6 Hiking And Backpacking Essentials You Didn’t Know You Needed

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Over the years, the number of people who have gone hiking has grown. Maybe it’s the feeling of exhaustion people get after being isolated for a long time, or maybe it’s just a desire to try something new.

In 2020, about 57.81 million people in the United States participated in hiking. That’s a 14% increase from the previous year and a 56% increase from 10 years ago. Nevertheless, hiking and backpacking are becoming increasingly popular because of the health benefits they give.

One can become more physically fit as these activities help build muscles and promote bone density. They can also strengthen one’s cardiovascular and respiratory systems. More than improving physical well-being, hiking, and backpacking are excellent for one’s mental health.

Communing with nature gives a person a sense of connection and purpose. It can help boost one’s mood, reduce stress, improve sleep, and inspire creativity. To help you begin your hiking and backpacking plans, here’s a list of essentials to pack you didn’t know you needed:


Maybe you’re feeling so stressed with life’s responsibilities that you forget to connect with your inner core or spirituality. While in the quietness of the woods, you can peacefully write down your plans.

You can also create a list of all the things you’d like to accomplish in the coming years. In addition, you can write down the things that bother you and make you anxious. This way, you can pour your thoughts down on paper and what your heart feels without any distractions.

Bring a journal and your trusted mechanical pencil with you the next time you go hiking to start your journey toward self-reflection and self-healing.

Backpacker writing in journal
Backpacker writing in journal

Solar Lights

At night, a more sustainable option than lighting a fire is to bring a solar light that you can recharge during the day when the sun is bright. This is also great for overcast days you didn’t anticipate. The woods can be very dark even during daytime under the heavy canopy of trees. In addition, a solar light can be a helpful accessory that adds an extra layer of protection whenever you’re hiking.

Portable Solar Charger

It would be best if you had your devices up and running, especially for emergencies. It would help if you had a solar charger so your devices won’t run out of juice. A charger that doesn’t need electricity but uses the heat of the sun to store power is something ingenious and a lifesaver for many hikers and campers.

Inflatable Mattress

A compact mattress you can inflate when you’re ready to sleep at night would be a great camping companion. Having an inflatable mattress that’s the size of a 20 oz bottle when not in use and a pump that you can pack inside your bag offers convenience for hikers. It can also give you the most comfortable sleep under the starry night skies.

Glow-in-the-Dark Rope

Glow-in-the-dark ropes have many uses. They illuminate the path at night, so campers don’t trip and injure themselves. Moreover, if someone gets lost in the woods at night, these ropes make it easier to find and track them.

Meanwhile, glow-in-the-dark ropes were initially created for the marines and other hazardous industries. Over time, they made their way into the essential gears of many hiking and camping enthusiasts. Significantly, this tool potentially increases the safety of those who camp in the woods.

Portable French Press

Coffee on a wonderful dewy morning? To say that coffee is a must for campers is an understatement. Hikers and campers need their morning fuel for their breakfast and to pump some energy into their bloodstreams. A portable French press can provide an excellent cup of coffee to wake sleepy campers with its earthy aroma and bold flavors.

Just bring your ground coffee beans and pour some hot water into your French press. Wait for four minutes to finish the brew, and you’ll be up and about in no time.

French press


Getting away momentarily and spending some time in nature can do wonders for your mental and emotional well-being. However, don’t forget to bring the essential things that can make your activity more worthwhile and meaningful.

Hiking can do wonders for your overall health. Once you’ve returned, you’ll be able to express more of who you are to others you meet. Meanwhile, if it takes some quiet time to get your thoughts together, take advantage of the time you’ll be saving for yourself.

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Michael Glass

Michael is the founder of Backpacker Travel. He also runs walking tours in San Francisco and is a freelance travel writer. Michael is extremely passionate about travel and loves to explore festivals around the world.

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