I don't know about you, but the final days of summer days make me think of one thing: hiking.
Don't get wrong, I'm all about squeezing in a few more beach days and soaking up the last of the warm summer nights. But by the end of August and beginning of September, hot weather gets a little old (as does the smell of hot garbage, if you're a New York City resident like me).
These days, I'm taking every opportunity to flee the city to climb a small mountain and swim in a nearby river. I'm also lost in the fantasy of the perfectly chilly days ahead of me, when I'll be able to get lost in my thoughts as I walk on trails surrounded by red, yellow, and orange. And the only sound will be the satisfying crunch of leaves beneath my hiking boots.
Ah, the joys of it all.
But whether you hike every weekend or just once in a while — hey, even if you've never hiked before — figuring out exactly what to pack before a day hike can be tough.
Conditions vary depending on the weather and difficulty and length of the hike, obviously, but here are five things you should bring on every single hike no matter what: