There are 10 items that you should always carry with you on any hiking trip. Never hike without these!
These are the 10 essentials.
The first essential is navigation and that includes your map and a compass. These are the maps that you have and those you’ve picked up for every location that you went. Along with the maps, you may also like to keep bits and pieces of books that talk about the trail and different turns and features that may be good to know for your trip.
It’s important not just to have a map and compass but also know how to use it. Before you go out make sure you’ve taken a course or watched some videos tutorials on how to use your map and compass. Otherwise, it does not any good to you in case you need them.
2. Ultra Violet Protection
Number two is UV protection. This includes sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat. And this is for all types of weather. So before you leave for the trail, it’s great to have UV protection product stored in your car. However, once you’re on the trail, you’re gonna get sweaty e.g. if you go on a creek or a river or something like that, a sunscreen might come off, so it’s great to have a smaller pack of UV protection in your pack.
Number three is insulation – so this is gonna mean something that is gonna keep you warm. This is hopefully gonna be an insulated jacket if you have one although you do have to think because this isn’t great for water. So if you are in wet conditions or the potential of precipitation, you want to think of ways to protect your insulation as well.
Number four is illumination. It’s always recommended that you always bring a headlamp with you especially when you are going to spend the night outdoor.
I’ll usually bring some sort of camp light to light up the area that I’m sleeping in. One tip I’d like to give with your headlamp when you’re packing it, make sure it is not ‘on’. In some occasions, I found that my battery kept dying every time I would get somewhere and I needed it or it was not bright enough and that’s because it was on the entire time in my bag while I was hiking. So to avoid that happening, just take one battery and flip it over and that way it doesn’t turn on while you are hiking
5. First aid kit
Number five is your first-aid kit which you may need to clean the wound in case of any injury. You want to make sure that everything inside of it and at least you know the basics how to use them because otherwise you’re just carrying extra weight that isn’t useful to you.
In my first-aid kit I like to keep some items that might be a little bit heavier or unnecessary for some people like for example ibuprofen. I also like to keep moleskin for blisters tweezers for splinters, safety pins are useful if you need to wrap something up and hold it together as well as a book which is actually a field guide manual to pretty much any medical emergency that could happen. Lastly I keep my gauze bandages and wipes which are all kept in a water sealed bag.
Number six is gonna be your hydration (your water). So before you leave for the trail you hopefully you know where most of the water sources are and where you can safely refill your water bottle. If there isn’t a water source around, make sure to pack enough water for your trip.
If you are planning to spend a few nights outdoor, you may need a complete Hydration pack.
And if there is a water source, it’s good to bring water purification tablets or a life straw which is not as efficient, you can’t have as much water on you but I have had to use this at a time when I was extremely thirsty and I didn’t want to wait the 30 minutes that it takes for the purification tablets to active.
Number seven is nutrition. The basic rule of nutrition is that when you’re going out you want to pack extra food to last you one day longer than your original plan.
So a hiking classic is cliff bars and they’re great trail snack or a breakfast bar. Generally you don’t want to steer too far away from your regular diet. Be aware that you’re out in the wild, you don’t want to feel sick.
8. Fire starting kit
Number eight is gonna be your fire starting kit. Some people think that matches are all you need in your fire starting kit but the truth is they don’t stay lit long enough for you to light anything else.
So in that case, you need to bring paper or something that is going to stay with the flame, so we can drive things off and create the warmth that we need.
9. Repair Kit
Number nine is gonna be a repair kit. This might include a Leatherman. If you’re carrying a therm a-rest or something like that, it might be important to have something that’s going to repair your sleeping mat for the night.
It could be something as simple as duct tape which is also good if your pack has a hole in it or if something has a leak something you need to seal. It’s very useful.
10. Emergency blanket
Finally number ten is gonna be your emergency blanket. It can be used for so many things. It is a great source of heat and can be used as shelter above you. It can be used to keep an injured person warm or to line the floor of your tent. I encourage you to be creative with this important tool.
Let’s do a wrap up.
1) You’re gonna need a map so that the person that actually knows how to read a map with you can help you out if you get lost.
2) You need your UV protection.
3) Insulation for when it starts to rain and you need to cover your camera. 🙂
4) Illumination for Shadow Puppets in your tent.
5) A medical kit so that when you get hurt, your friends can help you out.
6) Extra water so when your friends forget water, you can give them water.
7) Next, you need a Clif Bar registered trademark so people know that you are in fact a hiker and not just a walker.
8) A candle for your seance.
9) A Leatherman so you can say I have a Leatherman and don’t just use it only for the knife and some tin foil for the BBQ later.
10) Don’t forget to bring emergency blanker. It is useful for many purposes.
If I had to pick one extra essential what would it be?
I would say an extra pair of dry socks because when your feet get wet and you’re walking a long distance, there’s no amount of supplies in your first-aid kit that can make that feel better.
Sometimes when I’m hiking and I’ve got my bag and I’ve got a therm a-rest or something on the back and it’s not just sleep on, just to sit on but people automatically think that you’re spending the night. And then I think to myself if I really had to, everything in my pack, it looks so big because I could spend the night and then I look at their pack and it’s not good.
So this was just an overview of the ten essentials.
Let us know if you have any questions or suggestions for us. We are sharing what we know but we don’t know everything and we’re here to learn as well.