You've decided to take a nice, leisurely hike in the woods. That's good, but don't neglect to practice some good Hiking Preparedness, to ensure that you make it home safely!
I know many a hiker (me) who have opted to not take a compass because their mobile phone has GPS on it. What will happen if the phone gets dropped on a rock, or smashed in a fall or falls into the creek or river? Always take a compass with you and use it. A compass does you little good if you have no idea which direction you need to go to get back home or to your car.
The woods are full of dirty, sharp and nasty things, like thorns (everyone knows I hate thorns with a passion). Protect your hands, always wear gloves of some sort when you hike or tromp about the woods.
We just did a great write up on the walking stick. It helps with balance, reduces strain and stress on your body and comes in pretty handy. If you doubt me read this post.
Things happen and time slips away from us. It has happened to me more than once. You lose track of time and all of the sudden it's getting dark. Always take a flashlight or headlamp with you. It's real simple to get lost or break a leg in the dark forest. If you've ever watched a movie this is where you die and get eaten by monsters or wild animals. Why risk it? Just take the freaking light!
We don't realize how much exercise hiking can be. Take a canteen or water bottle with you on your hikes.
Take a knife. Knives are handy for crafting the walking stick that you forgot, and for many other purposes. Take a folding pocket knife at the minimum. I really like the Swiss Army Knife, because it has all the stuff I need and a decent saw blade on it. I use this thing all the time.
Mobile phone or 2 way radio
Things can happen. Make sure to have a radio or mobile phone, to call someone for help.
Wear footwear designed for the outdoors. Hiking shoes, hiking boots, or work boots typically work fine. Keep in mind there are streams, puddles, holes and THORNS (these suckers can go right through a sneaker sole, trust me).
Hiking is great exercise, gets you back in touch with nature and provides you with a familiarity with the forest that can come in very handy for camping or bugging out, but don't let it turn into an emergency situation because you didn't practice Hiking Preparedness. Take along a few simple items to keep you safe! Enjoy!