BY: Tim Lundy - @capetownhiking
Preparation for any multi-day trail is very different from just a simple day walk. There needs to be a lot more thought and calculation about the amount of gear that is required to keep you as safe as possible over a longer period of time. It's best to have a checklist of items you will need to take with you so that you don't forget something vital for your safety when you in the middle of the mountains with help a long way away.
Every hiker should have a first aid kit and at least one person in the group should have basic level one first aid knowledge. If we start thinking about safety from the feet up: it’s important to have a good pair of comfortable hiking socks, Hi-Tec have a good range for men and women, and it makes a world of difference for the comfort of your feet and the avoidance of blisters. Equally as important is a good pair of hiking boots or shoes like the Hi-Tec Altitude range.
A rain jacket is essential and should always be packed regardless of whether or not its forecast for rain – weather forecasts are frequently misjudged! I also like to pack a pair of gloves and a beanie as well as rain protection for my backpack – there’s nothing as miserable as getting to that much desired rest stop with a bag of wet clothes.
I put all my gear inside a water tight back that goes neatly inside your backpack. This way you don't have to empty out your whole back just to get one item.
Safety matches and fire starters are always great in an emergency, so pack these inside their own watertight container. And then to ensure warmth, include a good quality puffer jacket such as the Novara insulated jacket for men or the Lady Neva insulated jacket for women.
Other safety items are a cell phone to call for help, if the area has network cover of course. Other very helpful items in an emergency include your power bank, compass, paper and pen, head lamps and a map.
If you had to ask me what the one most essential item is, however, I would say it’s your two litres of water. You may not need to drink it all over the course of the hike but if there is a real emergency this is the one item without which survival would be difficult.