Essential kit for hiking and the outdoors
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Autumn and winter in South Africa is a great time to get on your hiking boots and hit one of the many walking trails that our country has to offer.
The temperatures are moderate throughout the country, making it the perfect season for hiking.
However, there are a few essential items that make hiking and camping more enjoyable. Your choice of clothing can make the difference between a comfortable, easy hike or a frustrating one where you are constantly removing your jacket or fleece when getting too warm or cool. Make sure that the garments you choose are lightweight, breathable, have enough pockets and water-resistant for those unexpected showers.
A lightweight daypack is another essential that can make or break your hiking experience. High visibility rear facing reflective tabs and a safety whistle are good features, and easy hydration pockets are handy to be able to reach your water bottle with ease.
And, when choosing a water bottle, make sure that it is large enough to last for the duration of your hike - preferably with a dual wall to keep liquids colder for longer.
To ensure you don’t get lost consider taking a compass. Not only are they great for keeping your orientation, they are also good when visibility is poor.
Another option is a GPS Smartwatch. This is a good choice for athletes. Robust and with up to 120 hours of continuous exercise tracking, your watch will last as long as you need it to. Perfect for long, arduous training and racing and extreme adventures.
A rechargeable headlamp is always handy to have in your daypack. Choose one with USB charging for quick and easy charging and with an adjustable head strap. A sensor switch that works with hand movements is convenient so you don’t have to fiddle with on and off switches whilst walking.
If you know you will be crossing rivers or kayaking, a compression dry bag comes in handy. Not only does it save space as it compresses the contents, it also keeps everything dry.
For overnight hikes an extra length sleeping bag is a good investment. Remember to check the temperature ranges that it is suitable for. It’s also good to have one with a small inner pocket to keep your valuables close at night.
Last but not least, your tent is another essential item that you need to choose carefully. If you are camping out for a few nights ensure that it is large enough for all your gear and is waterproof as well as UV, rot and mildew resistant.