Home / Backpacking Skills / Day Hikers’ Ten Essentials Guide

Day Hikers’ Ten Essentials Guide

Bonticou Crag, The Gunks
Bonticou Crag, The Gunks

If you’re just getting into hiking, everyone is going to recommend that you pack the 10 Essentials when you go for a hike. Then they list about 30 pieces of gear that you should bring with you, but they never actually tell you WHAT to buy. If you find this frustrating or confusing, or worse, you’re going for hikes without the 10 Essentials, I’ve pulled together a few sample gear lists for different hike durations  (up to 4 hours and more than 4 hours) that I hope you find helpful. These are suggestions based on my own brand/product experience, with an eye for low price and good cost/value performance.

My goal here is to help you understand EXACTLY what you need to buy, beg, borrow or steal, so we can get you outdoors and on the trail.

The 10 Essentials

  1. Map and Compass – You need to carry a map of the area where you’re hiking and learn how to find your  location on it based on the landmarks and trail junctions marked on it. It’s good to practice this, even if you’re just hiking in an urban park. Learning how to use a compass at a basic level soon follows. The first thing you’ll learn is how to find north which is quite easy and helps to orient your map so you can figure out where you are if you become turned around. That’s often all you need to know to find your way, but it’s nearly foolproof and doesn’t rely on batteries. GPS Receivers and Cell Phones are not part of the 10 essentials. You can bring them if you want, but nothing is more reliable than a map or compass.
  2. Sun Protection – It’s always a good idea to carry a hat, lip balm, and some sunscreen to prevent sun burn when you’re out in the open. Sunglasses can also be very helpful, particularly in winter, to prevent snow blindness (which is temporary). If you’re very sensitive to sun, you should also consider wearing special sun-proof clothing.
  3. Insulation – The amount of extra clothing and insulation you bring on a hike really depends on whether you’re hiking near a city or in the backcountry, the average day and night temperature, and whether there’s a chance you might get stuck outdoors at night. For example, if you’re doing an all-day spring hike in the mountains, it probably makes sense to bring an insulated sit pad, an insulated jacket, sweater, hat and gloves along just in case you’re out after sunset.
  4. Illumination – You should always carry a headlamp or a flashlight and some extra batteries. You want enough light that you can walk with after dark if you’ve been delayed, or that you can camp with if you decide to stop and wait until daylight.
  5. First-Aid Supplies – When you go hiking, it’s important to bring a few first aid supplies along for yourself or for the other people you’re hiking with. The eastiest thing to do is to buy a small personal first aid kit from Adventure Medical for about $17. You can also assemble your own for much less.
  6. Fire – If you unexpectedly have to spend a night out because you misjudged the distance you needed to hike, you got lost, hurt, or someone in your group is hurt, you want to have the option to make a fire. This means you should practice making a fire and have the means to reliably light one if necessary. The most reliable way I’ve found to make a fire is to use a fire steel, which is a flint-like device that throws lots of sparks, and a fire-starter like cotton balls that have been covered with vaseline. You can also carry matches for convenience, but these can get damp. Don’t waste your money on emergency matches that will burn 10 minutes under water; it’s just not necessary.
  7. Multi-tool and Repair Kit – You don’t need a big knife when you go hiking. In fact, scissors are more of a necessity than a knife, so it’s best to bring along some kind of swiss army knife or leatherman-style multi-tool. That, a small roll of duct tape, and a few safety pins are all you really need to patch up broken or torn gear.
  8. Nutrition – Hiking is exercise and you need to eat to keep your body going if you’re hiking for more than a few hours. It’s good to bring along healthy snacks with a good balance of carbohydrate, protein and fat or a sandwich if you plan on hiking all day.
  9. Hydration – When you go hiking it’s important to bring water with you and to drink it liberally. I usually drink a quart of water before I go hiking and then drink 1 quart after every two hours. You’ll feel better if you stay hydrated, particularly if it’s very hot or very cold, the water will help you digest snacks or meals, and eliminate waste. If you go for an all day hike, it’s often good to carry a water filter or Chlorine Dioxide tablets so you can purify water from a lake or stream when you run out. I rarely carry more than 3 quarts on a hike (6 pounds of water,) and just resupply from natural sources as needed.
  10. Emergency Shelter – It’s useful to carry an emergency shelter like an emergency blanket, emergency bivy, or regular bivy/sleeping bag cover if you get cold and wet or need to camp out unexpectedly. If this happens, it’s important that you avoid lying directly on cold ground all night because it will suck the heat out of your body. It’s best to bring a foam torso length sleeping pad or sit pad that you can lie on top of to remain warm. The pad doesn’t have to be full length, just long enough to fit from your hips to your collarbone.

