We talk a lot about hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains and most of us, like me, enjoy doing the short hikes. Even when you are doing a short 3 or 4-mile hike you should be prepared. You never know when the weather may change suddenly or you may trip and scrape a knee.
Here are a couple things to consider packing when you are going for a short hike:
- Hiking backpack – A simple hiking backpack is a great way to carry all the things you will need. You don’t need a really expensive one, but the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle one in the back of your closet your 7-year-old used to use may not be too comfortable to carry because it is not weighted properly.
- Cell phone – The phone may not work in the mountains but you never know and they are great for picture taking. Make sure it is fully charged.
- Sunscreen&insect repellant – Things you always should have with you when you are outdoors.
- Weather-appropriate clothing – You never know when the weather may change suddenly. A simple windbreaker would be awesome if it starts raining.
- Hiking boots or shoes – Do not go in flip flops or sandals – that’s a really bad idea and we see it all the time.
- Plenty of food – Snacks are welcome when you take a break or reach a waterfall. Think granola bars, trail mix, nuts, dried fruit etc.
- Plenty of water – PLENTY OF WATER!!! Enough said…
- Navigation tools such as a map and compass – many Smoky mountain trails are well marked and this usually won’t be necessary, but the kids love them and it is a good learning tool.
- First-aid kit – A small one is all you need for scraps, insect bites and cuts
- Knife or multi-tool – Again, probably not needed, but it doesn’t take up much space and you never know…