The 10 Essentials of Hiking

These are 10 survival items that are recommended for safe travel while out in the bush. These items are not just for people going on overnight trips but also for day hikers.

  1. Navigation
    Make sure you have a map and a compass and know how to use them or invest in a hand held GPS. This could be as simple as your phone or Garmin Inreach.

  2. Sun Protection
    When we think about sun protection most people think sunscreen but it's also important to protect your eyes. If you're spending a lot of time in exposed areas or where there is water or snow reflecting the sunlight you want to make sure you have a good pair of sunglasses. Long sleeve shirts which have ventilation will also help protect your skin from the sun, along with sun gloves for your hands. If you know the trail you are going to hike doesn't have any trees, you could consider carrying a reflectics umbrella which can be used to shade yourself when you take a break.

  3. Insulation
    It's always important to be able to keep your body warm even if you are not planning on stay out for the night. You never know what can happen out there. Think base layers, warm jacket and some sort of rain gear.

  4. Illumination
    Most mobile phones have a torch but you need to take something else which can provide light. Especially if you are using your phone for navigation and photos, you could find it runs out of charge and find yourself without light. Having a headlamp or some other form of light as a backup is a must.

  5. First aid supplies
    It is recommended that you have a minimal first aid supply stored in a waterproof bag to cover common basic injuries. For more serious injuries it's a good idea to have a Personal Locator Beacon or some form of communication

  6. Fire
    A simple BIC lighter is the easiest and most common source of creating fire while out hiking. You could consider a backup like waterproof matches in a waterproof bag.

  7. Repair kit
    Have a knife and patch repair kit to repair the equipment you are using on your hike.

  8. Nutrition
    It is recommended you have an extra day of food, just in case your trip takes a little longer than what you were planning or you run into trouble. If you are going on a day hike, this doesn't mean you need to carry a stove and a full meal, just double the amount of snacks you carry.

  9. Hydration
    You should know where to find a water source to be able to collect water while you are out there. Make sure you have some way to treat the water using a filter to ensure the water you are drinking is safe.

  10. Emergency shelter
    This could be a tarp, an emergency space blanket or even a large garbage bag.

Not everyone is going out doing overnighters but those of you who are doing day hikes should still make sure you are carrying the things that you need to keep you safe in case of an emergency. This is just a recommendation and some people may like to carry additional items for certain terrain or temperatures you are going to be in but it's a good place to start.

What's in my pack? Check out my 4 Day Ultralight Pack List



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