It’s no doubt amongst nature lovers that Zion National Park is one of the best outdoor camping, climbing, and hiking destinations in the country. Utah’s oldest national park boasts such popular hiking spots such as Angel’s Landing, The Narrows, and Observation Point, and has developed quite a reputation as a Grade A national park with some tough hikes and spectacular views.
If you’re planning an upcoming hiking trip in Zion National Park, you’ll need to be absolutely sure that you’ve packed all the survival essentials. We’ve compiled a list here of all the essential necessities you’ll need to be ready for anything on your Utah vacation.
- Compass/ Map – Never go hiking without a Compass. Even with all of the wonders of today’s technology, a trusty compass is still the best tool for navigation should you lose your way. Your compass will help a lot more if you accompany it with a map of Zion National Park, available online and on-site. If your phone loses signal or the battery dies, or if you get lost, a compass and a map could lead you to safety.
- A large water container – Water is obviously one of the most important things you can have when hiking, so it makes sense to bring a lot of it. Utah gets extremely hot in the summer, and hydration is important. Heat cramps and heat stroke are serious possibilities that many unprepared hikers in the Zion National Park area have suffered. It always helps to stay hydrated, and to have extra water to spare. A 50-100 container should give you plenty of water to sustain you on those extra-tough climbs. Norther Brothers has a great Hydration Backpack that holds 100 oz of water and has enough pockets to fit more of your things.
- Hiking Shoes – The type of shoe a hiker wears all depends on personal preference. In the past few years, Trail Runners have become a popular hiking shoe for people who are looking for a super lightweight, comfortable option for their feet. For those looking for a tougher shoe with more support and less flexibility, but who don’t want the bulky feel of boots, then Hiking Shoes are the way to go. And, last but certainly not least, there are still hikers who prefer the good old-fashioned durability, toughness, and support of Hiking Boots.
- Clothes for Warm and Cold Temperatures – Choosing the right type of clothing to wear on a hike is absolutely essential. In the desert, temperatures can fluctuate up to 30 degrees in a single day. Wool clothing is always a good choice due to its ability to keep you cool in the heat and warm when your wet or cold. This goes for socks as well. For women, here are some clothing ideas: A T-Shirt for warm weather, a Long Sleeve T-Shirt for cooler temperatures, and Hiking Pants. For men, you’ll need a T-Shirt, a Long Sleeve Shirt, and Hiking Pants.
- First Aid Kit – You should always have at least a Basic First Aid Kit with you when venturing out into the wilderness. Make sure it’s got the essentials like band-aids, gauze pads, alcohol wipes, and antibacterial ointment. It doesn’t have to be big, but having any type of first aid kit will certainly come in handy should an injury occur.
- Flashlights/ Headlamps – If you plan on camping overnight at Zion National Park, or even if you don’t, you should keep a flashlight in your pack. A flashlight is an invaluable tool should you find yourself in a dark area or lost at night. If your worried about scorpions in the Utah desert, packing a blacklight flashlight will help you easily spot them at night, as their bodies will glow under the light. A headlamp is a good, lightweight flashlight option while hiking or climbing for its hands-free qualities. You never know when you might need light on a dark desert night.
- Sun Protection – If you’re unfamiliar with the Utah desert sun, it will only take one excursion to show you that it can be extremely harsh on your skin. Packing a wide-brimmed hat and a lot of sunscreen will ensure that you’ll be safe from the sun’s harmful rays. Don’t forget sunglasses as well to protect your eyes. Polarized lenses are better for viewing the scenic views of Zion National Park.
- Rain Jacket – You may be thinking, “but it’s a desert. Why would I need a rain jacket in the desert?” In that case, you may be surprised to know that the Zion area is prone to sudden bursts of heavy, albeit short-lived, rainfall. Whenever the rain comes, temperatures in the desert can plummet, and if you were to get caught in one of these bursts of rainfall without proper rain gear, you’d surely have a miserable time. Catching pneumonia on your hike away from civilization could turn bad very quickly. Amazon has some quality rain jackets for sale for both men and women.
- Snacks – Of course, we’ve saved the important stuff for last. You’ll never ever want to be stranded hungry on a hike. Even if you don’t plan on being gone long enough to warrant a meal, you never know when an emergency might occur, and your outdoor adventure may go on longer than planned. Your body needs nutrients to keep going, so make sure to pack a few snacks loaded with complex carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and electrolytes. These will ensure that your body has all of the energy you need to keep going even when climbing gets tough.
And there you have it, all of the essentials that you’ll need to avoid disaster and make your outing at Zion National Park a success. After you’ve checked off all of the things on this list, you’ll be prepared and ready to go out on your next Zion hiking, camping, or climbing adventure. There are plenty of areas available for every kind of hiker, from easy to extreme. Get out on the trail and make your experience at Zion National Park unforgettable.