Sample 10 Essential Gear Lists

Here are two sample gear lists that I’ve pulled together based on the 10 essentials. The first is for hikes under 4 hours, or a half-day in length. The second is for longer all day hikes that are more than 4 hours long, and where there’s a greater chance that you’ll be out after dark or run into inclement weather.

EssentialsUp to 4 HoursMore than 4 Hours
Map and CompassLocal MapLocal Map
Suunto A-10 Compass
Sun ProtectionBilled CapBilled Cap
Dermatone TinDermatone Tin
Long Sleeved Synthetic Shirt
InsulationFleece SweaterFleece Sweater
Rain Jacket and PantsRain Jacket and Pants
Beanie Hat
Insulated Jacket
IlluminationSpot headlampSpot headlamp
Extra Lithium BatteriesExtra Lithium Batteries
First Aid KitAdventure Medical KitAdventure Medical Kit
FireSmall box of Wooden MatchesSmall box of Wooden Matches
Light My Fire Fire SteelLight My Fire Fire Steel
Vaseline Coated Cotton BallsVaseline Coated Cotton Balls
Tools and Repair KitSwiss Army Classic KnifeSwiss Army Classic Knife
Duct Tape, Safety PinsDuct Tape, Safety Pins
NutritionNuts, Dried Fruit, BarsNuts, Dried Fruit, Bars
Hydration2 Water Bottles or 70 oz Reservoir2 Water Bottles or 100 oz Reservoir
Water pruification tablets or a Sawyer water filter
Emergency ShelterEmergency BivyEmergency Bivy
Foam Sit Pad
Tarp and paracord
OtherEmergency Contact InfoEmergency Contact Info
Loud WhistleLoud Whistle
Toilet Paper and Trowel

Other Suggested Essentials

Here are a few other items that are very useful to have when you go hiking.

  • Toilet paper and a trowel to dig a cat hole so you can bury your waste
  • Gloves or glove liners to keep your hands warm
  • Rain jacket and pants. Great if it gets windy and they provide additional insulation.
  • A piece of paper with that has your emergency contact info and a list of daily medications that you need to take
  • Doggie bags, so you can pack out dog poop if hiking with your dog

Clothing Advice

Don’t wear any cotton clothing or clothing that is partially made out of cotton, bamboo, rayon, tencel, or modal because it is very slow to dry if it becomes wet and insulates poorly. Always wear synthetic or wool clothing because it’s far safer (see Why Cotton Kills.)

Choosing the Right Day Pack

You need to carry the 10 essentials in something, so you’re going to want some kind of day pack. I recommend something between 25 and 40 liters in size, depending on the length of your hiking trips. If they’re in an urban area like a park or under 4 hours in duration, you can probably get by with a smaller pack. If your hikes are longer than 4 hours in length, or you’re hiking in more rugged terrain, you’ll probably want a larger day pack so you can carry more food, water, and insulation.

Personally, I like daypacks that have a lot of external stretchy pockets and a minimally organized internal storage compartment. I put everything I will need during the day on the outside of the pack – water bottles, a wind breaker or rain coat, hat, snacks, and my map in the outer pockets, and store everything else I might need inside the pack.

Packing like this makes it very easy to quickly find things if you’re hiking with a group, especially if they have short rest stops and you’re always falling behind because it takes you so long to pack when the rest stop is over.

Written 2012, Updated 2016

Most Popular Searches

  • hiking essentials
  • day hike essentials
  • day hiking essentials


  1. Another excellent article. More like these, I like reading lists like these and they are very handy for sharing with friends who are new to hiking.

    When I am on a day hike, I carry a simple print map of the area that I will be in obtained from the local DNR website. For a 3,500 acre public wildlife area that is close to my house that I do day hikes in, an 8 1/2″ x 11″ page is sufficient. Any place bigger or in the back country you will want to carry a “real” map.

