feet. The second you feel a hot spot—stop. Find a place to sit and apply duct tape to the irritated spot. (You don't need to bring the whole roll. You can unroll a 12" strip of duct tape from the original roll and roll it back into a new tiny roll without losing the stickiness. Much easier to carry.) This will act as a bandage to keep dirt out if the blister is advanced. It will stop the friction between your skin and shoe; therefore, stopping the blister from getting worse. Just make sure to apply it to dry skin, or it won't stick. Bonus points for decorative duct tape instead of boring gray.

 

If you didn't listen to me and wear comfortable, worn-in shoes, you might wind up needing duct tape to alleviate any blisters you might now be feeling crop up on the back of your heels or elsewhere on your feet. The second you feel a hot spot—stop. Find a place to sit and apply duct tape to the irritated spot. (You don't need to bring the whole roll. You can unroll a 12" strip of duct tape from the original roll and roll it back into a new tiny roll without losing the stickiness. Much easier to carry.) This will act as a bandage to keep dirt out if the blister is advanced. It will stop the friction between your skin and shoe; therefore, stopping the blister from getting worse. Just make sure to apply it to dry skin, or it won't stick. Bonus points for decorative duct tape instead of boring gray.

 

6. A whistle

I usually keep one attached to the front strap of my Camelbak near where your mouthpiece for water is so that if anything happens and cell service is M.I.A., I can attempt to alert anyone passing by that I’m in distress.  Also helps if you happen to run into coyotes, bobcats, or another human who means you harm…  

I usually keep one attached to the front strap of my Camelbak near where your mouthpiece for water is so that if anything happens and cell service is M.I.A., I can attempt to alert anyone passing by that I’m in distress.  Also helps if you happen to run into coyotes, bobcats, or another human who means you harm…

 

7. Camera

Photo by Brandi Redd A smart phone or camera—but not for the reasons you might be thinking. Take a photo of the map at the trailhead before you start out. I prefer to do this on my phone because it's easier to zoom in if I need to refer to the map for any reason whatsoever. Also, if you're lost and have the ability to call for help…you can also potentially text someone the photo of the map and describe the approximate location where you think you are. (But, P.S. — take lots of gorgeous photos, too!)  

Photo by Brandi Redd

A smart phone or camera—but not for the reasons you might be thinking. Take a photo of the map at the trailhead before you start out. I prefer to do this on my phone because it's easier to zoom in if I need to refer to the map for any reason whatsoever. Also, if you're lost and have the ability to call for help…you can also potentially text someone the photo of the map and describe the approximate location where you think you are. (But, P.S. — take lots of gorgeous photos, too!)

 

8. An activity watch

I personally own and LOVE my Garmin vivoactive!  Not only does it help me stay on track with fitness goals, but it also tracks all sorts of data relevant to your activities.  Some versions of the Garmin even tell you when you've gone off trail to the slightest degree.  They'll notify you if the barometric pressure is rising (indicative of a looming storm) and how far away lightening is striking.  That's pretty handy, especially during monsoon season.  Bonus: you can sync your watch to an app on your phone and get credit for being active, too!  

I personally own and LOVE my Garmin vivoactive!  Not only does it help me stay on track with fitness goals, but it also tracks all sorts of data relevant to your activities.  Some versions of the Garmin even tell you when you've gone off trail to the slightest degree.  They'll notify you if the barometric pressure is rising (indicative of a looming storm) and how far away lightening is striking.  That's pretty handy, especially during monsoon season.  Bonus: you can sync your watch to an app on your phone and get credit for being active, too!

 

9. A headlamp

I always carry mine (along with a spare battery for it) in my Camelback.  Even if you’re hiking during the day, a headlamp can be useful. Caught in a monsoon and it got dark out of nowhere? Out hiking later (or earlier) than anticipated? Or, just want to explore the nearby cave you just found? Pull out your headlamp and safely explore away.

I always carry mine (along with a spare battery for it) in my Camelback.  Even if you’re hiking during the day, a headlamp can be useful. Caught in a monsoon and it got dark out of nowhere? Out hiking later (or earlier) than anticipated? Or, just want to explore the nearby cave you just found? Pull out your headlamp and safely explore away.

 

10. Friends! 

While I love a good solo hike to clear my mind and re-motivate myself, hiking with friends is always a memorable experience that can't be beaten. Plus, it looks a lot less awkward when you go for your post-celebratory happy hour session with a friend.

While I love a good solo hike to clear my mind and re-motivate myself, hiking with friends is always a memorable experience that can't be beaten. Plus, it looks a lot less awkward when you go for your post-celebratory happy hour session with a friend.

 

Do you have an item you have to have while hiking? 
LET US KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!

Desert Peaches is an inclusive brand connecting creatives & businesses. Explore our community through the eyes of featured artists, bloggers & more. #desertpeaches

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ABOUT THE WRITER OF THIS POST

In search of finding a creative outlet in life, Bethany Diaz created the Arizona-based blog Copper & Cacti to write about the very things she finds awe-inspiring in Arizona: its natural beauty.  She has lived in Arizona her entire life and is passionate about sharing Arizona’s diverse landscape with the world.  She enjoys being outdoors and hiking is one of her many athletic passions.
 

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