What should you bring on a hike?
I’ve always heard that there are “ten essentials” of hiking – the items you must bring on a hike to stay safe and warm. That list seems to vary a lot, though, depending on who is doing the listing. So here is what’s usually in my backpack, even on a short day hike :
- Water – plenty of it
- Food – plenty of it (and I usually manage to eat it all!)
- Extra clothing – socks, a fleece jacket and a waterproof shell, a wide-brimmed hat for sun protection and a warm hat. (Yes, I usually bring a winter hat with me, even on summer hikes. Years ago, in the middle of May, I went on a quick overnight camping trip in the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area just outside of Boulder. We got snowed on that night, and spent several hours trying to find our way back to our car with no trail, and the snow still coming down. My friend fell in a creek and got drenched up to his thighs. And I wore on my very cold head not a hat, because I hadn’t brought one, but a pair of shorts. Really.) [Read on...especially to the suggested #19 in the comments!]
- Camera (okay, not essential, but always fun)
- Sunscreen and sunglasses
- First aid kit (including a flat roll of duct tape and a mirror)
- Map, compass (GPS unit – I don’t have one, but it would be nice)
- Cell phone – don’t rely on it to get you out of trouble though!
- Trash bag
- Space blanket or extra large trash bag
- Pen and paper
- Bug spray
- Field guide
- Flashlight or headlamp
- Matches or lighter
- Disinfectant gel
Have I missed anything? What’s in your backpack?
Here’s more on the Ten Essentials from REI