Hiking in Spain is tremendously rewarding but as with all outdoor pursuits there are some risks, here we have a list of essential items to keep in your vehicle when out hiking in rural Spain.
You’ve found the perfect hike on the map, it’s in the midde of nowhere and you have to drive and park up in a rural location to get close. The vehicle is your base, your safety point, so what do you keep in the car in case of an emergency or if something happens?
Below is a list of essentials we keep in our 4×4 as a matter of course anyway and they are also a great idea to have if you are driving to a rural location or planning to leave the car and head off for a hike in the mountains.
Water & Food
Water is without question the most important, not just for hydration but also for cleaning. In the Spanish summer a liter of water does not last long on a hike so you’ll be glad you have a good water supply when you get back to the car. We keep our water in an 18ltr container, a tip for the summer is to hide the water under the vehicle to prevent it from becoming warm or even hot, you can also fill it with ice before you leave.
A good cooler is essential in the summer for obvious reasons, food can spoil quickly in the heat of a vehicle exposed to the elements. A long hike makes you hungry and you’ll be thankful for a box full of ice cold drinks and chilled food when you kick your boots off and relax after that 20k. [Check out our Dometic Cool Ice review in this post]
Stove & Gas
Hiking in rural Spain isn’t just about exploring the mountain trails in the summer, the Spanish winter is a challenge and can be very, very cold as well as enjoyable. Here in the Altiplano de Granada we live at 997m above sea level and daily temperatures can stay well below freezing in the winter months, as such, a stove and the gas to power it are a good idea in case you need to whip up a hot meal or hot drink when you’ve returned from your hike.
The mini first aid kits you get for hiking and trekking are ideal for the backpack and they will get you out of trouble in a pinch, something more comprehensive however is essential for the car. A bigger first aid kit allows for bigger bandages, more essential kit, creams, wipes, plasters etc etc.
Kitting out the car is just as important as your backpack, you simply never know when you are going to run into a situation.
We keep a basic [but larger] first aid kit in our 4×4 as part of our set up, it provides peace of mind and is a crucial part that you hope you never have to use but… You never know what can happen on a hike, the vehicle is your base camp and a base camp is where the supplies are.
Blankets never come in wrong, it’s a good idea to carry an emergency blanket when on unkown, longer hikes but when it comes to the car you have more space, no weight issues either so a decent blanket can be packed under a seat for example.
A blanket can be used for getting wrapped up after removing wet clothes, for privacy, warmth, lying on and much more, it’s a handy piece of kit that is often overlooked as something to keep in the vehicle.
List of Medications
Before April 2022 you’d be lucky to see me taking a paracetamol, now I’m on nine pills a day, none of which I can pronounce either! In case there is an emergency and you or someone with you needs to inform medical staff what you are taking then a list of medications is a good idea [I cut the tops of the pill boxes], one list in the backpack and another list kept in the car.
Better to be prepared than not at all especially if the language barrier is an issue – even if you can speak Spanish stressful situations are extremely challenging when it comes to health and wellbeing.
Seems obvious but yeah, dry clothes! Spain weather can be unpedictable especially as there are many areas with their own micro climates. There is of course slipping in water too [which we have both done] and other reasons why your clothes might get wet. Dry clothes in the rig are a must.
So you have an emergency or you’re just plain cold, the car won’t start and it begins to rain again… Thanks to modern tech we can now keep portable jump starters in our vehicles to rescue us from such situations. If you are travelling in rural Spain a jump starter is crucial or you may find yourself hiking a lot further than you had planned.
Power & Chargers
I have included power and chargers for us folk that drive older vehicles that don’t have all the modern gizmos. In our rig we always have a portable battery pack to charge cameras and phones etc.
Power can be tremendously important in case of breakdown or if you return from a hike injured. There are a number of things that can go wrong when you are isolated and the last thing you need is a dead or dying phone battery. Again, the vehicle is base camp…
Useful Phrases [translated]
Hiking in Spain may see you walking for miles and not seeing a soul or you may come across the unexpected. If language is a barrier then some phrases kept in the car are a great idea and can get you out of a pickle.
We keep a couple of lists in our rig one of which is a list of vehicle parts and mechanical stuff if we ever break down. Similarly, lists can be made to cover medical related scenarios, asking for directions, where is the nearest town with a chemist/supemarket/hospital etc.
Hiking in Spain – Enjoy it
Being prepared makes a better hike, piece of mind is a great thing and knowing that you have the correct kit for an eventuality will result in you enjoying your hike more. Kitting out the car is just as important as your backpack, you simply never know when you are going to run into a situation.