Day hike essentials, product reviews part 2

A few more reviews on some day hiking products I own personally and have deemed noteworthy and great.

Gonex daypack

A lightweight back pack with lots of compartments and folds up into an even smaller pouch for those times you want to bring it but don’t have a whole lot of room, say in your carry-on bag on a trip.

Pros

  • Lots of compartments – outside pockets with zippers and two mesh side pockets for water bottles for easy access. The front zip pockets are small enough and nice for things like lip balm, extra camera batteries, your phone etc.
  • Lightweight material – It’s nice and durable enough and makes it easy to fold up into the smaller pouch size.
  • The cost is a good value – I got mine on Amazon for $17.

Cons

  • The zipper gets stuck in pretty much all of the flaps that cover the zipper. You have to have both hands available to get anything in or out of the pack. The good news is that this complaint has been a big one a lot of the reviews on Amazon the company has improved and updated the pack to rectify this problem.

Ahnu Sugarpine Women’s hiking boot 

 I received these boots as a gift from the hubs a few years back. My first quality pair of hiking boots! As far as performance, these boots have never let me down. The only issue I have with my pair specifically is that they need to be a half size bigger. But like I said, they were a gift and when I got them and tried them on, I was so excited I didn’t notice how much they squeeze my toes. Not Ahnu’s fault though!

What I love about them

  • I love the color combinations Ahnu boots come in. 
  • The Vibram sole provides great traction.
  • Waterproof leather features around the bottom half of the boot
  • Lightweight
  • Durable boot with quality laces – I think they’ll last me years and years!
  • Great value for cost – $100 and just over that. Not bad!

Go Pro Hero 7 Black

I know you’ve heard of this little compact amazeballs adventure camera! 

We capitalized on the trade-up program Go Pro offers and sent in one of our older models for this one. We also have a Hero 5 with the Karma Grip accessory but the Hero 7 is equipped Hypersmooth function that magically smoothes out the video without the need of a gimbal. Trust me it’s worth it. Video is pretty much just as smooth as with the Karma Grip. Definitely enough to go with out it for sure!

What it has/features

  • Hypersmooth – Game changer!
  • Fully waterproof without a special case – Nice!
  • Super photo feature – A function that automatically chooses the best settings for a photo. Another game changer!
  • Time Warp mode – Similar to the time lapse mode of previous models. Time warp is a video with Hypersmooth, instead of a series of photos like time lapse. This mode plays back at a faster speed which you can choose from 2X, 5X, 10X, 15X, & 30X, depending on how long your video is.
  • Will shoot 4K video 60 FPS with Hypersmooth. 
  • Voice commands – This feature is and has been great since it was introduced with the Hero 5. Once in a while the camera doesn’t listen to you, so you have to yell at it a little to get it to mind. It’s all good fun though!

Day hike essentials – Product reviews

I decided to write up a few reviews on some handy products I already own and you may want too. These items can make your outdoor adventures a little more enjoyable.

NEOSLING – Water bottle sling

This baby is handy as hell. 

Convenient, durable, and comfortable.

Wear it over your shoulder for a quick drink from your favorite water bottle.

My Contigo 20 OZ bottle fits perfectly. The material is stretchy so you can easily fit larger bottles inside as well. It seems like it helps insulate your beverage if it’s already cold. 

The strap is adjustable, which means you can also purchase this for kids..

It’s comfortable to wear and I have never had a problem with it.

I have had it a couple of years and used it about a dozen times on some pretty vigorous hikes and haven’t seen a sign of wear yet. I received mine as a gift, but you can purchase these in an array of colors from Amazon for about $7 for most colors.

Bisgear backpacking stove and cookware set 

I wanted a small and lightweight but effective burner to heat up water for a French press to make coffee on my hikes. This has proven time and time again a great little stove with a pot perfect sized to fill the French press. 

Everything except the French press, water, and coffee essentials fit in this 6-1/2” H X 4-1/2 ” W package. I bought my set on Amazon for around $30 and it includes the following:

  • Mini stove with igniter & flame adjuster, plus a plastic box to store it in.
  • A medium non-stick pot with fold-out handle – (About 5” wide  X 4” in height)
  • A small non-stick pot with fold-out handle – (about 4-1/2” wide X 2” in height)
  • Fold-up gas canister stand
  • Fold-up stainless steel spoon, fork, and knife with pouch
  • Carabiner and drawstring mesh carry bag
  • Dishcloth and corkscrew bottle opener

To assemble for storage:

Place canister stand (folded up) in bottom of medium put, then gas canister upside down,(bottom of canister is now facing you)

Mini stove goes inside plastic case then on top of gas canister. Now fit the small pot on top upside down so bottom of small pot is facing you. All done!

The medium sized pot is the one used for heating water for the French press if you’re interested in that. The fuel used for this is a Butane/Propane mix. I buy mine at Walmart for around $5 for the 220 G/7.75 Oz size. I have used it for coffee around 10 or so times and have yet to run out of fuel. 

Our old set-up for coffee. Too bulky and too much to pack.

Ozark Trail 26 Quart high-performance cooler 

 This cooler is comparable to the Yeti of the same size and type but much cheaper. You can get these at Walmart for under $100. They keep things cold and ice unmelted for a much longer period of time than regular coolers. Especially if you can pre-chill it by putting ice blocks or frozen jugs/water bottles inside a day or two before your outing. A bonus feature for these coolers is that they’re rugged and keep dust and dirt out. (no more brown dirt water in the bottom of your cooler!) 