    Just a quick tip to help get oriented North on a map. First find North with your compass, then if you are having trouble orienting the map with your direction of travel, turn around and face North, then you can align the map North as well since this is easier to find. Once you have done that, it is easier to tell what direction the trail is headed in. This is a great tip that I used when I first learned how to orient a map. Practice makes perfect, so every time you are out practice this valuable skill!

    For organizing essentials in your pack, what I do for first aid supplies is I keep everything in a small ziplock bag. This makes it easy to find what I need since it is in a clear container. Also keeps everything dry. Same for vaseline dipped dryer lint balls, keeps everything dry and organized together. Zip lock bags are great for that, and they are cheap!

  2. Also pack moleskin (in a first aid kit if it doesn’t come with it) and learn how to use it. If you are just getting into hiking you are a lot more prone to blisters. New unbroken boots and ignoring hotspots out of ignorance will get you in trouble. I always distribute moleskin to new hikers I take out and ask about hot spots a few times. Most new hikers have never heard of moleskin and underestimate how debilitating a bad blister can be.

  3. I’ve swithched out my glove liners for nitrile or vinyl gloves – the kind you paint with. They are waterproof (which liners usually are not) and suprisingly quite warm.

  4. Second vote on moleskin (or the new gooey blister bandages), and also Ibuprofen. Newbies can go through moleskin and ibuprofen like candy. Most first aid kits are way too light on anti-inflammatory meds.

    • Since you mentioned dogs…..

      I always hike with dogs, and I do believe in packing out my dog’s waste on day trips – this is what I came up with.

      I have one dog wear a harness with a pack (Ruffwear) and I bring plastic baggies. I then keep cheap tupperware style containers in the pack. Dog’s waste gets bagged, packed in the tupperware and my dog carries it out.

      In the summer, I also have them carry small nalgene containers of water and a lightweight bowl. I do have to periodically adjust the packs by adding a rock on one side or the other to make sure they balance properly.

  5. No primary communication devices are listed such as the simple whistle. That’s why I decided that, for me, it’s better to think in terms of groups of items (ten essential groups) rather than the older way. Even the current ten essential systems of the mountaineers still does not have a whistle, or any primary communication device, listed.


    • John – I’m glad you caught that. I’m a whistle fanatic and always put a very loud 3rd party whistle on my packs, since the whistles most manufacturers put on their sternum straps are absolute crap. I’ve fixed it in the table above.

  6. Well written. I have promoted the idea of 10 essentials self sufficiency for a day hike for over a decade. In the mountains the weather can abruptly change leaving you lost in “fog” of clouds or stranded because a trickle of water you stepped over, earlier, on the way back has become a torrent.
    I would forego the division of 4 hours or more.
    I would also list a tarp, just not a blue tarp.
    I have your very nice video on the front page of my website. That’s you?
    I was there when the 10 Essentials were compiled. It became 10 items, when REI Pike Street Store offered examples. It was always The Ten Essentials – The Systems Approach.
    I use the systems approach to all the information on my website.
    Of course, most people do not like to read much. Well done!

    • Yep that’s me. I think calling it a systems approach puts off beginners a bit. It confuses me just thinking about it because I have items in my pack that belong to multiple systems! Try explaining that. Thanks for the comment – great to see that presentation being reused on other sites.

  7. I do try to explain that. It runs up to over 100 pages!
    I like multipurpose items. I also like a lightweight pack.

  8. It’s a bit tough to make any one list, because so much depends on the situation (both the hiking location/weather and the knowledge of the person hiking)

    My personal carry list is more like this:
    – Map or at least a good look of the lay of the land to identify a few good backstops in case I get really turned around (mostly only for well marked trails)
    – no compass on a short hike on well marked trails on a sunny day (use sun for north), button compass for walks on well marked trails in smaller parks when it’s overcast, full siting compass for off trailing in larger woods, or longer trips where you want to site to peaks.

