10 Hiking Essentials!

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Hiking is one of the best ways to spend time with family, unwind from a long week, or just appreciate the outdoors. Hiking is not only good for your physical health, but it is also beneficial for your mental health! Saratoga PLAN encourages all to get outdoors as much as possible. Hiking can be even more enjoyable when you are prepared. Whether you are just going on a short walk or planning to spend the day at one of Saratoga PLAN’s preserves or trails, here are 10 essentials to bring with you.

  1. Proper hiking attire
    – Long pants, high socks and hiking boots make for a good hike by protecting your skin and helping you safely negotiate all types of terrain. Make sure to always check the weather before you leave the house (you don’t want to be caught in the rain without a rain jacket).
  2. Water
    – Water is essential on any hike. It’s important to stay hydrated!
  1. Bug repellent
    – Bugs biting and swarming can ruin a great hike! Apply bug repellent before the hike and reapply during the day to stay bug free. Always remember to check yourself, your family, and your pets afterwards to make sure you are all tick free too!
  1. Snacks
    – Even if you are just going for a short hike, it’s always a good idea to pack some snacks. Granola bars and trail mix are easy to eat on the trail and will give you energy to enjoy the rest of your hike!
  1. Sun protection
    – Most of our preserves and trails are shaded by beautiful trees, but it is important to have proper sun protection when spending the day outside. Apply sunscreen before your hike and bring sunglasses and a hat.
  1. First-aid kit
    – Saratoga PLAN’s preserves and trails are well maintained and safe for hikers of all ages, but one should always be prepared! We suggest packing a small pouch with a few band aids and some disinfectant (tweezers are also good to bring for those pesky splinters and ticks).
  1. Trail map
    – All of Saratoga PLAN’s preserves have trail maps and the trails are designated with colored markers, but it’s always a good idea to keep an extra copy of the map of the preserve in your pack. You can find maps of each preserve on Saratoga Plan’s website
  1. Letterbox clues
    – Many of Saratoga PLAN’s preserves and trails feature letterboxes. This is a fun activity for hikers of all ages. You can download and print the clues on our website. Make sure to leave us a note and stamp your Saratoga PLAN Preserve Passport once you find the letterbox!
  1. Saratoga PLAN Preserve Passport
    – Pick up your passport from Saratoga PLAN’s office, 112 Spring Street, or download online and print. Collect stamps (or list three species) from five preserves and return your Preserve Passport to Saratoga PLAN’s office for a FREE t-shirt!
  1. A sense of adventure
    – No matter your age, a sense of adventure is always needed. Take in the natural beauty surrounding you on your journey and always be ready for the next adventure!

Saratoga PLAN hopes these hiking essentials help you enjoy your next hike safely, but we ask that you practice the Leave No Trace Principals. We love hearing about your amazing adventures so make sure to tell Saratoga PLAN about the awesome hikes you take on our trails. Be sure to tell us what your hiking essentials are and how you practice the Leave No Trace Principals!

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