What to Pack for a Day of Hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains
Going for a day hike in the Blue Ridge mountains is the perfect summer activity. But what do you need to pack for a day trip? Although day hikes don’t require as much gear as an overnight trip, there’s still a few things you won’t want to forget:
Getting the right pair of hiking shoes is a step you don’t want to overlook. If you wear the wrong shoes, you could be left with uncomfortable blisters and rashes by the end of the day—or much worse. In some terrains you can make do with tennis shoes, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Keep in mind that tennis shoes are not waterproof, and they don’t do well in slick areas. The best line of action is to get a good pair of non-slip, waterproof hiking boots that will keep you protected throughout your hike.
The most important thing to keep in mind when choosing clothes for a day hike during the summer is the weather. Most likely, it will be hot, but there’s also a good chance of rain in the Blue Ridge Mountains. With that in mind, it’s best to steer away from cotton clothes as they will not hold up well in the rain. The best solution is non-cotton, “quick dry” moisture wicking clothing. It can’t hurt to bring a rain poncho with you either, just in case! Quality underclothing is also a great investment to prevent chaffing.
As mentioned earlier, you don’t need as much gear on a day hike as you would for an overnight trip; however, it’s still important to bring a day pack to make sure you’re covered for all situations. Food and water are essentials. You always want to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. It’s important to remember you will be in a remote, wilderness area, so it could take a while for rescue personal to get to you. That’s why it’s also a good idea to keep a first aid kit in your day pack.
The three categories above are the most important to remember, but there are also some miscellaneous items that can improve your day hike:
- Toilet paper: You never know when nature might call, so it’s best to be prepared! Bring some toilet paper as well as a Ziplock bag to put your used toilet paper in when you’re done.
- Pocket knife: It’s always good to carry a pocket knife with you on a hike. They’re lightweight, so it’s not a bother to carry one along. They come in handy for many different scenarios.
- Sunscreen: During the summer, sunscreen is a must have. Even when you’re covered in shade under the trees, you should protect your skin.
- Bandanas: These are great for many different purposes, such as controlling sweat and cleaning up gear. Another lightweight item that is good to store away, just in case.
- Flashlight: Even though you’re on a day hike, flashlights are still a must have. In the worst-case scenario that you get lost or you just miscalculated how long it would take to get back to your car, you’ll be glad you brought one.
As always, be mindful of your surroundings and respect the wildlife while out on the trails!