Packing and doing a 4-hour hike in South Africa’s Golden Gate mountains

My 4-hour solo hike conditions were hot and sunny but with the possibility of a thunderstorm.

Always assess your risks, conditions, any trail requirements, and any legal requirements.  Also factor in the number of people in your party, the ages and abilities of the hikers, and think through how you believe things could go haywire.  Here are some examples:

Worried about blisters?  Relook at the footwear choices.  Better socks?  More frequent use of the footwear?

Worried about first aid issues like cuts and scrapes?  Have a robust first aid kit.  Get first aid training.

Worried members getting lost?  Think about maps, compasses, GPS, whistles, or walkie talkies, headlamps, paper with phone contact numbers for each person, and learn/practice how to use them.  Talk through and identify the solutions ahead of time about what to do in various scenarios.

Create a packing list and improve it over time through your experiences.

If you hike frequently, dedicate a bag and keep a dedicated set of gear items so you have them and don’t need to go searching each time.  You are more likely have your important items for your hikes if they’re usually together.

Identify your risks and find the solutions, and if the risk is just too high for whatever reason, find a safer alternative or different activity for that day.

Here was the packing list:

What did I wear?

1. Saucony Peregrine trail running shoes (great shoes)
2. Quick dry t-shirt, shorts and socks
3. Columbia full brim hat
4. Sun glasses

What did I pack for the conditions?

1. My Salomon XA20 trail running pack
2. Trail map with emergency phone numbers
3. Hiking permit
4. SPF 50 sun cream
5. 3 litres of water
6. Snack of two sandwiches and two apples
7. My hiking First aid kit
8. Compass
9. Lightweight rain jacket
10. Wind vest
11. Warm quick dry long-sleeve shirt
12. Foil mylar emergency blanket
13. Headlamp
14. Whistle
15. Cellphone
16. Compact battery pack for about 2 recharges
17. Waterproof phone case
18. Some plastic bags
19. Swiss Army knife

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