Do you love hiking and do not want to gamble with nature on every extended weekend you get? Then this write up on the 10 hiking essentials is for you. The list of 10 essential items may often vary from person to person. But the ones I feel most important as a hiker are listed below:
The Ten Essentials…
1. First Aid Kit – You need to be fit and small cuts and injuries should not hinder your hike. A basic First Aid Kit with items like gauze, band-aids, adhesive tape, butterfly bandages for deep cuts, an elastic bandage for twisted knees or ankles, some pain killers and a few antihistamines for bee stings are very important. Also remember to carry the medicines you need regularly.
2. Map and Compass – Instrumental usage is very essential in cloudy places and if you get lost. Carry a good compass and if possible the map of the location. The map will inform about the trails, campsites, topography, roads, towns, etc. and the compass will guide the directions.
3. Extra Food and Water – Always carry extra food and water to avoid hypothermia and dehydration, which are dangerous if not given medical assistance. Moreover, if you get stuck and lose time the extra food would be a boon.
4. Extra Clothes – Include wool or PolarTek Hat to avoid heat loss as 35% of the total body heat is lost through head. Extra clothing is also good protection from insects, wind, thorns and often cold. If needed, you can cut your extra clothes and make them into bandages, tree climbing aid, pillows or towels.
5. Flashlights – Flashlights and headlamps are important equipments for traveling in the dark and during dawn.
6. Rain Gear – An added rain suit or an umbrella will be a very smart choice. Personally I prefer rain suit as it doesn’t engage hands. Even carrying a coated nylon pack bags can act as extra protection against rain.
7. Knife – A knife of any size can be useful to cut cord, shave kindling or even cut a fabric.
8. Matches – Carry matches or lighters to light backpacking stoves.
9. Sunglasses and sunscreen – Sunglasses protect your eyes from snow-blindness. Sunlight when reflected in snow is harmful for the eyes and can even reduce visibility. Sunscreen will protect you from the direct sun rays.
10. A water treatment option (filter or chemical treatment) – You can treat any type of water – from the streams, pools or lakes with a water treatment device to make it drinkable.
Other important items…
• Plastic tarp and rope for expedient field shelter.
• Repair kit, including duct tape and basic sewing materials.
• Ice axe for glacier or snowfield travel (if necessary)
• Signaling devices, such as a whistle, cell phone, two-way radio, satellite phone, unbreakable signal mirror or flare.
• Insect repellent (or clothing designed for this purpose)
You can always carry many other essential items that you think is needed and essential for the particular trip. Again, it is completely up to you to decide whether to carry all the essential items to safeguard yourself from any kind of need or danger because you never know what you have to confront in the wilderness.