"On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it." - Jules Renard
"I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order." - John Burroughs
While it may sound like an oxymoron, there are very few activities as refreshing as a hike out in the wilderness. Certainly a hike may be exhausting, but the sheer impression left by nature on us reminds us that despite our hectic world, there is a calming harmony in nature.
Nature with its sights, sounds and smells often calls the hiker to its deep forests, and high peaks. Whether you are aspiring to go on a long or short hike there is one major precaution that you should consider first. Your skin.
Despite the extremes we encounter in Mother Nature there is a thin layer of skin between us and the outside world. At Adventuress we have put together a small guide to help you protect your skin, and try to ensure a comfortable hike. First, let’s look at the fundamentals concerning how to decide what products to pack when you are hiking.
Ten General Essentials1
Be sure to always take these with you even on short day hikes as a precaution. On a routine Day Hike you may not need a twenty pound backpack but be sure to include these items in some measure. The items on this list are only the essentials, feel free to take any additional items with you that will help you enjoy the hike.
- Navigation (map and compass)
- Adventuress Skin protection(Sunscreen)
- Insulation (extra clothing)
- Illumination (headlamp/flashlight)
- First-aid supplies
- Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candles)
- Repair kit and tools
- Nutrition (extra food)
- Hydration (extra water)
- Emergency shelter
Be Lightweight to Enjoy Your Hike
When you are trying to decide what to pack, contemplate the amount of weight that you would be comfortable carrying. There will be rocks, streams, up-hills, and downhills that you must navigate through, while managing your gear. Initially when you start the hike you may not care about the weight, but after mile seventeen, you will certainly notice it.
“The lighter the pack, the more enjoyable the journey” is the mantra of many seasoned hikers.
Here are 6 ways to get your pack lighter2:
- Reduce each item's weight. Modify items to reduce superfluous weight, replace items that were manufactured using heavy materials with items made from lighter ones, or exchange fully featured items for minimalist (and therefore lighter) items.3
- Weigh everything. First weigh every item and record its weight. Only with precise before and after weights can one optimize total backpack weight.
- Share gear with the others joining you on the hike. For example, four people sleep in a four-person tent, one stove for 2-4 people, etc.
- Swap gear for skills through reading and practice. The greater one's skills in using the environment and gear, the fewer tools you will need to carry. For example, by knowing where you can get water on the hike, you don’t need to carry as much.
- Lighten your feet. Hiking shoes are cheaper and lighter than hiking boots. Hiking shoes have also evolved to be a lot more useful on long distance hikes.
- Multi-purpose. Try to find items that work well for different tasks, for example a poncho can be used as a tent, hiking poles can be used as tent poles, wool socks(dry) can be used as mittens, etc.
Water will be the heaviest item you carry. However if you take advantage of compact water bladders like the Camelbak you can efficiently carry more water without as much concern for weight. This brings us to the next Fundamental.
Think Compact to be More Lightweight
An important part of setting up your backpack involves taking into account the 10 essentials and if any of them are heavy cumbersome things, you need to consider what makes it essential. By knowing what makes it essential, you can take the fundamentals of why it is essential and find a more lightweight, compact replacement. For example-water bladders.
Another good example is sunscreen. Sunscreen is a liquid that often comes in a mid-large sized container. Liquids are often heavy, and the container might take up a considerable amount of space. What makes sunscreen fundamentally important? It prevents sunburns. What is a more lightweight, and compact replacement? Adventuress has Sunscreen Swipes that weigh .10 Ounces a piece. As a plus they are thin, therefore they will not take up any space in your pack.
The non-essential items that you want to bring should also go through the same process. Whatever you decide to pack, whether it is essential or not, think compact.
Packing compact also helps you dispose of items without taking up additional space for trash. Which leads us to the next fundamental.
Leave No Trace to Protect the Environment
We do not advocate littering. Preserve the forest because the forest helps to preserve us. Take care of it, because it takes care of you. When you have trash to dispose of, you have to repack that trash. Therefore items should be “easy” to dispose of. When we say “easy to dispose of”, any trash that you have shouldn’t take up more space, but rather it should ideally take up less space. Items that are easy to dispose of, either take up less space, or they weigh less after use.
