Estimated reading time: 6 mins
Modern life is stressful, especially if you are in a corporate set up. There are deadlines, targets and meetings. There are also a whole load of other commitments. Your personal life and family also suffers because you cannot give it the time and attention that you would really like to.
No matter what you do, if you are in a regular 9 to 5 job, you will have some stress build up. And as you start getting more senior in the organization, your stress levels will also increase.
There comes a point, where you either deal with the stress or the stress will deal out some pretty bad health problems.
In my own work life after about 14 years into my career, I started to develop lifestyle related health problems.
My wife also works in a global company, and she too was beginning to suffer. Our biggest concern was that we were not being able to give enough time to our nine year old son.
We take a small but vital decision
I had always been close to nature and wildlife and especially birds. After some discussion with my wife, we decided to start an experiment by taking a break in the wilderness. We decided to take our first family hike into a nature park.
It was the best decision that I have ever taken. That was three years ago, and today we are family of ardent hikers.
Almost every weekend when we are free, we head out into the wilderness, whether the hills or a nature park, we just get into our car with all our camping gear and go hiking and camping.
We come back in a day or two completely refreshed and ready to take on the demands of our daily lives.
Our hiking gear is minimal but perfect
If you are an experienced hiker then you will already know what to take for your hiking and camping trips. However, if you are a typical office goer, who has no clue about hiking but wants to start out, then this guide about hiking gear will be really helpful for you.
Let me start with the most essential item, the hiking backpack. If you are going with your family, then each one of you will have different sized back packs. As the father, I usually carry a 50 liter metal frame backpack. My wife carries a lighter one and my son a smaller day backpack.
The second most important thing is to wear the right shoes. You don’t need to really stress about finding the perfect shoes, just go online and search for a good pair of hiking boots for every member of your family. These hiking shoes are important as without them you can be at risk of injury and can get major walking problems due to shoe bites and blisters.
The next thing is the clothes that you wear. Though you can wear almost anything that is comfortable and tough, wearing clothes appropriate to the weather is extremely important. You need to carry enough warm clothes if you are camping in the wilderness. That is very important, as you have a very real danger of hypothermia in the colder climes, as you will be sleeping on a mat on the ground, which will be cold.
If you are married, I have an excellent pro tip for you. Switch your metal wedding rings for a silicone wedding ring. These silicone wedding rings have been specially made for an active lifestyle and outdoor activities. It is a great way to show your commitment while staying safe and keeping your fingers protected from serious injury. My personal recommendation is Groove Silicone Rings.
The next thing you need to keep in mind is the amount and kind of food you will be carrying with you. Plan this out carefully for each day of your hiking trip. The food should be non-perishable, properly packed, easy to prepare and filled with energy. You will need a lot of energy and stamina during your hiking. Also remember that perishable food goes bad and becomes unsafe to eat pretty fast – in hot weather (90°F or higher) it does not last longer than an hour, and in milder weather at the most two hours.
Water of course is something that you need to plan out extra carefully. Each one of you should carry your own water bottles and then there should be an extra water reservoir that the dad or the toughest member of the group should carry. You will not only need it for drinking, but also for cooking.
If you are going to be camping, you will need a very good camping tent. It should be light and easy to set up (even in the dark). There are many great options available, so you will have no trouble finding the right tent for yourself, online.
With these critical things covered, the other items that you definitely need include, navigation related things like a compass, maps and if possible a hand held GPS device from a company like Garmin.
A good fully equipped first aid kit is also very important. When you are out there in the wilderness, with no doctor or hospital nearby, then every little medical issue has to be tackled right there and then. Make sure you take all your regular medicines, essential first aid things like bandages, disinfectants, antiseptic and antibacterial cream, and also every other medical related item that you think necessary.
Another very important item is a knife or a multi-tool that can help you do any of the innumerable things you might need to, while setting up camp, making a makeshift sling, cutting a cord etc.
The other things that we found very useful over our many hiking trips are – a good torch with extra batteries, matches, lighter, tinder, camping stove, foot care and insect repellent sprays, sunglasses (my favorite choice has to be Ray Ban sunglasses), sunscreen, basic camping utensils, hanging lamp for the tent.
Hike away your work and life stress
Let me tell you that it will not take you more than two or three hiking trips to realize that your stress levels are coming down. For me, I think I could feel the wonderful effects of hiking from the very first trip we took.
As the entire family starts to look forward to the hiking trips, you can slowly start to explore different places and terrains. A hike by a river can also be an incredibly enjoyable experience. We have now slowly expanded our outdoor trips to also include canoeing.
After you have kind of figured out how to efficiently and minimally manage your hiking trips (it will take 2-3 trips), then getting everything ready and heading out will become really easy.
Not only has my family begun to see a difference in me, in my office too, people have felt that my efficiency, productivity and general wellness has markedly improved.
And guess what? My boss asked me a few months back how he could go hiking with his family.
Here’s to your living life to the fullest and beating stress with the most wonderful nature experience ever – hiking.