5 Surprisingly useful items for hiking in 2024

Weight is a key factor in hiking, for sure. Although, there are situations requiring tools, equipment, material. It is a great practice to use multifunctional items to reduce weight. Here is a list of 5 evergreens I never leave without for a hike and a few examples how to use them.

1. Waterproof socks

In order to reduce some discomfort and weight of water-resistant shoes, get waterproof socks. They are a fantastic piece of gear for river crossing, morning part of the trek in wet grass and many more cases, such as water and wind protection in biking boots (motorbike, bicycle, winter hiking…). The downside is breathability and moisture held inside. Make sure you are using the socks only for limited time and give your feet a chance to breath and dry out.

2. Walkie Talkie

The 5 Best Walkie Talkies of 2023 | Tested by GearLab

Experience from 2023 underlines the great use of the walkie talkies even nowadays. Yes, you can just take a phone and call your frineds. On the other hand, you may not be able to due to poor signal coverage (just like in our case in Switzerland). Also, if you have a simple short question or a joke, you usually don’t call. And that is a missed opportunity.

3. Specialized maps

Základní • Mapy.cz

Recently, I included imporatnce of winter maps amog other tools and knowledge of every visitor of winter mountains. When choosing, consider battery life of your phone and GPS imperfections (use app mapy.cz for fantastic summer/winter hiking maps). When working with paper maps, choose properly the area, usually 1:25 000 is quite detailed map for hiking and 1:500 000 is a good map for a road trip.

4. Waterproof Bag

The 7 Best Dry Bags of 2023 | Tested by GearLab

For some time now, I organize my backpack into individual waterproof bags. It all started with my dawn sleeping bag which I need to compress and keep away from moisture. And the rest followed quickly after I got soaking wet in a rain. Back cover is useful within limits, take a bag for any thing and everything you need to keep dry (documents, one set of clothes and underwear, phone, camera etc.).

Tip: Use garbage bags in emmergency situations. Well, before you head out from the city, do not try to fill the bags with your clothes in the heavy rain, that is a little too late…

5. Shovel

How to Choose Avalanche Shovels | REI Expert Advice

Unfortunately, here I can’t recommend an universal tool. It is quite the opposite. As your hikes get longer, more thrilling, more remote, you will need better tools. If you hike or do ski touring in winter, you will much appreciate an avalanche shovel, which is light, big and life saving.

Rothco Compact Multi Tool Shovel - Black

For the summer hiking, you may have a look on a shovel which can cut branches and holes (for both a tent and a toilet).

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