    Sun Protection:
    – Nothing if it’s a shorter hike, wooded, or I’m feeling tan enough
    – small amount of sun screen, sun hat, overshirt for more exposed stuff or when I’m getting more sun than usual.
    – Sunglasses for snow or open water

    Goodness that depends. Everything from a sweater to a hat, gloves, down vest, etc. I guess enough clothing that you can hang out for a while comfortably and enough that you won’t die if you have to stay out all night in it. (Doesn’t have to be comfy for all night though)

    Spare batteries on a day hike? You’re much more disciplined than I am. I’ll generally carry a pretzl e-light especially for longer walks. I’m pretty comfy night hiking with no light if there’s a moon though.

    First aid supplies:
    * Ibuprofen. More than you’d think. It’s an anti-inflammatory in larger amounts.
    * Benadryl. Nice for sun rash. Even better if you discover someone’s allergic to something and don’t happen to have an epi-pen. :)
    * Asprin. I usually only carry one adult asprin. This isn’t for pain relief. It’s in case someone has a heart attack.
    * Steri strips for wound closure. Can’t say I’ve used many of these though. Not sure they’re worth it.
    (I also carry iodine for water purification, so I’ll use that to sterilize skin when needed)
    * Duct tape for blisters.

    I don’t ever carry matches anymore. The light my fires are amazing though – I always have one in my mess set. I have a different fire starter in my emergency kit, but just ’cause it’s lighter. It’s the same basic design. I also carry a bic lighter (warning they don’t work when cold) and a small piece of fire starter (that compressed sawdust stuff). Didn’t used to carry the fire starter, but then I had to start a fire by smearing my chapstick all over the cotton from a pill bottle in the hail and decided it was worth it. Cotton balls with Vaseline work great, but I don’t know how you carry them without creating a mess. :)

    Tools and repair kit:
    – Knife. The size varies, sometimes to under an inch sometimes up to four or so. Depends on my mood. It’s mostly for cutting food, but having a blade is nice for all sorts of things.
    – Strong needle and dental floss for thread. Don’t need this too often, but packs and shoes fail and it’s really nice to just be able to fix them. I end up fixing other people’s gear fairly regularly.

    Yup, it’s a good idea.

    – 1 liter soda bottles filled with water. I’ll vary between 1 and 4 depending on the availability of water. Often just 1 or 2 for a day hike
    – Polar pure iodine. I’ll take this even on a really short hike. It’s nice to know you have all the water you want. (Note: this isn’t the iodine tablets that you grew up with. It’s an iodine solution. The taste isn’t as strong and I haven’t managed to wear out a jar before losing it. Not even on the AT)

    Emergency shelter:
    – Emergency bivy.
    I’ve got the dental floss for stringing it up if need be (I’ve done it in medical training classes. Works fine). A sleeping/sit pad would be really important if you got caught in the wrong place. That said I’ve only taken one on a day hike when there’s lots of snow and i’ve got my dog. Other than that you can always sit on your pack, or a pile of cut tree branches if it’s actually an emergency.

    – Whistles are a really good idea. If you’re like me and likely to forget it try whistling with other things like acorn caps when your out on a day hike. It’s still a really really good idea to bring a whistle, but it’s nice to be prepared if you forget it. :)
    – Having something that’s brightly colored is a good idea. For me this is usually my emergency bivy.
    – I don’t bring tolet paper and if you do please please hike it back out. I’ve found way too much nasty paper out in the woods. Also you can dig with a stick – just requires more patience. :)

    Thanks for writing this article. It’s interesting to think about what’s really important and to think about how that changes in different situations.

  9. Nicely written. Maybe I just missed it above, but another communication device I find really handy to have with me is a pencil (and paper). Surprising how often I use it, usually beginning with registering at the trail head.

  10. The absolute first thing in my pack is rain gear (poncho). Wet can be cold enough to kill. Has served a a bivi.

  11. Excellent article. For me, it is not necessary to go ultra-light when day packing, so wanted to mention a few things.

    First of all, I love my Zebralight H51 flashlight/headlamp. It takes one AA battery, preferably a rechargeable Sanyo Eneloop according to manufacturer. Simpler than fussing with three AAAs like most headlamps. It can function as a headlamp and a handheld that clips to a belt. If you need anything brighter than this on the trail you are blind, but it also goes very dim for reading in a tent. Expensive at $64, but I think it is worth it.