Measures L X W X H – 21.75” x 13″ x 15.5” outside dimensions. Fits nicely on our top rack of our RZR 570.

Back pack essentials for a hike

Are you planning on going on a hike that should last anywhere from 3 to 5 hours?
I gathered a list below for some essentials I choose to bring along in my back pack.


  • Water – Definitely a must have anywhere you go!
  • Sunblock – I usually pack the spray kind for re-applies. It just makes it easier!
  • Phone and GoPro camera – Gotta take pictures and video!
  • Snacks – My go to snacks are usually an apple or orange, trail mix or just nuts and a food bar.
  • Selfie stick/tripod for phone- I don’t always use it but ya never know!
  • Tissue – for runny noses (especially in the cold) and for bathroom breaks – I have a SheWee but I haven’t dared use it yet!
  • Empty baggie or sack for trash – Pack it in and pack it out!
  • Lip balm – lips get dry.
  • Extra Buff – If I’m not already wearing one.
  • GPS – especially if I plan on geocaching on the hike.
  • Extra jacket – especially if it’s cooler weather
Additional items to pack for winter hikes

If I’m going on a hike in the winter, I take my boot spikes or crampons and some gloves and maybe a warm scarf.

Hiking Tips

Need a little guidance on hiking? Read on for some great tips.

Everyone has their own definition of hiking. Every site or book that informs you of hikes available for whatever location your researching has a difficulty level. Which is great for a reference but I have learned that for the most part, these levels of difficulty are to be taken lightly. The more you research and take note of these and then actually go out and do them, the more you’ll be able to judge and re-calculate to your idea of a hard, moderate, and easy hike listed on your searches. 

It would be tough to rate something like that because it all depends on physical fitness really. Someone who is fit will be able to complete a “hard” hike much more easily than someone who is more used to a flat walk on pavement and isn’t really all that fit. That’s a no-brainer!

They probably will feel like they’re going to die. Sometimes you get one labeled with an “easy” and it ends up being more of a moderate in your book. Once in a while you get a moderate or hard that really should’ve been knocked down a level. 

Regardless of difficulty, these are really just about being outdoors, in the wilderness, being one with nature and all that. I’m going to go through some tips on hiking, tips to make it easier on yourself, and some common knowledge type stuff that may need reminding of.

  1. Research – Like I said previously, do a little research so you know what you’re getting yourself into. It may require certain gear to complete or to make it safer. It’s another reason I like to research especially If I’m traveling a long way from home. You may read that there’s little shade. So maybe protecting yourself from the sun might need a little more, like a big floppy hat.
  2. Gear up! – Depending on how serious you are about hiking and the types of hiking you like to do, you’ll need the right gear. Good hiking shoes are a must no matter what. They need to be comfy, yet supportive and durable. Sometimes I wish you could take the shoes out for a hike before you buy to really be able to tell if you like them or not. A good lightweight backpack is also another item you may need depending on how long you’ll be on the hike. If you can get one with a section for cold items and water bottle pockets on the outside, I’d call it an all around good one. Some people like using hiking poles to help them up rough terrain. That’s great for when you need them, but think about what you’ll do with them when you don’t. Especially if you’re not taking a backpack. Just sayin!
  3. Dress appropriately – This is more of a supplement to gearing up but I feel it’s important. Of course you should dress according to the weather your hike is at but I believe you really can’t go wrong if you dress in layers. Like a tank top, light loose shirt, jacket or hoodie depending on how cold it is. As far as pants go, light breathable pants in the warmer months and maybe some thicker or possibly denim when it’s colder. Thermal underclothes are smart when it’s really cold, and underwear are a big deal too. I don’t know how many times I’ve been on a hike and my underwear were riding up in all the wrong places! Making me stop to adjust way too often. Get some good socks and good hiking shoes and a couple comfortable hats.
  4. What to pack or take with you – Decide how long you’ll be gone. How long you’ll be hiking and whether or not to take a meal and snacks. This is entirely up to you, but you should always take plenty of water with you and also on your hike and some to spare. Take your phone and your camera, or just your phone if that’s what you use for photos. Take a GPS device if you have one, especially if you’re planning on finding a geocache on your hike. You’ll need sunblock for re-applying and maybe some hand wipes for cleaning your hands especially if your planning on eating.
  5. Be aware of your surroundings – Maybe in your research before hand you find out about animals, plants and things native to the area to avoid or look out for that might be a danger to you or for you to know about so you don’t disturb the environment. Looking out for rattlesnakes, scorpions, mountain lions, bears, badgers, skunks and not stepping on cryptobiotic crusts, are some examples of things in Utah we need to usually, but not always keep in mind when hiking. Not to mention keeping yourself out of wasp nests and the like, especially if you’re allergic. There are also some plants to look out for like poison ivy and stinging nettle, but just a quick search of harmful plants in the area to be hiked should provide you with more than enough info on what to look out for. Additionally, I know you want to look around at the gorgeous nature around you, but look where you’re walking. You don’t want to put your foot into a badger or prairie dog hole and hurt yourself do you? I once peed on a ground wasp nest and luckily didn’t even realize it until I was finished!

Always remember to respect your environment and never leave anything behind.

Take all of your trash with you, don’t disturb the animals, and never vandalize anything.

These things are harmful to nature and ruin the experience for the rest of us.

Just be careful, be mindful, and remember on every hike you take, enjoy it completely!

After all, that’s what it’s really about right?