The leaves are turning, the weather's chill, you think you're gonna climb that hill...

What a great time to enjoy the outdoors! Beautiful fall colors, mild temperatures so you don't end up dehydrated and sweat-soaked, less mosquitoes and biting insects (hopefully!)

But before hitting the trail, you'll want to assure you're prepared for the unexpected.

According to the American Hiking Society, there are ten things every hiker needs.

Starting with footwear: Trail shoes are OK for a short day hike, but not if you will be carrying a heavy pack or taking on difficult terrain. Hiking boots, with better support are a smarter choice for longer hikes and for carrying heavier loads, especially when trekking in more challenging terrain.

Even if you have your mobile device or a GPS unit, a map and compass are critical for backup. Don't forget to carry enough water.

Take emergency food in case you're out longer than you planned - there is always a chance, no matter how slim, of getting lost, and you also may suffer an injury or find the hike goes longer than you expected.

Even if your are expecting mild weather, bring rain gear and some extra (warm) clothing in case the weather changes suddenly. Always remember to dress in layers so you can add or remove as necessary for changing weather and body temperature levels. Always bring a hat.

Sunscreen and sunglasses are essential, remember that above the tree line sun and snow can combine to cause snow blindness and sunburn.

Even on a local trail or day hike, you need a whistle, a flashlight or glow sticks, and waterproof matches or lighter in case of an emergency.

Did you Know?
3 short bursts on a whistle is a signal for help.

Every hiker should always carry an outdoor first-aid kit -- and even better, take a first-aid class. Another critical hiking item is a knife or multi-purpose tool, for cutting strips of cloth into bandages, removing splinters and fixing broken eyeglasses.

What’s Bugging you? First Aid for Bites and Stings

Your day-pack or backpack should be comfortable and be certain your have and emergency blanket or a rain cover to keep your belongings dry.

Outdoor Protection/Preparedness

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