It took me a long time to get the right balance of what to bring on my hikes. I was either bringing way too much or missing essential items. In this article, I will share the products and brands that work best for me when I hike. This post is not sponsored and I genuinely use all these brands. I also try to study the products before I purchase them to make sure they are eco-friendly. I’ve been trying to support more local brands recently, as I think it’s so important to know where and how your product is being made. Personally, I’ll spend a bit more money on a product to make sure it lasts me longer, that it’s local, and that it’s environmentally-friendly.
Here are 10 Essential Items To Bring:
For your hike, it’s necessary to bring a good backpack to hold all your personal items. Pick a backpack that is versatile in size and material for all types of weather, especially rain during this time of year. My top picks would be from HUNTER (Original Mini Top Clip Backpack – Rubberized Leather), or if you are looking for something lighter on the wallet, Fjallraven (Kånken). Both brands make high-quality designed bags that are very functional and will last you well beyond the season. Each has tons of compartments where you can store items. I like the look of a cute smaller one for a day trip but they have bigger sizes if it’s a longer getaway.
(2) Lip Balm
Lip balm protects your lips from getting chapped and also from the sun. I’ve tried a ton of different lip balms, some which keep your lips drier than when you started. That is not the case for the AGAVE Lip Mask by BITE BEAUTY. First, it’s vegan and cruelty-free. Also, all their products are made in Toronto, so you are supporting a local company. Especially for beauty products, always be conscious of the brand you are using and the way the company manufactures its products.
(3) Water Bottle
Always bring water. LOTS of it. You really never know when you’re going to need it but trust me, at one point you are. I usually carry my Swell Water Bottle everywhere I go but opt for the bigger size when I’m going on a hike.
(4) Walking Shoes
When you are going on a hike in Ontario in the fall, you don’t need to be wearing anything too hardcore but you do want something sturdy enough. Personally, I love my waterproof Converse High Tops which are fleece-lined to keep your feet warm. The shoe is a hybrid between a winter boot and a running shoe. It’s up to you what feels comfortable, but you will need shoes that will give you good balance and traction. Olang also carries a wide variety of footwear that are extremely well made and ideal for hiking.
(5) Extra Layers
I’m the type of person that’s extremely hot one minute and freezing the next, so I always make sure to dress in layers. Usually, I wear a light t-shirt and also bring a button-down, a sweater, and a jacket depending on the temperature. My favourite sweater to bring is my Patagonia Fleece Pull-Over because it keeps you a lot warmer than you realize and fits easily into a bag. I also love my sweatshirt from the brand Made For The Lake, which is an amazing company that started in Ontario. Another brand I love for layering is Smartwool, which will keep you cozy on the colder days.
(6) Energy Bars
There are a few energy bars I like to bring to keep me going throughout my walk or until I get to sit down for a proper meal. I prefer to buy LARAbar, which is a Canadian-made brand with minimal ingredients and gluten-free (but still tastes delicious). These will keep you feeling nourished throughout your hike. There are a variety of flavours, like peanut butter, cashew, coconut cream, mint chocolate chip, and more.
(7) Hand Cream
This may just be me, but I just hate having dry skin. Obviously, with the weather we get in Ontario it’s hard to avoid getting cracked and itchy skin. That is why I carry moisturizer and/or hand cream wherever I go. Clearly, not a necessity for everyone but it is for me. One of my favourites to use is Cela Essential Balm, which is a luxury skincare brand that was inspired by Canadian plants and features six Canadian botanical extracts. The cream dries quickly and keeps your skin feeling soft. If this price point is a bit high for you, I also love JR Watkins Coconut Milk & Honey Hand Cream.
(8) Hat (and a pair of gloves)
There is nothing worse than cold hands and ears, which is why it is essential to bring a hat and a pair of gloves. This is probably not necessary in the summer but you never know when it is going to cool down or if you might need protection from the rain. Recently, I bought a pair of KOMBI gloves as they are high-quality and there are so many options to choose from. They also sell hats and other winter accessories.
(9) Reusable Bags
It’s always a good idea to have reusable bags handy in case you drive pass a farmer’s market and want to pick up some goodies. You also never know when you’re going to come across an adorable vintage shop and you might get a little carried away. Or if you happen to find trash during your hike (which I do all the time), you can be a good person and put it in the reusable bag to throw away later. You will feel so good after (or at least I did).
(10) Extra Charger
It is always good to have a portable charger on-hand for emergency purposes. I’ve been using the Anker for years and although it is a tad heavy, it is extremely well made and can charge your phone up to two times if empty for an iPhone. Also, if you’re phone dies and you need a GPS, this may actually save your life.
- During the warmer months, bringing sunscreen is necessary every time you go outside.
- Wet wipes definitely come in handy after a long hike and are good to clean off your hands or shoes if they got muddy along the way.
- It’s always smart to keep band-aids in one of the pockets of your backpack just in case of any accidents.