I’ve spent a lot of time hiking in the desert. From day hikes in the Grand Canyon to epic excursions for film projects about man’s best friend, the desert has become a wonderful backdrop for adventure. But hiking in this exposed, dry landscape is no joke. To keep your ramblings joyful and disaster-free, I’ve compiled a list of hiking essentials for the next time the desert winds lure you to the trail. List of Hiking Essentials for a Desert Ramble Sunscreen: Portable sun protection devices are vital in the desert, and sunscreen tops my list. My favorite is the all-natural goodness of the Joshua Tree Sun Stick. Wide-Brimmed Hat: Bring a wide-brimmed hat to shield your eyes from the glare of the desert sun. This is especially important if you’re filming or taking pictures along a hike and can’t be troubled to pull your sunglasses on and off to see what you’re shooting. Journal: One of my favorite things about getting off the grid and away from the distractions of technology is just taking the time to slow down to explore my thought processes. Rambles into the wilderness offer moments to reflect without answering any emails, posting to Instagram or chasing a dopamine rush from the latest Facebook news flares. Moleskine makes great, durable options. Headlamp: Having a light attached to your head when the sun goes down is pretty clutch. Seasoned hikers know the importance of carrying some sort of headlamp or flashlight for safety. The Petzl Tikka RXP Headlamp uses reactive lighting technology to alter the brightness based on surroundings and is great for hiking, backpacking, trail running, and alpine climbing. Water Filter: No more fighting over who has to pump water tonight. The Platypus GravityWorks™ Water Filter works alongside gravity to produce potable water. Sunglasses: They may seem a little over the top, but a pair of these Julbo Vermont Classic Sunglasses is like having your own mobile oasis for the eyes to recharge. Eating/Drinking Vessel: Lightweight and good for all kinds of edible and drinkable treats, these vessels double as cups and bowls. I always make sure to toss one in my pack for hikes, camping trips, and backpacking. Rain Jacket: This is the GORE-TEX blog after all, but I’m not just shilling. Rain storms in the desert roll in fast and heavy, and the weather shifts quickly. Even if I plan to spend most of my time soaking up the sun like a lizard in Utah, I rarely venture without a quality shell. The Dynafit Traverse GORE-TEX Jacket is made from waterproof, extremely breathable, and lightweight GORE-TEX Active fabric, and holds strong against any rainstorm the desert may spin up. Hiking Shoes: For desert hiking, you want a shoe that is light but durable, fast drying (for side canyon explorations), and breathable. While I wore the Vasque Inhaler Low GTX® Shoes for a large chunk of our desert ramble with Ace and his dog, you should also consider hiking footwear made with GORE-TEX SURROUND® product technology. With their side ventilation outlets, these are highly breathable all-around, and will keep your feet comfortable in warm weather conditions. Whether you’re headed out for a day hike in Arches National Park, or a 60-day walk through unmapped terrain, make sure you’re prepared. Remember the essential hiking equipment, but don’t be afraid to consider little add-ons that keep you happy and inspired on your grand walk about. See you on the trail. Be sure to check out Forest's feature story and watch the film below! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TIcMHDhOys4
Forest Woodward recounts some of the hiking gear that was absolutely vital to his recent project, filming Ace and the Desert Dog.