Hiking is an easy and enjoyable activity almost anyone can do. It’s relatively inexpensive and there are numerous places you can hike. But Florida is known for having unpredictable weather, heat, and lots of bugs. Consider bringing these items on your hike so you’re prepared for anything.
Please note: This is not an exhaustive list by any means and is meant for short recreational day hikes. You should always consider how long you’ll be outdoors, the weather forecast, and any location-specific challenges you’ll encounter when preparing for a hike.
This is one of the most important things you can bring on your hike. Florida is typically hot year round so you’ll get dehydrated quickly on your hike. I like to bring some water on the trail with me and keep some in the car in an insulated bottle so you have something refreshing to drink when you’re done.
This is essential any time you go outside. Even if it’s cloudy or cold your skin can still be damaged by the sun. If it’s a bright sunny day without any shade you can get a sunburn within 30 minutes. Apply sunscreen often, especially if you are in direct sunlight, or you sweat or swim.
Hat and Sunglasses
Protect your eyes and face from the sun. And there is nothing worse than getting sunburnt on the top of your head!
Good Shoes and Socks
You will want to have sturdy athletic shoes for hiking in Florida. Even though the unofficial shoe of Florida may be flip flops, leave those at home when you hike. Good socks are essential too. Hiking socks will offer extra padding and wetness protection, and typically be worn at ankle level or above. Investing in hiking socks and boots may be a good purchase if you plan on hiking often.
Florida is notorious for having lots of bugs. You may know about preventing mosquitoes and gnats, but bug spray can also keep away more harmful bugs such as ticks and chiggers. Be sure to spray around your shoes and ankles to prevent and hitch hikers. Use bug spray any time you plan to hike into the woods or near bodies of water.
Rain Jacket or Poncho
Florida can have unpredictable weather. During summertime it’s common to have afternoon rain showers. Bring a rain jacket so you won’t have to cut your hike short in case of a little rain! However, thunderstorms can be dangerous so be sure there is no lightning in the area. Always check the local weather forecast before embarking on a hike.
First Aid Kit
You should always keep a first aid kit in your car, but when hiking it is especially important to make sure you have one. Keep the essentials well stocked: alcohol wipes, bandages, antibiotic ointment, gauze pads, etc. And add in bug bite ointment!
When going on longer hikes it’s helpful to have a lightweight backpack to hold all your supplies. We love this one because it’s light and foldable, has lots of pockets and places to clip things. And it’s under $20.