The most important concept we want to portray is that no matter where you hike, or what your hiking level is, above all else, have fun!

It is also a delightful way to explore nature and spend quality time with friends and family. Alternatively, if you need some introspective time, do it on your own. 

Whether you want to go deep into the mountains, head to the bush, berg, battlefields, or stay closer to home, the choices in KZN are endless.

Decisions around your hike should include what you need to bring on a day hike, how far you plan to hike, how remote the location, and do go where it is safe. And in your planning process, make sure you have checked out the weather forecast before heading out. 

In general, the longer and/or more remote the hike is and the more inclement the weather, the more clothing, gear, food and water you’re going to need. 

Some hiking checklists include:

·         Hiking Gear – A backpack is the primary piece of gear for day hiking. One that holds 11–20 litres of gear is about right for short, simple hikes, while something bigger is good for treks where more food, water, clothing and gear is required.

·         Clothing & Footwear – Check the forecast and make sure you are prepared for all situations. Be especially prepared for changing weather or a possible night out by packing extra clothes outside of those required for the trip. It’s also important to consider how much protection your clothing provides against the sun’s ultraviolet rays. For footwear, determine what to wear based on the terrain. On gentle hikes on smooth trails, hiking shoes or trail runners are sufficient. For treks on rocky, rugged trails, boots will provide more support. 

·         Food & Water – Pack snacks like energy bars, biltong and nuts that you can eat easily on the trail. Some people like to bring a sandwich for lunch, too. For water, you can usually start with about two litres per person for the day, but adjust the amount depending on length and intensity of the hike, weather conditions, and your age, sweat rate and body type. 

·         Navigation – Navigation is a personal preferences which will determine exactly which items you’ll bring, be it a map, compass, GPS on your phone*.

·         Other smaller items to consider –  First Aid kit or first-aid supplies, lighter/matches and fire starter, emergency shelter (bivvy) / Whistle / two itineraries: 1 left with friend + 1 under car seat / sun protection: sunscreen / sunglasses / sun hat / lip balm / insect repellent / toilet paper / blister treatments / tools & repair Items (multi-tool ) / flashlight / batteries.

As for the personal Items, don’t forget to bring a credit card and/or cash, your ID and cell phone.

These items above are just some essentials. However, the exact items you take for each hike (in the mountains, or along a beach or in the bush) can be tailored to your trip based on considerations such as weather, difficulty, duration and distance from help. 

Last, but not least, ensure that friends and/or family know where you are heading just in case you get lost or develop an injury. If there is a cell phone signal where you are heading be sure to keep that phone charged in case you need any assistance. 

For further advice or to simply take a look at their hiking equipment, head off to Springfield Retail Centre’s Outdoor Warehouse or call them on 031 263 0851.

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