If your next adventure includes hiking and a road trip, we’ve got you covered on what to pack. From the obvious to not-so-obvious essentials, read on for everything you need for your next exploration.
So you’ve heard all about South-West America and you’re ready to pack you bags and hit the road. Whether this is your first road trip or your hundredth, you’ll want to double check your packing list and make sure you’ve got everything you need, especially if you plan on partaking in a variety of different activities.
Whether you’re staying in a campervan on campgrounds or in swanky hotels, these are the items you won’t regret packing for your South-West road trip:
A Good Backpack
A good backpack is essential for, well, of course, holding everything you need. For hiking trips, be sure to bring a bag that has wide straps with padding for extra support. Definitely skip string bags no matter how cute they look – your shoulders will forever hate you if your straps are digging into them for 3-6 hours at a time.
I cannot stress how important it is to stay hydrated, especially if you’re planning long hikes. At the Grand Canyon alone, over 250 people are rescued due to exhaustion. I packed my trusty S’well bottle, which is insulated to keep cold drinks cold for up to 15 hours and hot drinks hot for up to 12 hours. My partner packed a Coleman Hydration Bladder which held a whopping 2 litres and could easily be transferred from backpack to backpack.
This item is a no brainer and needs little explanation. Make sure to bring a good, sweat-proof sunscreen to wear on long, hot hikes where there’s little to no shade.
Wet wipes may be the most underrated toiletry of all but they’re an essential on every trip I go on. They can be used on your hands, your face, your arms and legs, packed up in Ziploc baggies for added convenience on hikes or stored in a fridge or cooler for super hot days. Never underestimate the cleaning and cooling power of a moist toilette.
If you’re planning on hiking the great outdoors on your epic adventure, I 100% recommend investing in a good pair of hiking boots. The type of boots you purchase depend completely on what types of hikes you plan on embarking; beginner, intermediate, or advanced, each level based on miles and elevation. For intermediate and advanced hikes, look for a boot that is light weight, has a thick sole and plenty of ankle support – after hiking for 3-6 hours a day, you’ll want all the support you can get. Make sure you purchase the appropriate size, as going too big or too small will result in sore feet and blisters.
For my trip, I turned to KEEN’s Gypsum Mid while my partner opted for the Liberty Ridge. Both boots were completely waterproof and breathable, keeping our feet dry in sweltering hot head and in the rare rainfall (it only rained once on our trip). While most boots need to be broken in, our KEENs were comfortable from the very beginning – we couldn’t (and wouldn’t) of done our trip without them!
A First Aid Kit
Another packing essential that needs no explanation is a first aid kit. If you’re creating your own, be sure to include Band-Aids of all sizes, Polysporin, a tensor bandage, Advil, and alcoholic wipes. Fingers crossed you won’t need it but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
When you’re off exploring, you’ll need some extra energy to keep you going. Trail mix, fruit and granola bars all make excellent hiking snacks. Plus, there’s nothing quite as relaxing as popping a squat, looking off into a great American landscape and snacking your heart out, mid-hike.
Headlamps and/or Flashlights
If you’re camping or sleeping in a campervan, you’ll certainly want to bring headlamps or flashlights to help guide you through the campgrounds at night.
Living in a van has its advantages; it’s easy to pack up, convenient, and comfortable. The only inconvenience is the shower and bathroom situation – it’s essentially non-existent. With that being said, there are public restrooms and pay-per-minute showers on most campgrounds and they’re extremely clean. Sometimes, though, when you’re feeling lazy or you’ve run out of quarters for the shower, all you need is a little dry shampoo. My go-to is Redken Pillow Proof Two Day Extender Dry Shampoo, which soaks up oil and adds the perfect about of oomph to van-bed-head.
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