Summer is the perfect time to get the family together and head out for some fun on the backcountry trails! To make sure every trip you take is a safe, healthy, and successful one, before you go backpacking this summer, remember to put the following essentials into your pack.

1. Insect Repellent

 Backpacking bug spray or lotion is vital to ensuring your journey remains pleasant and comfortable and that you don’t come back with irritating bites or, worse, an infection from insect-borne disease. Proven repellent offers an all-natural travel size bug spray and lotion that’s a health-conscious, picaridin-based insect deterrent. Plus, it comes in a convenient backpacking size!  

2. Navigation Tools

 Even if you know where you’re going and plan to stick to the trails, you can’t be too careful when out in the wilderness. Pro-tip: Google maps (offered on both Android and Apple devices) allows you to download map sections so they can be used offline when out of service! Additionally, we love AllTrails for its wealth of trail maps that you can record your progress on during your trip. 

3. Shelter

 Whether you’re taking a day hike or planning to spend the night, pack some shelter to protect you should you need to take more than a few moments’ rest or, simply, get out of the elements. Just a light emergency bivy can keep you safe until you can resume your hike, though if you’re planning on your backpacking expedition lasting longer than a day, carrying a suitable tent is wise. 

4. Fire-making Tools

 Whether matches, an outdoor lighter, flint, or fire sticks, make sure you have some way to start a fire if you need to stay warm or prepare yourself sustenance. Before you head into the wilderness, make sure you check local park services or fire departments to ensure there are no restrictions or wildfire ordinances in place.

5. Knife

You’d be surprised how often you’ll use a simple pocket or camping knife in the backcountry! From carving out the perfect hot-dog roasting stick to chopping up small branches for kindling, a simple but sharp blade provides both protection and convenience on the trail.

6. First Aid Kit

 Always pack a fully stocked portable first aid kit, including antiseptic and sufficient bandages. Other helpful items to include in a first-aid kit include pain reliever, water purification tablets, and small gauze pads.

7. Sun Protection

 The last thing you want after an invigorating hike is to have to deal with sunburn. Carry adequate sun protection to keep your skin safe from solar exposure, including sunblock, sunglasses, and, possibly, a hat, as well as long-sleeved, sun-protective clothing. 

8. Headlamp (and spare batteries)

We can’t stress this one enough! Protect yourself from unseen hazards during the day and night by carrying a headlamp to wear when visibility is low. Especially when hiking in the dark, it becomes increasingly difficult to follow trails and many accidents in the wilderness occur because hikers stray off-trail.

9. Insulation

 No matter the weather, prepare for surprises. Bring a jacket or sweatshirt you can put on if it gets chilly or your hike wears later into the evening than you’d anticipated. Consider an outer shell to block out wind and a fleece liner to maintain warmth. For extra protection, consider packing rain protection as well, including a rain jacket and collapsible umbrella. 

10. Spare Food and Water

 Pack plenty of clean, filtered water to keep you properly hydrated throughout your hike. Also, bring sufficient nourishing, light snacks you can easily dig into for some extra energy whenever you need it, such as trail mix, granola bars, and fresh fruit.

Whether deciding to head into the wilderness for a night or a week, it’s bound to be an adventure! For more information or to purchase our top insect repellent, visit our store here.