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Whether you are a seasoned long-distance hiker or prefer shorter day hikes, there are always a few ways to prepare for the beginning of the hiking season. In this post, we’re going over seven ways to prep for hiking season and ensure your gear is ready for any outdoor adventure!

Before discussing gear, you want to ensure that you are in good shape heading into the start of hiking season. Physically, the best way to prep for hiking season is by hiking (duh)! Starting with a few short hikes or heading to the gym to use the stairmaster will help improve your endurance.

1- Make Sure Headlamps and Electronics are Charged

A headlamp is a must-have item for hiking! Hikes often take longer than expected, and you don’t want to find yourself hiking in the dark without a headlamp. While a phone flashlight can work in a pinch, a headlamp is a much safer option.

  • Depending on your preference, you can opt for a rechargeable headlamp or one that uses regular batteries. Either way, make sure they are fully charged!
  • Other electronics we bring on hikes include a portable battery to keep our phones charged and a set of backup camera batteries.

2- Assemble a First Aid Kit

The beginning of hiking season is an excellent time to assemble a first aid kit. As you put your first aid kit together, check for expired supplies and replace anything you are running low on. Items to include in your hiking first aid kit include:

  • Band-Aids
  • Gauze
  • Moleskin for blisters
  • Neosporin (or other antibiotic ointment)
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Tweezers and nail clippers
  • Medicine such as Tylenol 
  • Chapstick with SPF

While you hopefully won’t have to use any of these items, they are all good to have, especially if you’re a few miles away from your car on an uncrowded trail.

3- Clean Your Gear

It is a good idea to take out and clean your gear after storing it for a few months over the winter. Make sure to wash your clothes, hiking socks, and base layers. Dust off your hiking boots and ensure they’re clean and ready to be used again. Consider cleaning your water bottles or hydration bladder.

  • If any items, such as hiking boots or rain jackets, need additional waterproofing for the upcoming hiking season, this is a great time to do it.

4- Check Items for Rips & Tears

Before you get out on a trail and realize that you have damaged gear, you want to check everything to see what might need to be fixed or replaced. Thoroughly inspect your high-use items, such as your hiking backpack, hiking boots, rain layer, etc. 

  • Outdoor retailers like REI often have large sales in preparation for the hiking and camping season. If you find anything that needs to be replaced, those spring and summer sales are a great time to look for replacements.

5- Prep Hiking Snacks

No matter the length of your hike, hiking snacks are always necessary! Grocery stores offer a variety of options that you can easily have on hand for your next hike. We like to put together a dedicated container in the pantry to store our hiking snacks so that we always know where to grab them. A few of our favorite hiking snacks are:

  • Dried fruit (Trader Joe’s dried mango is a personal favorite!)
  • Granola bars
  • Apple slices
  • Peanut butter crackers
  • Fig bars
  • Trail mix
  • Candy 

You can also make your own hiking snacks! You can prepare overnight oats, energy balls, homemade granola bars, and even backpacking meals if you go on longer adventures.

6- Organize Sunscreens and Sprays

Put together a small bag with sprays such as bug spray and sunscreen. You can also get bug-repellent wipes if you don’t like using a spray. Travel-sized sunscreen containers are a great lightweight way to carry sunscreen on a hike. Also, if you are hiking in bear country, bring a canister of bear spray!

7- Prepare a Post-Hike Recovery Kit

At the end of a long hike, nothing is better than taking off your hiking boots and slipping on comfortable shoes like sandals! Preparing a post-hike recovery kit is a great way to treat yourself after a long hike. Here are a few items that you should consider adding to your kit: 

  • Comfortable sandals to air out your feet
  • A clean change of clothes
  • Extra water bottle in case you finish all your water on the hike
  • Snacks such as candy or granola bars
  • A cold Bivouac cider to enjoy as your post-hike treat!

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