There are 10 things that will carry you through pretty much any adversity that you find on a hike. Do you know what those 10 things are? Do you carry them every time you go out?
The 10 Essentials of Hiking and Spending Time Outdoors
map, GPS, altimeter, compass (and know how to use them!)
Headlamp, flashlight (not your phone!)
- Environmental Protection
hat, sunscreen, buff, raincoat, boots, windbreaker (pick the items that are appropriate for your area, time of year and forecasted weather)
- First Aid
Your first aid kit should be customized to what you are likely to need for yourself (and any dependants hiking with you).
If you know you always get blisters, or frequently turn your ankle, bring moleskin or an ACE bandage. Have asthma? bring your inhaler.
A small pocket knife is all you need, so don’t bring the giant 3lb leatherman.
A way to make fire can come in handy if you need to signal rescuers, or if you find that you will be spending an unexpected night in the woods. I prefer a lighter and firestarter, but waterproof matches are also a great choice. Whatever you choose, make sure that you know how to make a fire. All the matches in the pack won’t help you if you don’t know the basics of the fire triangle and Tinder, Kindling and Fuel.
Do you need to haul a tent every time you go for a day hike? No. But if you need to spend the night, you’ll want at least a space blanket or a lightweight tarp to provide a wind break and keep the rain or snow off.
Hiking burns energy and bonking is no fun. Bring a snack, and an extra snack for hungry partners, or just in case you take longer than planned to get back to your car.
Surprisingly, staying hydrated is just as important in cold weather as it is in hot weather. Always bring plenty of water. (Bonus Points if you bring a way to filter or purify water, and know how to use it.)
It isn’t shocking that it gets cooler as you go up in altitude, or that is gets cooler after the sun goes down. A fleece sweater tucked in the bottom of your pack might mean the difference between a fun experience and misery.
Was there a time when one (or more) of the 10 Essentials saved your hike? Share your story in the comments!