Bear spray in a hot car can explode. Store it in an ammo can to prevent totaling your car.
Cotton balls smothered in vasoline make for an excellent fire starter. Pull it apart with your fingers and you can easily light the fibers with a flint.
After countless miles of hiking, the top two first aid items I’ve used are moleskin for hot spots and blisters, and electrolytes. Get moleskin at your local sports store, and Liquid-IV are a delicious electrolyte additive you can get at Costco.
Tie your shoes the right way. Look up Terry Moore’s “How to Tie Your Shoes” TED talk.
Invest in a packable rain jacket, it protects from rain, wind, and can add an extra insulation layer on a cold morning.
If you despise covering your body in bug spray, try just spraying your hat and your hands. In my experience, this will deter most mosquitos and flies.
Invest in long-sleeve 50+UV hooded sunshirts. Again, I don’t love using sunscreen, and this is a great way to avoid coating your skin with chemicals. (added bonus; the hood also helps with mosquitos)
Wear your bear spray in the same place on the front of your body, and practice pulling it out of the holster. In a fight-or-flight situation with a bear, you need to have some muscle memory built up to have a quick response.
A good hiking backpack will place 90% of the pack weight on your hips, using a solid waistband. This is WELL worth the investment, and can make/break your hikes. My current pack is from Mystery Ranch, which I would recommend.
Before you head back down the hill, remember to tighten your shoelaces. They tend to loosen over the first half of the day, which can cause your toes to slam into the front of your shoes on the way down. If using trekking poles, lengthen them for the trip down to avoid straining your back while bending forward.