This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser, Poland Spring®. All opinions are mine alone. #RefreshingOrigin #CollectiveBias
I’ve got 2 rugged older brothers, so I pretty much grew up outdoors. I also went to an all-girl summer camp 4 years in a row, so camp fires, hiking trails, and outdoor adventures– yeah, they’re kind of my thing. Fortunately, one of the best things about Missouri is a plethora of dog-friendly hiking trails. It’s become a bit of a weekly summer tradition for Kyle and me to leash up the pups and spend a lazy Saturday or Sunday morning out at one of our favorite trailheads. These weekly hikes, coupled with mid-hike trail picnics, have become my favorite way to clear my head (and spend some quality time with my loves) before jumping into the busy week ahead. If you’ve never treated yourself to a quiet mid-hike lunch, I’m sharing all my best tips for planning the perfect trail picnic in today’s post!
1. Pack the Essentials
Planning the perfect trail picnic starts with sustenance. Here’s a quick packing list to help get you started–
- Poland Spring® Brand ORIGIN Natural Spring Water (available nationally on Walmart.com)
- Backpack-friendly foods, like fresh fruits, veggies, and cheese (my personal favorite hiking lunch menu)
- Water-resistant picnic blanket
- Bug and tick repellent spray
- Collapsible travel bowl and tick removal key (must-haves for the doggos!)
Trust me, it’s super important to pack enough water– both for you and your pups. Getting dehydrated and light-headed in the middle of a trail is never fun. My go-to is Poland Spring ORIGIN Natural Spring Water. I started buying it when we lived in Maine, and I’ve been drinking it ever since. It’s 100% natural spring water from Maine, which, if you’ve never been, is essentially the most refreshing place on Earth. Plus, it contains natural electrolytes for hydration and taste. I also love that their bottles are made with 100% recycled plastic, excluding only the cap and label, and that they’re 100% recyclable themselves. Hover over the image below to shop!
I absolutely love the taste of Poland Spring ORIGIN, so I panicked a bit when I couldn’t find any cases in stores after our move. Fortunately, Poland Spring ORIGIN Water, 12-Count (30.4 fl oz) is a new premium item that’s exclusively available on Walmart.com. So, I place an order every few weeks, and it arrives on my doorstep within a day or 2.
2. Recruit a Hiking Buddy
What’s a hiking picnic without someone to hike with?! When I want to get away in the middle of the week and Kyle’s at work, nobody makes a better hiking picnic partner than one of the pups. They’re my little sidekicks. If you don’t have a dog, invite a friend and/or fellow hiking enthusiast instead!
3. Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated in the summer heat is so important, y’all, especially if you’re embarking on a solo hike. Remember to pack enough water (for both you and your doggo) and consume it generously.
4. Find the Perfect Summer Picnic Spot
Finding the perfect summer picnic spot is key. I don’t like veering too far off the hiking trail, primarily because I absolutely despise ticks, but I’ll do what I’ve gotta do to get close to the water. Even in land-locked Missouri, a cozy spot next to a gentle stream takes me right back to coastal Maine.
Once I’ve found the perfect summer picnic spot, I unroll my favorite water-resistant picnic blanket (a must-have if your dogs love water) and unpack my homemade bento box of fresh snacks. My favorite hiking lunch menu? Apples, blueberries, snap peas, and cheese. In case you can’t tell, Nellie’s a fan, too.
5. Relax and Enjoy Nature
Finally, disconnect for technology entirely. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy your trail picnic. Yes, hikes can be physically taxing, and, yes, summer is really hot. Still, take some time to be mindful and enjoy your surroundings. It’s amazing what some quality time in nature can do for your overall health and happiness.
Everyone knows that cuddling is good for the soul, so you should probably also give your doggo some pre-, mid-, and post-hike cuddles, too.
So, next time you want to embark on an outdoor adventure, grab a backpack, some Poland Spring ORIGIN, and fresh hiking foods and find yourself the perfect summer picnic spot. If you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself going back week after week, season after season. Happy exploring!
Photography by Catherine Rhodes.