Hiking is one of my favourite outdoor things to do. I love spending time outdoors and exploring nature. It’s a great way to stay fit, escape the city, and refresh your mind. It’s also so exciting because you never know what you’ll discover while you’re hiking. Seeing wildlife and nature up close is such an amazing experience. While you’re hiking the fresh air recharges the lungs, and spending time in nature lets you step back and enjoy the little things and unplug from our world of cell phones and computers.
This weekend we decided to do a casual day hike at Scarborough Bluffs. It’s a great place to come to when you are looking for a quiet secluded area along the waterfront that’s not too far away from the downtown Toronto. The Scarborough Bluffs stretch for about 14km along the Lake Ontario shore, with a nice walking trail below the bluffs that lead through the park as well as some of the naturalized areas in between the cliffs and the park.
Day hikes are something that we commonly do and there are a few must-have items that you should carry in your pack. Read on for some of my top day hiking essentials to keep you happy & safe on your outdoor adventure!
Day Hiking Essentials Checklist
A decent backpack is a must-have when you’re day hiking. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just something lightweight and able to carry drinks, food, supplies, and all your other odds and ends.
Water should be the first thing that you should put in your pack. When you’re out there hiking and sweating, you can easily become dehydration, so drink your water liberally too. Make sure you’ve hydrated well before you start your hike as well so you don’t drink all your water in the first half an hour of hiking.
If you’re going to be hiking for a few hours, snacks are a must! Pack things like nuts, granola or energy bars, sandwiches, and whatever else that will give you energy and that’s easy to carry. Take a plastic bag with you so you can take away your trash, and make sure to pack a little more than you need just in case you get lost or your hike takes longer than expected.
For easier trails that are well laid out, you can generally get away with wearing trainers/runners. However, I do recommend wearing hiking boots if you can. They’ll help to protect your ankles if you’re on rocky trails or out in the backcountry, plus they’ll provide a lot more grip if it’s raining or snowy. I’m so glad that I had my Merrell hiking boots on this adventure, not all of the trail was very challenging, but when it came to rocky and steep areas and my footing remained sure.
The weather can change incredibly quickly so it’s important that you’re prepared. A storm can roll in instantly and it’s easy to feel a chill once you stop walking. Wear thin but breathable layers such as sports tops, which are designed to keep you cool and not retain sweat. Carry a waterproof jacket, spare socks, a spare t-shirt. I’ve been on hikes where it’s been 20 degrees at the trailhead, but snowy and cold at the top of the mountain. It’s better to be prepared, just in case.
When you’re hiking in spring and summer time, it’s easy to get burnt especially when you’re out in the open. Carry some sunscreen with you in your pack and a pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun.
It doesn’t hurt to carry a pack of tissues with you, especially if you’re hiking in the backcountry. Many trails will have a toilet/pit stop at the trailhead, but if you’re in the middle of nowhere and nature calls, it’s nice to be prepared!
I don’t know about you, but I love taking plenty of photos when we hike. Remember to pack your camera and phone, and GoPros are always great for capturing videos and wide-angle shots of the view. If your smartphone battery doesn’t last long, it’s a good idea to pack a battery pack & cable as well so you have some extra juice in case of an emergency.
While hiking is a lot of fun, you also need to think about worst case scenarios. Carry a torch/flashlight with you just in case you get caught out after dark. Although your phone will probably have a light, torches are much more reliable and you can use it to signal help if ever you need to.
Even though trails are generally well marked out, it’s worthwhile carrying a map with you just in case so you have a better idea of your bearings and direction. I’ll usually screenshot trail details beforehand, but a map is much more reliable and will save you if you ever get lost! If you’re going deep into the backcountry, a compass and GPS will be incredibly useful as you’ll likely lose phone signal.
11. First aid kit
Pack a mini first aid kit with a few bandages, alcohol wipes, athletic wrap, a couple Benadryl and Advil/Tylenol. You probably won’t need it, but you never know what might happen and it’s good to be prepared.
12. A cute hiking buddy
Hiking is more fun when you have company! My dog loves hiking and always encourages me when things get tough. See how she taunts me below as I struggle to climb this steep rocky incline.
Hiking Scarborough Bluffs
Bluffers Park is so near to the city, but once you drive down the hill you feel like you are in another world. This escarpment located at the east end of Toronto’s lake Ontario waterfront is worth a visit any time of the year, the park is great for walks, hikes, picnics, boating and playing on the beach.
It’s really quite a hidden treasure here in Toronto. The bluffs are a natural wonder formed primarily by erosion of the packed clay soil. At their highest at Cliffside, the bluffs rise 65m above the water. It’s actually quite impressive visually and there is a nice walking trail below the bluffs that lead through the park and the cliffs.
My favourite Merrell hiking boot features:
Having the right footwear when hiking is so important. Most of my life I’ve hiked in runners and they’re always done decently on trails. But there have been times where I’ve lost my footing on rocky areas, or slipped on wet terrain. This is when having the right footwear is so important. On this hike, I had the chance to try out the Merrell Siren Sport Q2 boots and I was so impressed with the difference they made. Here are a few of my favourite features:
Comfort and Fit
I found that Merrell hiking boots were comfortable right out of the box. They fit well to my feet and provided support for my arches all while being super light-weight and comfortable.
Traction and Stability
The traction was amazing on my Merrell Boots. I was hiking off the path and climbing up steep rock inclines with no issue at all. The soles had great traction and gripped to the ground when I needed it most.
I had a couple encounters with crossing streams and marshy areas while on my hike. My waterproof Merrell boots kept my feet perfectly dry while being breathable.
I had such a great time getting out of the city and getting in in touch with nature again during this day hike at Scarborough Bluffs. Breathing the fresh air and being surrounded by the beauty of nature is truly a wonderful thing. Hope you take some time this week to enjoy the outdoors and and get outside!
For a chance to win your own pair of hiking boots,
Merrell is hosting a ‘Take A Hike’ contest!
On Instagram, take a photo of your latest outdoor adventure and tag your photo with #MerrellCanada and #TakeAHike to win a pair of MOAB 2 or Siren Sport Q2 shoes which for daily giveaways. Also enter online for their chance to win a weekly ‘Take A Hike’ price pack at the following link.
Big thanks to my friends at Merrell Canada for
sponsoring my #TAKEAHIKE adventure with their boots!