Carl Shane Kistel is a professional hiking tour guide in North Carolina who shares all he’s learned about the outdoors of his native state with hikers and online readers. Helping ensure everyone shows up prepared, he lists five of the most essential items any hiker should bring on their next guided excursion.
Since he was a child, Carl Shane Kistel has spent most his free time outdoors where he takes in all the activities the wilds of North Carolina have to offer. Enjoying ventures like camping, rock climbing, kayaking, and hiking, he’s become an expert on local nature and regularly provides professional guided tours through the native landscape.
“Guided hiking tours allow groups of people to socialize and explore nature safely with an experienced leader,” says Carl Shane Kistel. “Here in North Caroline, hikers can see deserts, mountains, forest trails, rivers and streams, and all the wildlife they could hope for.”
Kistel advises all who sign up for guided hiking tours to bring along a few essential items that will guarantee their best health and overall experience.
“People booking guided tours can call ahead and find out if first aid kits are provided on-site or by tour guides,” says Carl Shane Kistel. “Besides first aid and a backpack, there are a few other items that everyone on a hike should have on hand.”
Food and Water
Not every backpack needs to be stocked with fresh fruit and cheeses, but everyone should carry a few single-item snacks that provide a healthy boost of energy. In addition, every hiker should bring enough water to last them a few days–more water than they would need for the single hike.
The right gear will be determined by the terrain that hikers will travel across. Forest hiking may require a different shoe style than hiking alongside a river; rocky terrains will be trickier than sandy stretches of land. It’s important to invest in quality shoes during your outdoor excursion to prevent injury and ensure that you’re not battling the elements unprepared.
Clothing will usually be determined by the time of the year or whether there’s a storm coming in or not. Hikers need to have warm layers that they can adjust as they hike and build up temperature, and they should have raincoats or snow coats to protect their skin from the elements.
Getting separated from a tour group or getting turned around in nature can lead to detrimental consequences, so it’s always wise to keep some form of navigation on-hand. Carrying a map or compass will be more reliable than a smartphone app. However, some GPS devices are specialized to pick up even the weakest of satellite signals.
Lastly, Kistel advises that every hiker bring some form of sun protection, no matter what season it is.
“The sun penetrates through cloud coverage in all seasons, so people should put on sunscreen beforehand,” says Carl Shane Kistel. “And it can get bright out here, whether the sun is reflecting off bodies of water, sandy hillsides, or snowy landscapes. It’s a good idea to bring a hat and sunglasses as well.”