What’s in your pack? Florida hikers need to plan differently than hikers from other parts of the United States.
Our hiking season is upside down from the rest of the country: October through April are our prime months.
Our need to deal with heat, sun, and insects as well as extremes of wet and dry conditions mean a little thought is in order before you toss your pack in the back of the car.
Here are the essentials you need for a comfortable hike in Florida.
For Day Hikers
- Water (and plenty of it!)
- Map, plus compass or GPS for longer trips
- Rain gear
- First aid kit with bandages, antibiotic cream, and items you need for your personal health and safety
- Insect repellent
- Small flashlight or headlamp
- Optional personal items such as a camera, sketch pad, or field guide
All of the elements needed for a day hike, plus:
- Water filtration or treatment method
- Adequate food for the length of the trip, stored in a bag you can hang at night
- Camp stove and fuel, firestarter (matches or lighter)
- Cook pot and fork or spoon
- Tent, hammock, or bivy
- Sleeping bag and pad
- Headlamp or other light source with spare batteries
- Duct tape for emergency repairs
- Biodegradable soap or alcohol-based hand cleaner
- Toiletry items
- Toilet paper or wipes, with zip-closure bag to pack out used tissue
- Lightweight cord for bear-bagging food
- Spare set of dry clothes, especially socks
- Camp shoes
We explain exactly the gear we personally use on a regular basis in this article on preparing for a Florida Trail hike.