Rena Margules Talks About Her Top Recommendations for Day Hiking

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Rena Margules Rena Margules

Rena Margules loves day hiking. Nearly every other weekend you’ll find her on one of the many trails near her home or in the mountains. “When I go day hiking, I’m ready for adventure, but I always plan for emergencies,” she says. With approximately 200 days of hiking trips under her belt, she says about 25% of her backpack contains items for protection or survival. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to pull out an item or two for one of my camping buddies or myself,” she adds. With day hiking becoming more popular every year, here are some tips Rena M. Margules says to help make your next hiking adventure as enjoyable as ever.

“There are many camping and hiking websites I’ve found,” she begins, “with good suggestions of things you’ll need for a great time hiking.” Rena Margules recommends you put together your own list, especially if day hiking is something you’ll going to be doing more than once. She says to edit it as you learn about other things you’ll want or need on the trip. Some items that you’ll absolutely want to include are things like water, extra food and healthy snacks, a map and a compass, matches and a lighter, first aid items like bandages and antiseptic wipes, hand sanitizer, wet wipes or baby wipes, sunscreen, toilet paper, insect repellant, flashlights with extra batteries, a whistle, pepper spray, can opener, cash, and your ID. “Binoculars aren’t a necessity,” she adds, “but it’s great to have if you’re going on a scenic hike.”

Rena Margules recommends always taking extra water, more than you think you’ll need. One easy way to do this is with a hydration backpack*. This is a special backpack that has a water reservoir or “bladder” built right into the backpack. It comes with a small hose with a cap that allows you to take a sip of water hands-free. She also recommends wearing appropriate clothing depending on the season, which may include hiking boots, extra socks, rain gear, and layers of clothing that could be removed or added as needed. She explains preparing from home ahead of time is easier than preparing last minute and will keep you from forgetting something important.

Another thing Rena Margules always includes is an emergency thermal blanket*. “This is a survival essential that comes in a compressed, lightweight package,” she explains, and it’s about the size and weight of a pack of microwave popcorn. “If you get lost overnight or even caught in a storm, these little blankets are literally life-saving since they hold your body heat in due to their thermal properties.”

Rena M. Margules says her least used but probably most important item is her LifeStraw Personal Water Filter*. This tiny device can filter up to 1000 liters of contaminated water and does not have any batteries or moving parts. “I haven’t had to use it yet,” she adds, “but if I ever got lost or ran out of water, this little thing could save my life.”

When considering safety, one thing you’ll absolutely want to do before you leave is to research the trail. Rena Margules says to always take some time to learn about the trail you’re going on. She says countless people get surprised by unusual or difficult trails and are forced to turn back before they’re ready. If you can, print out a copy of the trail map so you can follow it along as you go. In addition, Rena Margules says to tell someone where you’re going ahead of time, just in case. She points out that professional hikers recommend you print out 2 itineraries, leaving one with a friend and the other in your car.

“Being prepared,” Rena M. Margules says, “will lessen your chances that you’ll become another statistic and will ensure you’ll have the best time on your hiking adventure.”

hydration backpack* –
emergency thermal blanket* –
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter* –