8 Essentials For Multi-Day Hiking You Didn’t Know You Needed

Hiking is a lot of fun, but it can be stressful if you do it unprepared, especially if you’re going out for a multi-day trip in unpredictable weather. Taking the right kit will help you to stay warm and comfortable, ensure you don’t get lost, and generally make your expedition more fun. Here’s a quick look at eight essentials for your next hiking trip that you might not realize you even need!

1 – Paracord

This versatile cord is invaluable. It’s strong, durable, and water-resistant. It can be worn as a bracelet or attached to a keyring and used as-is for securing things, or be cut to turn into sewing threads, clotheslines, tent ties, fishing line and more. A ‘rope’ of paracord will unravel to a huge line, and the uses for them are endless.

2 – Duct Tape

This waterproof tape tears easily, sticks well, and can be used for tears in your tent, holes in your food bags, as a makeshift band-aid, or to secure things together. If you don’t want to take a whole roll of it, just wrap lots of it around your walking pole. Good brands will retain their ‘stickiness’ when you do this.

3 – Walking Poles

Which leads us on to the walking pole itself. Sometimes called trekking poles, these handy, lightweight poles help you to keep your balance on uneven ground, take some stress off your knees, and also help you to judge the depth of mud and streams. Once you get used to having one, you’ll find they’re invaluable.

4 – Sporks

Sporks are the butt of media jokes but they’re super handy. A humble spork does the job of both a spoon and aa fork, saving you packing space and making meal times that little bit less stressful.

5 – Hammocks

Why waste time carrying a roll-out mattress and folding bed when you can sleep in a hammock? The best thing about hammocks is that they let you rest ‘above ground’, and they can do double duty as a rain or sun cover when you stop to rest during the day. They’re light, versatile and really handy.

6 – Waterproof Down Jackets

A good waterproof down jacket will do double duty as a pillow to rest on, and is also windproof and waterproof, making it great for variable climates. One of the biggest challenges for hikers is staying warm when it’s cold, but avoiding overheating at noon. Things get even more challenging if it rains and a heavy jacket gets soaked through. Choose a jacket that has a waterproof outer and that isn’t too heavy, and you’ll have the best of both worlds in terms of comfort and temperature control.

7 – Hydration Bladders

If you’re still carrying bottled water around, try a hydration bladder instead. These bladders allow for hands-free hydration while on the trail. You can sip as you go, without fear of spilling anything. Attach the pack to your backpack for hassle-free transportation, and carry 1-3 litres of water (depending on the size of pack you choose) on your person at all times.

8 – A Pack Lamp

Headlamps are useful, but you don’t always want to be wearing them. Invest in an inflatable solar lantern and you’ll never be without a light on a night. Strap it to your backpack and let it recharge during the day, then put it out at night to illuminate the area around your camp while you cook, read and rest. It’s a lightweight, space-saving light source that will come in handy when you’re setting up camp and it’s getting dark.

Seven of the Best Hiking Trails in Cape Town

Cape Town is a stunning and varied destination that has a lot to offer, including safaris, museums and hiking opportunities. Since Cape Town is quite small, you can cover a lot of ground on foot, and the hiking trails will let you see a large portion of what the area has to offer. Here’s a quick look at seven of the best hiking trails in Cape Town.

1 – Table Mountain

This is one of the most famous landmarks in Cape Town. There are several different trails up the mountain, covering all difficulty levels, and with several different lengths to choose from you can enjoy a day trip or a much longer stay. The trail that most people take is Platteklip George, which is a short route that covers the centre of the table, and up to the summit. You can then relax on the cable car back down.

2 – Lion’s Head

This is another well-known landmark, located close to Table Mountain. It’s a great day walk and there are two options to follow. Start at Signal Hill Road for an easy track to just below the summit, and then climb to the top using ladders and chains. Alternatively, take the longer, but easier, path to the top. The choice is yours.

3 – Cape Point

Cape Point Nature Reserve is a part of the Table Mountain National Park and offers numerous hiking trails that each take about a day to complete. Visit deserted beaches or explore shipwrecks, enjoy the view from the cliffs and take in the sight of local wildlife. There’s so much to do, and you could spend your whole holiday on the trails.

4 – Kalk Bay Mountains

Kalk Bay is a lovely seaside hamlet, and the mountains offer numerous hiking trails and caves to enjoy, with dense vegetation and stunning forests, this is a hiker’s paradise. The trails range in difficulty from very challenging to more moderate, so there is something for everyone. There are guided tours once a month run by the Cape Peninsula Speleological Society. If you’re not a confident hiker, try the Old Mule Path for a gentle walk and some whale watching.

5 – Jonkershoek Nature Reserve

This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The reserve covers almost 10,000 acres and is home to more than 1,00 different types of plant species. Enjoy amazing nature walks along the four main hiking trails, and explore rivers, forests, and waterfalls. This truly is an incredible reserve.

6 – Platteklip Gorge

This is perhaps one of the most well-known hiking trails in the area, second only to Lion’s Head. It’s a much more challenging walk than Lion’s Head, though, so best for experienced hikers only. There’s not a lot of actual climbing required, but it’s a very challenging walk. If you want to get to the summit of Table Mountain the “hard way” then this walk will surely get you plenty of bragging rights. It takes around three hours on average, although it is possible for the super-fit to jog it faster. There isn’t a lot of shade on the route, so try to do your walk on a cooler day.

7 – The Pipe Track

This is a beautiful trail that was built to service an old water pipeline. It’s an easy route, for the most part, although it becomes challenging in the area just past the Slangolie Ravine. The track takes you to Camps Bay. If you have a guide with you, try taking a detour to Tranquility Cracks to see the labyrinthine tunnels. This walk is suitable for most adults and for older kids too.