Night hiking is more exciting compared to the usual trail hikes because there is a real challenge to survive. Also, at some point, you will have to place the tent and sleep, and that can be pretty hard to do during winter. On the other hand, those who’ve already been on night hikes, say that there is nothing better to accomplish your goal in specific conditions. As you know, some nights can be really dark, without a sign of moonlight. That means you will have to take proper lighting together with you, so you won’t miss the trail and get in some dangerous situation.
Most of the beginner hikers are packing up a lot of things that may seem necessary, but they are not. We will try to make a list of the essentials that are important to be with you, no matter if you do that for the first time, or you are already an experienced hiker who is not afraid of the night darkness in the mountains. So, here are a few things that should be packed in your backpack:
1. A portable tent
Some trails are more difficult than the others, and you may need to sleep a night or two, so you can rest, and get back your energy for the next day. So, having a portable tent, that will protect you from rain and wind is a must in cases like this.
2. Sleeping bag
You can’t take blankets and covers with you, but surely you can pack up a nice and durable sleeping bag, that is one of the essentials for everyone who wants to conquer the mountains and trails.
3. Specialized clothes
You can’t exactly predict how will the weather change through the night, so it’s always good to have special clothes for the mountains, including a raincoat, or windproof coat. Also, there are lightweight jackets that can protect you from the cold, and they can easily be packed and folded, and put in the backpack, without taking a lot of space. But, never miss taking enough clothes that will keep your body warm. The layers should be thin, but made of durable materials, with a layer of insulation.
4. Comfortable hiking boots
Always take a half of size, or one whole size bigger than the footwear you usually wear. The reason behind this advice is that you have to wear comfortable and waterproof socks too. Also, the hiking boots are often pretty heavy, and if they hurt your legs, you won’t be able to complete the trail as you want. Also, take a pair or two extra socks, because you will need to change them every now and then, depending on the length of the trail.
5. Some additional equipment
You probably like the idea to take your camera, for the breathtaking views nature can provide. But, even though nothing can compare to the professional equipment, in this case, we will recommend using your phone to take pictures. Also, always have one or two mobile chargers for your phone. Use your smartwatch as navigation, or take a navigation device that works offline, because not every part of the mountain is covered with the cellphone network. For better night vision you can take monoculars or binoculars, and read more if you are interested to get to know this topic better. Use waterproof cases for your equipment.
6. Water cleansers and filtration systems
There are portable systems that can help you filtrate the water you will find in nature. Then, you add the cleaning additives to be sure nothing bad will get into your body by drinking it. You can find them in specialized mountain equipment stores.
Surely there are fruits in the woods, but you will need more nutritious ingredients that will give you enough energy to accomplish your goals. For example, you can take dried fruits, dried meat, nuts, granola bars, and some snacks that don’t take a lot of space in your backpack but have high nutritional value. You can bring some small cooking utensils, just in case.
8. Necessary hygiene items
Don’t forget your insect repellent, bug spray, sunscreen cream, toilet paper, enough wet wipes, a hat that will protect your face skin from the sun, toilet bags and biodegradable paper, an emergency kit in a case of injury, knife, duct tape, a reserve pack of water purification additives, lighter, and first aid bag.
Things you don’t need when on night hiking
We all want to make long lists of our necessities, but when hiking, we must take care to bring only the essentials, because the backpack will be too heavy to put on the back, without causing injury. So, double-check your list and take only those cooking ware pieces that are really necessary. You don’t want to bring the whole kitchen with you. In the mountains, you don’t need your jewelry, expensive watches, laptops, tablets, and iPads, or even your makeup products. As we said, you only need a quality SPF lotion for the face and the body. Also, no matter if you are a bookworm, you literally don’t need your books there. If you are sure you want it, you can download some e-books on your smartphone, but anyway, we will recommend saving your battery for more important things.
We know that you are probably excited about your first night hiking, but we would recommend you not to make long lists of things you must take with you. You have to take care of the hygiene aspect the most, and the wipes and other products that will help you take a bath in nature are better than packing a lot of canned food and junk ingredients that won’t give you enough energy.
You must be smart before you leave your home, and never forget that the people are usually packing a lot more things they really need for an adventure like this. In the end, we absolutely hope you will have a great time in the mountains – so, take care!