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10 Essentials - What to pack for hikingby Dalene Ingham-Brown

So you’re going on a hike and want to know what to pack for hiking to ensure you have all the necessary items for a safe, enjoyable hike. Good thinking maestro! These backpacking tips will ensure you’re adequately prepared for the adventure ahead. Watch this YouTube video for a quick rundown on what you'll need to pack for a hike:


What kind of backpack will I need?

The backpack you use when packing for hiking is as important as the essentials you pack in it. Your choice of backpack will be determined by how long you’re going hiking for and what type of environment you’re going to be tackling. If you’re going on a day hike it’s a good idea to take a small camel backpack which has a great spot for water in it, giving you about 2-3 litres of storage space for water. The camel backpack has a special bladder area you fill up with water, making for convenient water storage on your hike.

What to pack for hiking

Backpacking basics for a day hike:

Whether you intend to hike while on a trip from Cape Town to Victoria Falls or from Cape Town to Timbuktu, there are some basic things you’ll always want to carry when you’re going hiking:

First-aid kit

A small first-aid kit is great for day hikes. These kits usually include band-aids, a soap sponge, gauze and other important first aid necessities just in case a first aid issue arises.


Another important item to carry with you is a small headlamp. Your hike may take longer than you expect it to, and you don't want to be hiking at night without light.


A small tube of sunscreen in your backpack will ensure you're protected against sunburn. Just don't forget to use it!

Hand sanitiser

Pack a small bottle of hand sanitiser. This may seem silly to take on a hike, but it is important to clean your hands after you’ve just done a number 1 or number 2 behind a large rock. Also, cleaning your hand before or after you eat is important, not to mention the need for it when you’re tending to an open wound.


Carrying your cellphone will allow you get in contact with help if you end up running into trouble along the way. If there is reception, that is.


Don’t forget to take your map with you so that if an unsuspected fork in the path presents itself, you’ll be able to safely navigate your way along the right route.


When you set off for your hike in the blazing sun, it’s a good idea to wear a hat that protects your face and neck from the sun. Try and fit a wollen beanie hat in your backpack just in case it gets cold.


Pack a sandwich bag full of snack food. Nuts are a great option because they are packed with great nutrients for nourishment and sustenance.


Pack a thin rain jacket. You never know when the rain is going to creep up on you or when a cold wind will bite. In the mountains weather changes very quickly, so be prepared. Camera If your cellphone doesn't already have a built in camera, pack a small durable camera for your journey. When on an African expedition, you may come across a moment you simple want to capture forever. Now you know what to pack for hiking. All you've got to do now is set off on that Cape Town to Victoria Falls adventure. Go for it!

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