The Ten Essentials

Essentials for Any Hike
What You'll Need  - The Ten Essentials
#1. Map
Even if you are positive about where you’re headed and how 

to get there, it is always a good idea to bring a map with you 
on the trail. A good topographical map, or “topo” is 
indispensable. Know how to read your map and consult it often.  
Visit the Trading Post for map info.

#2. Compass
A compass can help you find your way through unfamiliar 

terrain – especially in bad weather where you can’t see 
the landmarks. With a map and compass you can accurately 
determine your position, travel cross-country and avoid 
cliffs and other dangerous features in the landscape. 
Global Positioning Systems are great, but beware of their 
limitations. Batteries go dead, and, in gorges and beneath 
heavy forest canopy, GPS units may be unable to receive 
a signal. Speaking of signals, a compass with a sighting 
mirror will double as a signaling device to alert passing 
planes or distant hikers in an emergency.

#3. Water
Without enough water, your body can’t perform as well. Drink 

plenty of it and don’t drink untreated water. Many hikers 
assume the water is pure and about 48 hours later wonder 
why they have a queasy feeling. Even clear-looking water 
can contain the organism Giardia Lamblia, one of the causes 
of “travelers diarrhea”. If you are not carrying the water in 
yourself, treat all backcountry drinking water with purification 
tablets and/or a quality filter.

#4. Extra Food
You’ll need all your strength, especially on those steep grades 

out of the gorges.  Bring more food than you think you can eat. 
You can survive days without eating, but you think more clearly 
and react more quickly when you’re fueled up. Carry more food 
than you think you need, even if it’s just a bag of raisins or nuts.

#5. Extra Clothes
It almost doesn’t matter when you are hiking, the weather 

often changes quickly and with little warning. The key is to 
be prepared. Wet clothes can be a recipe for hypothermia. 
Remember to layer for insulation and carry raingear even 
when the threat of precipitation seems remote. A lightweight 
emergency shelter such as a tarp or space blanket is also 

#6. First-Aid Kit
It’s important to be prepared for a range of mishaps: blisters, 

cuts, scrapes, sprained ankles, among other things. Always 
carry medical supplies adequate for minor injuries and blisters, 
including sterile bandages and antibiotic ointments.

#7. Pocket Knife
From slicing salami or opening a can to cutting an ace 

bandage to rigging an emergency shelter, a simple knife is the 
most useful tool you can carry on any hike. Better still are 
compact multi-tools like Swiss Army knives. Whatever you 
carry, keep the blade sharp and rust-free.

#8. Sun Protection
No matter where you live, or what season it is, hikers need 

to be aware of the hazards of the sun’s rays. Overexposure 
to the sun can leave you fatigued, dehydrated, and painfully 
burned. Don't be fooled by the forest canopy.  A combination 
of a hat, sunglasses, sun block and the proper clothing can 
keep you protected.

#9. Flashlight
It is good to carry a flashlight or headlamp with you every 

time you head out for a hike. Although you may have no 
intention of being on your hike past dusk, it’s easy to 
underestimate just how long a particular hike may take. A 
light can be inexpensive, lightweight, and along with an 
extra set of batteries, pretty reliable. Headlamps have the 
extra benefit of being hands-free. Whichever you choose, 
be sure to find one that’s waterproof. While you may never 
to expect to get caught in the dark in the rain, it’s worth 
the extra expense.

#10. Matches and Firestarter
Carry matches that have been waterproofed or wind and 

waterproofed, or else carry extra strike anywhere matches
—along with something to strike them on—in a waterproof 
container. Keep these matches separate from your regular 
match or butane lighter supply. Keep them available for 
emergency situations. Fire starters are useful for quickly 
starting a fire, especially in emergency situations. They are 
also useful for igniting wet wood. There are several 
commercial fire starters available: magnesium blocks 
w/striking flint; chemically-treated fire sticks, etc.

No comments:

Post a Comment