The Ten Essentials for Hiking or Backpacking
We recently wrote about the building a proper first-aid kit for hiking and backpacking. But that’s not all you need to safely enjoy the outdoors. The first-aid kit is part something called the Ten Essentials, which is a list designed to help you remember everything you need in case of an emergency in the backcountry. So the next time you head out on a hike, check these ten items of your packing list.
Compass and map by virtualtitus
- Navigation – While I do carry a GPS, I’m a big fan of low-tech outdoors experiences, so I always carry a map and compass. Knowing how to read and orient a map is an invaluable skill for any type of outdoor adventure.
- Sun protection – eNZees home base is located in Durango, CO at an elevation of 6,512 ft. Sunscreen, sunglasses, and a good hat are of the utmost importance both at altitude and wherever your adventures may lead.
- Insulation – It might be a beautiful blue bird day when you set out, but that can change in an instant here in the mountains. I always bring a light down or synthetic jacket in addition to my rain jacket when hiking.
- Illumination – They don’t weigh much, so why not bring a headlamp or flashlight? You’ll be glad you have one if you’re caught out after dark.
- First-aid kit – Read about everything you should include in your hiking and backpacking first-aid kit here.
- Fire starter – A warm fire can save your life when temperatures plunge. I usually have both a lighter and waterproof matches in my backpack.
- Repair kit and tools – If I’m backpacking, I’ll usually have patches for my Thermarest sleeping pad, duct tape, and a trowel in addition to my multi-tool that includes a knife, scissors, pliers, and more.
- Nutrition – Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills recommends you carry extra food for an additional day in case you’re out for longer than expected.
- Hydration – Don’t skimp on water. Besides keeping you from becoming dehydrated, drinking plenty of water can ease the effects of altitude sickness.
- Emergency shelter – Okay, I don’t always carry an emergency shelter like a tarp or bivy sack when I’m out on a normal day-hike. But if I’m logging big miles in a day or headed out backcountry skiing, either my partner or I have an MSR E-Wing tarp with us.