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Hiking checklist: What to bring on a hike

Before you kickstart your hiking adventure, make sure to have these items on your hiking checklist

Written by
Time Out Hong Kong
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Hong Kong offers the best hiking trails that cater to everyone from beginners to hardcore thrill-seekers. If you're getting ready to start your Hong Kong outdoor adventures, before you head out, make sure you know what to wear and what to bring. Here's a roundup of hiking essentials that you will need throughout your trip. Remember, not all hikes are the same, so make sure to know where you're going and the expected duration of the trail so you know what to add to your pack. 

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What to bring on a hike

Backpack
Photograph: TA

1. Backpack

It all starts with the bag that will hold all your gear. For shorter hikes, it's worth taking a lightweight, and waterproof backpack as this not only makes your hike more enjoyable but also protects your belongings when passing by waterfalls or when it suddenly rains – as it can do in Hong Kong. For longer treks that require more food, water, and perhaps additional clothing, a bigger backpack is needed. Ensure that your backpack is well-strapped and not broken so that it does not fall or snap off your shoulders halfway.

Health and hygiene
Photo: Grown Alchemist

2. Health and hygiene

Due to the unprecedented times we are in today, remember to keep it clean and sanitise as much as possible. Bring a hand sanitiser and mask, which you can wear before and after the arduous hike or when a path gets crowded. 

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Food and water
Photograph: Unsplash/Timmy Wesley

3. Food and water

Hiking can be strenuous, and it's easy to become dehydrated, especially when hiking in the heat of Hong Kong. Make sure to bring at least two litres of water to stay hydrated at all times. Pack substantial snacks like energy bars, jerky and trail mix that you can easily munch on whilst hiking. A hydration pack or vest is an excellent option as it makes drinking convenient throughout the hike. Bottles tend to be heavier, but if you prefer this, place it somewhere accessible from your backpack. Most hiking groups will stress the importance of not bringing disposable water bottles as hikers tend to leave this on the trail adding up to the plastic waste and rubbish that pollutes the surroundings. 

Navigation tools
Photograph: Unsplash/Anastasia Petrova

4. Navigation tools

Your smartphone may lose its signal along the way, so tools such as a physical map or a small compass are of great help, especially for longer trails. 

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5. First-aid kit

In case of an accident, it pays to carry a range of first aid materials like antiseptic wipes, adhesive wound-closure strips, medical adhesive tape, and insect repellent. Medication such as antihistamine to treat allergic reactions or other pain-relief medication such as paracetamol could also come in handy.

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6. Emergency/repair kit

Bring along a portable repair kit filled with items such as duct tape, zip ties, a small military knife, or a multi-tool. This will come in great use when something suddenly breaks. It could be a pair of shoes coming apart from all the strenuous walking, for example. In which case, you can keep it together with a piece of duct tape for the time being and continue on. Other emergency items such as a lighter or match can also be handy to keep on you.  

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Sun protection
Photograph: TA

7. Sun protection

Be sure to carry enough protection as trekking under the sun can take a toll on your skin and bodies. UV protection sunglasses, sun-protective clothing, a hat, and sunscreen with at least SPF50 should do the trick in preventing sun-induced headaches and bad tan-lines.

Clothing and footwear
Photograph: Courtesy HKOutsider

8. Clothing and footwear

Dress for the occasion, and be sure to check the weather forecast for the day. Wear dri-fit clothing on hot days, giving you as much airflow as possible to cool you down and long sports pants (yoga pants or compression leggings) to avoid minor skin abrasions for more strenuous hikes. Invest in proper footwear. Determine what to wear based on the trail. On gentle hikes over relatively smooth terrain, regular trainers with good surface contact will likely be sufficient. However, for hikes that traverse rocky, uneven ground, proper hiking shoes with adequate support and good grip will pay dividends, especially in wetter, more slippery conditions. Try looking for Five Ten shoes in Sneaker Street or order them online. Trust us; once you buy a pair, it could be the only adventure shoe you'll need. For all your outdoor gear needs, check out our roundup of the best outdoor gear shops in the city. 

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Optional items
Photograph: Unsplash/Jenna Beekhuis

9. Optional items

Lastly, you might like to bring your personal items (phone, wallet and keys etc.) along with you. Perhaps, even a waterproof camera to snap some quick pictures. After all, hiking is a great excuse to get those candid shots with your family and friends. If you do, make sure to store it in a waterproof bag to keep your items dry at all times. Trust us, we've seen sob stories of phone's or non-waterproof cameras getting drenched mid-hike.  

The best trails to hit up in HK

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