MMO’s Hiking Essentials

South Africa has some of the best hiking trails in the world, and people travel from all around the globe to explore our hills, valleys, forests, coastlines and, of course, majestic mountains. So, we hope you’re ready to get out there and soak up all the adventure our beautiful country has to offer!

Before you head out, however, you’ve got to make sure you’re kitted out with everything you need to enjoy a smooth and safe journey – here are a few items we recommend bringing along for the best possible experience… 


The amount and type of gear needed will obviously vary based on a number of factors including weather, hike duration & intensity. However, here are a few things that should always be on your list…

Of course, you’ll need something to carry food, water and whatever other supplies you want in the great outdoors. 

There is a huge selection of pack types and sizes to choose from, ranging from the ultra-lightweight intended for trail runs and short adventures, all the way to mega packs that can be used for multi-day treks. Make sure to find a pack that is sized correctly, fits you comfortably and supports healthy posture.

Trekking poles offer a number of valuable benefits that make them a must-have for any frequent hiker. Besides providing extra stability and balance, which is especially useful for river crossings and technical terrain, poles also help to reduce stress on your joints and get you into a good rhythm.

Heading out into the big, wide world can be dangerous, and it’s very important to be prepared in case you find yourself feeling ill or injured. Pick a first aid kit that covers all the essentials, including supplies for disinfecting and dressing wounds, rehydration/electrolyte mixes and medication.

We recommend taking a headlamp with you on all your adventures, even if you plan to be back home well before nightfall. You never know what could happen and the extra few grams are worth it if you ever find yourself stuck in the dark.

As with headlamps, an emergency blanket is one of the essentials that you should always have in your bag, even if you never end up using it – because the one time you do need it, it might make all the difference. There are various options to choose from, but all of them should be lightweight, waterproof and insulating.

Arguably the most important item on the packing list, water is an absolute essential for hikes, no matter the length or intensity. Make sure to keep hydrating throughout the day and take note of where you can find fresh water to refill. Bottles work perfectly well, but you might want to consider investing in a bladder for convenience if you’re an active adventurer. You can also look at buying some water purification drops or a portable filter such as those made by LifeStraw.


As with gear, the apparel you select for your adventure will largely depend on factors like weather, location and intensity, but here are a few items that you can always count on…


Take care of your skin and save yourself some pain by making sure you are well protected from the sun. A good hiking hat should shield your face and the back of your neck, and should ideally provide decent breathability so that you don’t get too hot and sweaty.

These babies are extremely versatile and offer great convenience out in the mountains, especially for days that start out chilly and gradually warm up.

Even if the weather is looking good, it’s always a good idea to pack a jacket just in case the weather changes, the wind is stronger than expected or you end up staying out longer than intended. We recommend going for something that offers water and wind protection, with a warm fleece underneath if needed.

If you pick the wrong socks and shoes for your hike, you’re going to have one heck of a bad time. Invest that little bit of extra cash to get a comfortable, good-quality hiking boot or approach shoe that will offer sufficient support and survive some abuse in the outdoors. Make sure to also pick up some hiking socks or expect nasty blisters.

That’s all for now, folks – pop into your local gear store to get kitted out and stay safe out there!

By Nicholas Vlok