Getting your car ready is the first step to a successful hiking trip.
Last year, I decided to get healthy and explore this beautiful country I live in. Hiking Glacier Park was top on my hiking trips list, but I knew I needed to prepare myself for a hike this big. I had no idea how many things needed to be done to prepare for the trip. And I had to get my car ready, too!
There is more that goes into it than just changing the oil. Your car is not just transportation, it’s also storage and it may be your refuge. So the need to think ahead to all the possibilities is a key step for preparing for those bucket list hikes.
What You Need to Consider to Prep Your Car for a Hiking Trip
Since you’ll be off the beaten path you need to think of all the possibilities of where you’re going, what you’ll be doing and what the weather and terrain will be like. As you think through your trip, here are the realities you should prepare for:
Pack Everything You’ll Need, With Accessibility Based On Priority
Packing the vehicle is almost as important as what you bring. You want to be able to get to the necessary items when you need them, but how do you know what that will be? The first aid kit, your backpack, and your jackets and shoes should be first and foremost accessible at all times. Things that you don’t plan to use like blankets, candles and extra water can be packed away under the things you know you’ll need.
Must Haves To Have in the Car
- First aid kit
- Jumper cables or car battery charger (the latter is best)
- Hand wipes and sanitizer
- Hiking poles
- Warming blanket
- A gallon of water per person
- Snacks, healthy and salty
- Jackets for cool and very cold weather
- Matches and candle
- Kitty litter if you are going into snowy conditions
- Extra shoes/socks/boots
- Extra set of clothes
Things Not to Forget For a Successful Hiking Trip
My first trip out was a huge eye-opener. I researched what I would need on a hiking trip, but you really do need so much more then you think.
- Baseball cap or winter hat
- Comfortable clothes – this includes shoes, pants, shirts, socks, and underwear, trust me, it’s all very important
- Bear spray – I hope you never have to use it, but always have it.
- Bug repellent – you will want A LOT of this.
- Sunscreen – get it and wear it all the time.
- Hydration tablets – these are great for those hikes that are way longer then you thought they were.
- Backpack – obviously you need this, and be sure to get a comfortable one that has a chest strap.
- Hiking bladder – these actually help you stay hydrated by allowing you to drink water as you walk.
Avoid Getting Lost and Prepare for the Terrain
Always let someone know where you are. There are apps that can track your location and in the worst case, you should have friends who can track you on their phone so someone always knows where you are.
And know what to expect from the terrain and weather. Good shoes, and an extra pair shoes, are a must for any hike, but also be sure to have a jacket you can put on as it gets colder or wrap around your waist if it gets hot. A good hat is a plus to protect your head from the sun, and bugs.
You’re Going To Get Your Hands Dirty
Anything can happen on a road trip or hike. Of course, one hopes that it’s a fun and exciting excursion, but you never know when you will have to make some minor car repairs (like I did on my last trip). Hiking usually takes you into the woods, the mountains, or along the water, so there are a few must-haves. For example, always have a first aid kit! I cannot express this enough. It is so important. Here are some other things you’ll want to have in the car.
Remember To Have Fun
I always tell people to be prepared when going on an adventure. Whether it is a short hike or a 10 day, 10 state trip like the one we took, make sure you have what you need. Remember, if you’re prepared you’ll be ready to have fun. Happy Hiking!