My hiking backpacks are pretty much always ready to go, which makes things easy when I plan a last minute hike or have to wake up early.
Picking a Backpack
I have two sizes that I’ll swap between: Medium & Small. I personally don’t do long backpacking trips so I don’t have one of the larger ones.
Every hike that’s on Approachable Outdoors I’ve done with the small or medium size backpack. I personally love one with plenty of pockets and a bit of support on the back. Before you take it out on a hike make sure you test it out because there’s nothing worse then getting a mile in and realize your new backpack is uncomfortable or rubbing the wrong way.
What’s in my backpack: Short Hike (1-4 miles)
Water – This is the most important thing you can bring on your hike! Always pack more water than you think you need! I personally don’t typically use a bladder, but my friends love them for convenience so they don’t have to stop… I like the excuse of the water to take a break 😊 The general rule of thumb is a half liter of water per hour.
Sunscreen – Don’t skip this step, especially in Colorado! That sun can be brutal, even more so at elevation and when you’re on top of a mountain. I bought bottles of sunscreen that just live in my hiking backpacks so I never have to think about it.
Tissues – If there’s any sort of chill in the air my nose starts to run (thanks, allergies) so I always keep a pack handy!
First Aid: Bandaids/Ibuprofen are always in my pack so I don’t ever have to think about it
Cliff Bar/Snack: I have a tendency to get hangry, even on shorter hikes so I always keep a bar just in case!
What I add to my backpack for a longer Hike (4+ miles)
Spare Pair of Socks – Especially in the winter and spring, this is one of the things I forget the most and always kick myself when my shoes end up soaked.
First Aid Kit: I have a bigger first aid for longer hikes: tweezers, antibiotic ointment in addition to the bandaids and ibuprofen.
Food: Plenty of snacks and usually lunch, too! Same rule with water here, you never know if the hike will end up being longer so it’s better to have extra food than run out.
Bug Spray: Depends on the hike, Colorado isn’t too buggy in the foothills but get up near some Alpine Lakes and you’ll be glad you have it!
Weather Layers: Windbreaker, hats, gloves, extra layers – Make sure you consider the weather when you’re dressing and packing for a hike. How to dress for a Hike
Knife: Or a multi-tool works great
Summit Beer – A personal favorite of mine! Beer just tastes better on top of a mountain.