    Second, I love my Geigerrig 1600 day pack. It comes with a pressurized bladder that you pump up. the water shoots out in a continuous stream like a squirt gun, no sucking. Good for cleaning wounds, hygienically sharing water with a person or a dog. Excellent heavy duty bladder that you can turn inside out and run through the dishwasher. High end all the way.

  12. First, I’m so glad I found this site! Amazing info & even better stories!

    Secondly, thank you for this list. I just got back into day hikes, my last adventures were with the Boy Scouts many years ago. I’m proud to say, I have most of the things mentioned, minus an emergency bivy (my xxxl rain jacket could work of necessary) . I’m slowly trying to add more items to my gear (just picked up a new pack on REI closeout last night!), and now I know which should be a priority!

    Hoping to complete the Shenipsit Trail here in CT before the end of November, and start looking forward to some weekend hikes for next year!

  13. I’m late to the party, but I have a question on the use of the emergency bivy. I’ve read some article but am still not sure about it. The reason is that I had occasion to use it and had a lot of condensation. I was camping with a bag that was not warm enough and the temp went down to 34 F. I put on all my clothes and was still cold, so I put the bivy around my bag. I think I was warmer but it sure got wet, so in the end I don’t know if it helped. Was I doing something wrong? How do you use them?

  14. Nice article & comments. I would add insect repellent, for when those swarming clouds of mosquitoes get downright obnoxious.

  15. Great article! Lots of helpful tips that I’ll definitely keep in mind next time I go hiking. Thanks for sharing!

  16. I buy those small packs of tissues to use as toilet paper. You can usually pick them as a 4 pack in the dollar store. Much cheaper than buying the small rolls they sell in the camping department and take less space

  17. It has been too many years since my last real hike. Taking the 10 year old daughter to N. Ga mountains for “real hiking” as we live in Fla.Great info as we get back into the woods!

  18. Re: 3 quarts of water

    What happens if your day turns out exceedingly hot, or if you are doing part of your hike in a desert? How much would you recommend? What about for people prone to dehydration, heat syncope? Thank you. Glimmer

    • As much as you need. There’s no “recommended amount” to carry. Study your map for water source information and talk to other hikers to see if the sources are flowing or dry. Resupply more often if water is available, “camel up” when you stop (drink more), and bring along extra carrying capacity (flat sided bottles) so you can carry more when needed.

  19. Going back to organization, i have taken to carrying my emergency stuff: first aid, head lamp#2, fire starting methods, space blanket, knife etc. in a red stuff sack. It is all together and I can move it from one pack to another depending on the day and size I want to carry without fear of forgetting some small essential.

  20. 11th essential – spare socks, sometimes 2 pair spares, depending on how long the hike is and how sweaty your feet get in the shoes to be used. If I am out for longer than 4 hours, I definitely want a foot-airing and sock-changing break.

    • Oh, yeah! Spare socks is essential. My two extra pairs saved a day of hiking when my partner slipped into a stream on a cold day and had forgotten her extras. Probably would have had to bail otherwise. Never leave home without them.

  21. I discovered a nice flat “pocket size” duct tape at Amazon.com. RediTape Pocket Duct Tape is a flat pack measuring 1.88″ x 5 yards and come in black and silver as well as many fluorescent colors for increased visibility. 2 packs, your choice of colors, costs $5.49 + $1.99 S&H.

    • Gary, that looks convenient but for less money, I just wrap Gorilla Tape lengthwise around a credit card. I can carry as much or little as I want but I don’t really need to carry much.

      I use an active card from an account that is never used for any other purpose. This serves as emergency funds if my cash and other card is lost or hacked/cancelled, etc…

      • Ray T. Great idea and one that I will adopt. And I am sold on Gorilla Tape. I had a small crack last year in the PVC pipe running outside from my sump pump. A year later through many Mid-Atlantic temperature changes, and the Gorilla Tape is still sealing the crack.

