The 10 Essentials Of Hiking

  • Navigation – Far too many hikers today rely solely on technology. Yes those phone apps and maps are great but have you ever lost a phone? Broken one? Had a dead battery? A good old map and compass are the perfect backup and can be quite fun to use.
  • Sun Protection – Getting extra crispy while hiking never makes for fun. A healthy dose of sunscreen, some sleeves, and a wide brimmed hat go a long way toward keeping you on the trail for longer.
  • Insulation – Whether winter or summer, carrying a way to warm up can be a life saver. Even mild temperatures can lead to hypothermia especially if you have also gotten damp.
  • First Aid – Often overlooked by hikers, having the ability to treat more than a few blisters can also be a life saver. Pro Tip – find a good first aid course, carry the supplies, and know how to use what you carry.
  • Illumination – Once the sun goes down having a headlamp and / or a few chem lights will go along way toward peace of mind and can be useful for signaling.
  • Repair Kit / Tools – Whether I need to repair a broken shoe string, pull a honey locust thorn out of my shoe sole, or patch a torn poncho; having some basic repair tools and supplies are always a step in the right direction.
  • Fire Kit – This is possibly one of the most multifunctional of the 10 Essentials. Being able to quickly get a fire can help keep you warm, dry you out, signal for help, make water safe to drink, give you light and companionship at night, and even a bit of entertainment.
  • Hydration System – Hydrate, hydrate, and then hydrate some more. Never enter the trail without both water and a way to procure more. There are several options for filtering and chemical decontamination methods. Figure out what works for you and then don’t neglect it.
  • Nutrition – While none of us will starve getting stuck on the trail for an extra day, having a snack provides more than just a full stomach. It gives us peace of mind and a often needed bump in energy. If you have blood sugar considerations this one is a MUST before hitting the trail.
  • Shelter – A hasty means of getting out of a sudden and unexpected change of weather can make the difference in surviving an outing in the right situations. Personally I am fond of ponchos that are convertible to tarp shelter systems.

– R

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