Be Odorless to Prevent Attracting Bears
While hiking the skin product you use, should also be odorless. The reasons why may be obvious. Nature in and of itself has subtle enjoyable smells, there are no a lot of people that want to smell "Wild Tangerine" when they are out trying to enjoy nature. Bears also are especially susceptible to smells, and according to reports lotions or perfumes may attract them in the same way as food4
If you want to bring lotion, or other skin care products on the hike our products are odorless.
Be Water Resistant to Prevent Hypothermia
Water can ruin a hike real fast, just refer to essential number 3. Often hikers pack a poncho to keep from getting wet, and they pack extra socks, clothes, etc. to replace wet clothing with dry clothing. The reason being that water creates friction, and it can cause disorientation, or possibly hypothermia. While it does feel good to cool off in a rainstorm, lake, or waterfall you may encounter colder weather further along the hike. If you want to enjoy these things an extra change of clothing is not only recommended, but essential.
Not to mention you will most likely sweat throughout the entire hike. Having water resistant clothing will help protect you from the repercussions of friction caused by water. Similarly using skin care products that are water resistant will help prevent redundant re-applications of that product.
Some Solutions to Protect The Hikers Skin
There is a thin layer of skin between us and the outside world and we should try to nurture it on every adventure. Now that we have gone over the fundamentals of how and what to pack on a hike.
We will briefly go over some solutions to protect the hikers skin.
Nature impacts your skin in the following ways:
- The Sun
- The Dirt
- Bug Bites
Hikes are long physical activities where you are often exposed to the sun at high elevations. A sunburn is usually guaranteed. Keeping with our packing fundamentals earlier, to help prevent sunburns, take a lightweight sunscreen that is not messy, it is easy to use, compact, and is waterproof. For example our YouVee’s Sunscreen Swipes, are compact, lightweight, and don’t have the mess normally associated with bottled sunscreen.
Other than sunscreen it is recommended that you cover up with a hat, pants rather than shorts, and a long sleeve shirt, but the heat often makes this really difficult. There are clothes that are meant for hiking however that are more breathable, and include moisture wicking to keep you dry. Clothes will also help protect your skin from the final three conditions that can impact your skin.
Our Sunscreen Swipes were featured in Fitness Magazine.
Dirt, or mud, getting either of these or both on your legs, arms, and face is normal when you are hiking. While you may be miles away from a shower Adventuress has Refreshing Facial Wipes that will help you keep clean and refreshed while on your hike.
Again sticking with our fundamentals, while facial wipes are not on the 10 essential list, our wipes are lightweight, compact, and easy to dispose of.
Our Refreshing Facial Wipes were featured in Cosmopolitan
Repeated motions while you are hiking, especially on the bottom of your feet can create blisters, which are caused by the friction between your foot and shoe. To have a comfortable hike and prevent blisters on your feet, we recommend that you bring a few pairs of socks as the sweat from your feet will often make the inside of your socks wet, resulting in additional friction. Hence why there are also moisture wicking socks that will help prevent your foot from becoming too wet, by “wicking” the sweat.
There is nothing like a new change of socks in the middle of a hike either.
Sock liners can also help reduce friction. Sock liners are meant to be an extra layer between your foot and your sock. They are generally made out of silk, which is especially known for its lack of friction. Since they are nearly weightless, and they are really compact we recommend them.
Nearly left out of this list, bug bites are really annoying. There are a few of ways to prevent bug bites. So far the most successful one that we have experienced is DEET specifically Ben’s DEET, recognizable by the Porsche red spray bottle. Wearing long-sleeved clothing is also a great way to prevent excessive bug bites. Since you can buy a small bottle of Maximum Strength Ben’s DEET that is lightweight and compact, we really recommend adding it to your pack as well.
Hiking is fun
Hiking certainly does sound like an oxymoron based on preceding information, however the solutions mentioned above are to help you prevent the things that often ruin a refreshing hiking experience. Adventuress cares about protecting your skin, so blisters, sweat, and sunburns don’t ruin your week and your adventure.
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1. REI Expert Advice: The Ten Updated Essentials
2. Wikipedia: Ultralight Backpacking
3. Beyond Backpacking: Ray Jardines Guide to Lightweight Hiking
4. Stack Exchange: Are bears attracted to Lotions and Perfumes?