  22. Little doubt that staying “hydrated” is paramount. While water is the essential source for staying hydrated, in certain hiking environments where the trail is difficult or strenuous and the climate is such as to cause the hiker to sweat profusely, then I also recommend highly that the hiker add sports drink to the water since water alone does not replace lost electrolytes essential for maintaining energy. I learned this decades ago hiking in the southwest when I had an adequate amount of water for hydration, but still felt fatigued, lethargic, just plain weak. When I mentioned this to my doctor during my annual physical it was he who suggested the inclusion of sports drink to replace lost body electrolytes. Adding sports drink to my water (such as Gatorade) made all the difference in satisfying my need for thirst; but also made all the difference in replenishing lost energy that water alone cannot replace through substantial lost of body sweat.

  23. fabulous tips-I’ve always hiked/biked/skied day trips but never terribly far from “civilization”. I pretty much have always carried most of the recommended items , but here in the south (SC) , bug repellant is a necessity. I know I need “Deet” but any tips on brands ,creams -vs -sprays , pro’s , con’s , etc…?

    • Sharon….up here in MD we have plenty of ticks and the mosquitoes are quite thick and brutal in the summer. I spray a lot of my hiking clothes, especially pants, shirt and hat with Sawyer’s Permethrin. Ben’s has a 100 Deet (actually 99% Deet) 1.25 oz pump spray that is easily packable. They also sell a box of individually foil wrapped (I think 12 count) 30% Deet wipes. I always carry a few no matter where I go in the summer. You can buy Ben’s on Amazon or any of the chain outdoor stores. Coleman also makes a 100% Deet spray.

    • Picaridin is a repellent option if you are one of those people (like me) who doesn’t like the feel of DEET. Consumer Reports recommends 20% strength. Sawyer and Natrapel have spritzer bottles of 20%, easily found on eBay. Several sizes are available, including 3.4 oz. suitable for carry on luggage.

      I’ve tried both and prefer the Natrapel–it smells nicer in my opinion but there is another reason I prefer it. The Natrapel sprizer sprayer works much better–the Sawyer sprayer is weaker and it dribbles all over your spraying hand when using it. When I exhaust the Natrapel bottles, I’ll pour the Sawyer product into them.

  24. I avoid all toxic chemicals.
    I wear loose-fitting bicycle pants for the close fitting ankles and smooth fabric, and a fly-fishing shirt, for full-coverage.
    There are selections comfortable in hot or hot and humid weather.
    I add stretch gaiters, if biting blackflies are present.
    I have O’Tom for safest tick removal: the method causes the imbedded parts to withdraw.

  25. Doesn’t matter to me if I am going on a 2 hour hike or a 20 day to a 7 month trip, I always carry the 10 essentials which I have added to over the years that have become Mandatory for me such a week supply of personal Medications. No matter how short the Trip I also take the Spot I as I promised my Daughters to always carry.. . I first saw this list in the old A-16 Newsletter, an then the kids took over the company and well that was that. Then I saw in a number of Books from the “Mountaineers” who I think were the Originators of the list.

    Any one have any issues with Connie’s addition of Bicycle Pants or “Men in Tights” ? I’d like to try a pair if any one can direct me, How about Leotards for keeping the Bugs away.. I also like BDU’s because, their rugged and last a long time unlike $95 pants from some Companies…. I can tie off the Cuffs to keep the Creepy Crawlies out.. I also used the Military Issue, now found in Surplus stores “Hooked Bands” or what we called Blousing Garters, which you place around your ankles and then tuck your pant hems up inside them which was replaced by the BDU’s having built in Laces..

    You can also have a Seamstress modify your BDU’s to include a Zip Off Leg. I am having a pair modified right now and will have them back in a few weeks,,,Seems June and July are very Busy months for a Seamstresses. Their Bread & Butter is Wedding Dresses. So my order has to take a back seat….

  26. Great List, and I like how everyone contributes in the comments section with their own personal favorites. Good idea to share what works for each person. I agree with several people who have commented before me that no matter how long they are out or plan on being out hiking, always take your gear with you. You never know who’s going to get hurt, what weather is going to hit you, and if you’re going to be forced to stay the night in the wilderness.

    I’ll chime in. My Wife and I live in Texas, and we have a 12 & 4 year old Sons, and 22 month old Daughter. My Wife carries our Daughter in an Osprey carrier, which has a rain fly, and suncover. My 4 year old son can handle hikes up to 8 miles, but 6 miles is the limit before he gets cranky. My 12 year old is like us, he can handle whatever is thrown at him. We just relocated about 18 months ago from the NJ, and hiking has been a big part of our lives for many years, prior to having kids.

