When getting ready to go out on a day hike you need to do a few things first before you leave. One is always check the weather for where you plan to hike. This will let you know how you will need to dress or possibly what extra clothing you might need to bring along with you. It is always a good idea if you love to hike to always have a few things in your car in case of an emergency including extra water, light rain gear, energy bars, and sunscreen. this makes it nice to have back-ups in case you forgot something or run out of some of the items you brought with you.
Making a check list is always a good idea before any hike. I still make one to this day, sometimes it depends on where, and how long I’m going to what’s on my list, but my basic list always has water, energy bars, sunscreen, cell phone, pocket knife, matches, or lighter, whistle, laser light pen, and a flashlight. What’s nice about these items is they are very small, light, and easy to pack.
When hiking I always try to find a friend to hike with. The buddy system is always a good way to hike in case there is an emergency and can help keep you motivated on longer, more challenging hikes. If you decide to go by yourself it is always a good idea to leave a note or voicemail with someone to where you plan to hike and about how long you will be gone.
When dressing for a day hike I always prefer a good pair of light-weight hiking boots. I like shoes that cover your ankles for good stability on hill climbs and descents. The light-weight mesh designs are excellent for day hikes and very easy to break in when new and keep your feet fairly cool and dry. As for clothing I love shorts with lots of pockets which makes it convenient to store a few items you would like to get to easily while hiking.
A walking stick is always good to have you never know if you’ll need it for balance or to remove a rattlesnake off the trail. Some of the more aggressive day hikes I go on I have always had a walking stick and it has helped me many times when climbing some really tough hills.
One very important item I always have and wear around my neck or in an easily accessible place is a whistle. If you become lost on the trail or get separated from your hiking buddy, you can use the whistle to help people find you. Also, if you encounter some wildlife such as coyotes, bob cats, or mountain lions the whistle can help to make these guys turn and go the other way.
Bottom line is to always think ahead about where you plan to hike and be prepared even if it is a short one hour hike.