There are many things to consider before you take off for a day of hiking in the woods. Never be done unprepared in case of an emergency. What you plan on never happening usually has a way of happening when you are least prepared.
Whenever you are planning on an outdoor trek to your favorite spot, it is important that you include some basic emergency supplies along with your regular gear. It is always smart to include a few extra energy bars and bottles of water. This may a little extra weight to your pack but it is always better to be prepared than prepared in a situation where you wish you had extra.
It is also smart to include a compass, no matter how many times you have been to the same area there is always a chance that you could get turned around and lose your bearings or landmarks that you have come to relly on may no longer be there . A compass is an inexpensive way to maintain your location if you find yourself in unfamiliar surroundings.
Also include some type of poncho or covering that can protect you in the case of a sudden and unexpected storm. Although you checked the weather before you left, it is not uncommon for a sudden downpour to occur. A poncho is very light and will serve as a barrier between you and the weather.
If you become stranded overnight due to unforeseen events, there should also be some type of fire starting kit in your back pack. Having the ability to produce a small fire will be very important. The temperature may drop and a fire will provide you with enough warmth to survive the night.
It will also serve as a light source very dark and dangerous surroundings. A small flashlight is another option to provide light but the importance of being warm can be achieved by just including a small flint or other fire producing source in your pack.
Just by adding these items to your pack, you will be much more prepared if something should occur on your hike.
There is nothing more important than planning for the unexpected in any situation. Even though you may consider yourself to be an excellent hiker, there is always the chance that an accident or unforeseen weather conditions may arise. Always be prepared and you will feel safer on every outing.