When all goes according to plan, the last moments of a day hike permit reflection of the footfalls accumulated over the past miles. Making Memories both large and small in the form of company, landscape, views of near and far.
But, what if, the plan faltered and the end result wasn’t a timely departure from the adventure anticipated. Plans waylaid from an accident or failed preparation from the trailhead start. Do you have all you need to be safe and comfortable for these un-planned delays?
The 10 Essentials are a good habit. Essentially, they are the items that keep your response a positive one if an emergency were to happen and secondly they assist you with remaining safe if you are forced to spend one or more nights outside. Of course, none of the items matter if you don’t know how to use the items you are carrying or use your brain in a tense situation.
What follows are the items you always carry in your daypack or backpack – of these, you will use a few routinely on any given trip.
• Sun Protection. Consider what you need for the area you are hiking. Oftentimes, this will include sunglasses, sunscreen, lip guard and a hat.
• Navigation. It is helpful if you know how to use the map and compass you are carrying. If you did some research about the trail you are hiking before you departed bring the trail description with you.
• Illumination. Your headlamp will only work for as long as the batteries last. Don’t forget to include extra batteries.
• Fire. Being stuck overnight is much more enjoyable with a fire that will keep you warm. Include in your kit waterproof matches or a lighter and a fire starter such as a cotton ball with Vaseline.
• First Aid Kit. Design your kit to fit your comfort. Good inclusions are a blister kit, Benadryl, baby aspirin, Imodium and pain medication like ibuprofen.
• Nutrition. This is in addition to the lunch and/or snacks you’ve already packed for the day. Consider packing calorie dense foods that won’t need replacement in your daypack but instead can be stashed for the entire hiking season. My go-to stashed pack includes two individual peanut butter packets (fat and protein at 220-calories a pack), two lara bars (230-calories a pack) and a package of jelly beans or twizzlers at 160 calories a pack).
• Shelter. This does not have to be a complex concept. An oversized trash bag will fit this essential. My go-to emergency shelter is a bright orange trash bag that will fit two people, can be cut into a tarp and likewise operates as a beacon that can be seen from a distance.
• Hydration. Two liters of water is the norm of what you carry in your daypack beginning from the trailhead. Included with hydration is a water treatment system. A simple solution can be including a couple of MSR 30-minute water treatment tablets into your first aid kit.
• Insulation. Extra layers for the weather anticipated. Depending on the season this may simply be an extra jacket and rain gear but in cooler temperatures this ought to additionally include gloves and a hat.
• Tools. This is an all-encompassing category of items including your whistle and your knife. For some, this might include a cell phone or security beacon.