    Remember these rules always, and you’ll be fine:


    These are military and scout codes you must live by. Number one is self explanatory, number two makes you think. If you have 2 of something, 1 will break and leave you with 1. If you have 1 of something, it will still break and you’ll have none.

    Hydration: Camelback 100 ounce bladder carried in a Camelback small hydration backpack for me. My Wife has a 75 ouncer in her child carrier, and my boys carry their own 75 ouncers in their Camelback packs as well.

    Food: I carry 6-8 CLIF nutrition bars carried in my Camelback backpack with us at all times. Usually a variety of flavors, as they’re all about 240-260 calories, are extremely filling, and act as a high-calorie high-protein organic meal replacement. Also beef jerky (Jack Links) and a few tiny bags of trail mix.

    Everything else I’m going to list is carried in a Maxpedition Versipack, which is a hip pack that goes on either your left or right side, comes with it’s own belt, and has a thigh strap to prevent it from flapping. It is fully adjustable, waterproof, and you don’t notice its there, even when loaded out as follows:

    * Suunto Lensatic Compass with sighting mirror and declination tool

    * Topographic Map of wherever we are hiking

    * Bushnell 350 lumens tactical flashlight with high/low/strobe and spare batteries.

    * Victorinox (Swiss Army) multi-tool (has small knife blades, scissors, saw, etc.)

    * SOL Emergency Blanket

    * SOL Bivvy Shelter

    * Small First-Aid Kit w butterfly closures, aspirin, ibuprofen, band-aids, gauze, nitrile
    gloves, tweezers, etcetera.

    * Exotac waterproof match container with 20 UCO stormproof matches & striker

    * Coghlans Fire Steel rod (backup to matches).

    * UST (Ultimate Survival Tech) Fire cubes (4). They’re individually wrapped,
    inexpensive, and will start a fire no matter what condition it is outside.

    * 50 feet of Nylon Paracord (300 lb break strength), great for mending gear or making a
    shelter if needs be.

    * Princeton-Tec headlight with spare batteries. (backup to Busnell flashlight).

    * Small roll of electrical tape and duct tape. (Good for anything).

    The items above all fit in the hip pack, and you simply don’t go out hiking in anything larger than an urban park without them if you’re smart.

    Lastly, since we do Backcountry trails frequently where we’re out the whole day (12-14) hours hiking 14-16 miles in different elevations, with rock, etcetera, I recommend the following if you’re going to be pretty far out with no one but yourself to rely on, and large animals (threats) may be present:

    1. I carry an ESEE 6 fixed blade knife. Hands down, its the toughest, highest quality indestructible knife you can have. Great as a spear, chopping trees, processing wood, defending against animals or humans, and just great to have. I carry it in a kydex sheath with an pouch attached that has a third flashlight (stream light 150 lumens) a Bic lighter, a UST fire cube (1), and 10 UCO matches in a waterproof tin.

    2. I carry a Smith & Wesson .357 magnum revolver in a chest holster. Let me be clear, I do not hunt, never have, never will. But the fact is when you’re in a park like Yosemite, Smoky Mountains, Shenandoah, or Big Bend, and you’re in the middle of hundreds of thousands of acres.. you’re going to be in Bear country (Black/Brown/Grizzly) and Mountain Lion territory. I’ve never had to kill an animal, but I’ve had to fire a warning shot into the ground in front of an aggressive Black Bear more than once to get it to retreat and stop acting aggressively (bluff charging and popping it’s teeth to show its dominance).

    Before you judge me, it’s just my preference. I prefer to have a fighting chance of getting my Wife and kids out safely, rather than be mauled or consumed. If you’re carrying a firearm (make sure it’s legal in the state/ park you’re in), and make sure it’s at least a 45 caliber or higher, but a super-powerful .357 magnum or 44 magnum is going to be needed if you actually have to kill a Brown or Grizzly bear as they can be 600-1200 pounds and a smaller round just won’t do it.

    Don’t forget rain gear, good hiking boots (We use Salomans), and a trekking pole.

    Enjoy and Good Health !!!

  27. of all the items listed, I would suggest using baby or flushable wipes instead of toilet paper

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *