This Father’s Day, ditch the stress of gift-giving and give dad what he really wants: quality time together. Swap out your view from the couch for one from a hilltop, and trade the sounds of the hustle and bustle for the quiet of the great outdoors. Grab your gear and hit the trails with these tips and essentials for a day of hiking and adventure.
Before you embark on weekend exploration, check out our complete list of hiking essentials you’ll want to have in your backpack here.
1. Map it out. Whether seasoned explorers or headed out for your first hike, spend some time researching trails that are fit for you. This way, you will know what to expect, how long it might take and have time to pack the essentials. Don’t forget to bring your map, or a portable charger if you plan to use maps on your mobile device.
2. Dress for the day. On the trails, you’re not the only one looking for adventure. Pests are, too, so layer up! Wear tall socks, light-colored long pants and long-sleeved shirts to help prevent ticks and mosquitoes. Tuck your pants into your socks as an extra precaution.
Pro tip: Buy EPA-approved permethrin-treated clothing or treat your clothes at home, according to label directions (it’s odorless after drying and won’t stain!). Permethrin is an EPA-approved and CDC-recommended repellent proven to fend off ticks and other pests that try to hitch a ride on your clothing.
3. Bask in the sun without burning. Apply sunscreen before you leave the house and again throughout the day, reading label directions to determine how often you should reapply. Lip balm with SPF will also keep your lips moisturized and sunburn-free, and grab a hat and pair of sunglasses for more shade and protection.
4. Fend off pests. Once your sunscreen is on, apply EPA-approved bug repellent according to label directions to your exposed skin to help keep your skin bite-free. Look for bug repellents with DEET, Picaradin, IR3535 or other EPA-registered active ingredient endorsed by the CDC for safety and protection. Stay in the middle of the path in wooded areas to help avoid brush where ticks love to catch their next ride on you. Don’t forget to check for ticks when you get home after your day of exploration.
5. Stay Hydrated. Drink plenty of water before you leave the house, and especially while you’re out in the elements. It’s important to drink water even before you feel thirsty and keep an extra bottle on hand. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day for adults, and more when you’re active and exercising!