Going for a day hike anywhere in Kenya soon?
Whether you are preparing for the Elephant Hills, Mt. Satima, Kilima Mbogo, Ragia Forest, or Mt Longonot, this article is for you.
Proper packing is a skill that takes time to master. Whether you are new to the trails or an avid hiker, packing light is usually the first unwritten rule. There is no way around it if you are looking for a great experience outdoors.
When packing for your day hike, you’ll first want to focus on essentials and then move on to other items that make life easier out in the wild. Water, snacks, and gear are considered essentials. Things like a first aid kit, extra shoes and clothes, raincoats, hiking poles, and camping items are not necessary. However, the latter can move up to the needs category based on the hike’s difficulty level, expected weather conditions, and safety.
With the following hiking essentials, you’ll be prepared for anything your day hike throws at you, be it rain, bogs, heat, and so much more.
Top 10 Essentials for a Day Hike in Kenya
#1 Travel Backpack & Water Bladder
At first glance, all backpacks may look similar, but they have a lot of differences based on activity, features, and size. A lightweight, compact and water-resistant backpack is essential for a single-day hike.
In addition to the daypack, you need a hydration pack or a water bladder. Unlike hydration packs, water bladders are very flexible as they can be carried inside your daypack. A good bladder should be easy to clean and store enough water (about 2L or more).
#2 Hiking Gear
This is always the starting point. Although for a day hike you don’t have to pack extra gear, what you wear is essential. Whether it’s hiking boots, Socks, Clothes, Hats, or other accessories, always take time to choose the right ones for the day.
#3 Travel/Identification Documents
Entry into National Parks and Forests in Kenya requires an Identification. Always remember to carry your Identity card or Passport with you. When expecting rain, ensure that your documents are in a waterproof travel wallet or a reusable ziplock bag.
#4 Re-Usable Water Bottle
Sometimes the water you have in the bladder is not enough. In this case, having a reusable water bottle is a good option.
These bottles are easy to refill where there are springs. They’re also cheaper and more environmentally friendly than buying single-use bottles every time you go on a trip. And as a hiker, saving money and the environment is a win-win.
#5 Rain Coat/Poncho
A poncho is a small and useful hiking accessory to carry and cover yourself in case of unexpected rain. Also called a raincoat, this item is exceptionally essential while on a hike.
#6 Medicines/Pain Relievers
Hiking often comes with unpredictable events. Sometimes that may mean muscle strains or headaches. For this reason, having pain relievers and your prescription on hand is part of Packing 101.
#7 Packing Cubes
If your daypack has a few packing cubes, the better. Cubes are an easy way to keep your bag organized.
#8 Trail Bag
Just like for your documents, carry a waterproof bag to separate your wet boots or dusty clothes from other items in the backpack after the hike.
#9 Survival Items
Emergencies are not rare outdoors. You might get lost or darkness falls while still in the woods. So when planning a hiking trip, pack a few survival items. These can include a small first aid kit, whistle, a Multi-tool, duct tape, matchbox, and a swiss knife.
#10 Other Items
As already mentioned, you may require other items depending on the nature of the hike and expected weather conditions. For example, when hiking Mt Satima you may need leg gaiters. A rain cover is necessary at Elephant Hills and Table Mountain. Also, there are some hikers who swear by the walking pole.
In all the cases, always make sure you pack light. And as the saying goes, “There’s No Such Thing As Bad Weather, Just Bad Gear.”