For a long distance hike, good equipment is one of the cornerstones of your success. You might not be able to take everything with you, but depending on the length of the hike you’re going to need some essentials. Here is a list of items that the good trail walker or trailer will absolutely need:
- A comfortable and light backpack is important.
- A energy drink to take with you. Hand-free, with a straw or a specific tube to drink.
- Energy and cereal bars, dried fruits.
- A waterproof jacket or a wind-cut depending on the weather conditions.
- A good pair of hiking shoes.
- A cap or a headband to protect you from the sun.
- A survival blanket.
- A cell phone or beacon (just in case).
The main factors to take into consideration are:
You’ll want to choose a powerful lamp, but the only thing will be that, the more powerful the lamp, the more energy it will consume. And if you have to take more batteries, you have to consider the extra weight for your equipment as well.
Preferably, the beam will be spread to around 15°. Too tight, you won’t be able to see the sides of the trail and anticipate your movements. Too wide, you will use more energy for nothing.
You need to be able to see the ground before you without turning your head all the time, just enough to anticipate your changes of direction. Some lamps have 2 light sources. Some people will simply have a second light source, directional, for occasional use in specific conditions.
This is referring to the fact that the lightning needs to be the same with full batteries or when the batteries are running low. It’s for a better lighting quality. If your light has one, check it’s energy indicator from time to time, to know better when to change the batteries before needed and to not be without light in a crucial moment of your run.
There are several types of batteries available. Alkaline batteries are the most common for these kind of products. They are relatively light. Be careful with saline and rechargeable batteries that will certainly have an influence on the regulation of the lamp when running low on energy. There are now lithium batteries which are about 30% more powerful than alkaline batteries and they will last 2 or 3 times longer. Always think about having spare batteries if anything were to happen!
The lamp’s weight has to be equally spread on your head (if you’re using a headlamp), for you not to be disturbed by the lamps movements. The lighter the lamp, the more comfort you will have using it. Some models can be wired to a set of batteries placed in your backpack to have a lighter equipment on your head. This way, you can also have more powerful batteries that will last longer.
A signal LED can be useful to be seen by others. Your lamp needs a notable power button to be used with gloves, but with a protection to prevent the light to switch on in your backpack for example.
It is usual to see on hiking paths or itineraries, people with “large socks”, but it’s not just to be warm, they are constriction stockings.
This equipment will give you a better oxygenation of your muscles when you are walking. They will also prevent micro-tearings of the muscular tissues. Tests prove the benefits of these constriction stocking for hiking, they improve by 45% the supports of your calves and decrease by 29% muscular vibrations. These tests also showed the better oxygenation of the muscles and the important reduction of 35% of the blood volume in the calf. Constriction stockings will help you practise better and longer.
To know and pick your size, you will need the calf size (diameter at the widest), the size between your ankle and under your knee. It is a constriction equipment, it will be normal to have difficulties to put them on!
Cold and Wet Weather
To run during particularly cold or wet weather conditions, you will need a specific set of equipment. This list is again not exhaustive but a good starting point to make sure you’re not missing anything you might need.
- Thermal and breathable underwear.
- For the bottom: long raid tights or a trouser cover for colder weather, waterproof and breathable.
- A rain-cut jacket, light and breathable and a 3-layer hiking jacket, with or without sleeves.
- A fleece jumper.
- Thin gloves.
- Lycra or fleece hat.
- High and warm socks.
- Waterproof shoes or high boots when it gets colder or where there is snow.
- A down jacket for recuperation time.