The Ten Essentials

10 Essentials for Backpacking

Everything you need for safe backpacking: navigation, sun protection, insulation, illumination, first-aid, fire, repair kit, nutrition, hydration, and emergency shelter

If you’re headed in to the wilderness don’t be an idiot….be PREPARED! Shit can hit the fan….and it eventually will. Here are the 10 Essentials necessary for safe wilderness travel.

1. Navigation

Delorme PN-60 GPS
Topographic map and compass….and make sure you know how to use them. The time to learn is not when you’re lost in the wilderness. We always take a topo, compass, and GPS…you never know what could happen.

2. Sun Protection

Sunscreen and sunglasses….especially above treeline, or in the high desert.

3. Insulation

Layering is the easiest way to regulate your body temperature. Make sure to pack warm and waterproof clothing. Living in the Pacific Northwest I ALWAYS pack my Patagonia Torrentshell Jacket; it’s light enough and does an excellent job blocking wind and rain…and it didn’t cost an arm and a leg. Check the weather ahead of time and pack appropriately. It can get cold and windy especially at high elevations.

4. Illumination

A headlamp and/or a flashlight. Pack your headlamp for hands free light around camp and on the trail, but don’t forget to pack extra batteries.

5. First-aid supplies

And a couple Band-Aids don’t count. Make sure to pack a real first-aid kit with antiseptic wipes, neosporin, Band-Aids, tape, sterile gauze, pain-reliever, and butterfly bandages. If you’re taking your dogs make sure to pack for them too. Dove-Lewis Animal Hospital puts on a FREE clinic that discusses basic animal first-aid and gives great advice for trailside animal care. The next clinic is Nov. 3, 2012.

6. Fire

Bring multiple sources of firestarters. Lighter, waterproof matches, magnesium fire starters are all great and easy to use. We also take some strike-anywhere firestarters, which work great if you’re trying to get a fire started in wet conditions.

7. Repair kit

Knife, duct tape, needle and thread, multi-tool and whatever else you could see yourself needing to fix gear on the fly.

8. Nutrition

You need to eat. Make sure to pack extra and make it count, you never want to run out of food on the trail. Yes, you can pack chocolate…and I think you should, but don’t forget to pack some protein, fruit/veg and complex carbs. If you’re new to backpacking a great way to try a few different meals is with this Mountain House® Kit.

9. Hydration

You won’t last long without water…and getting giardia or some other waterborne parasite will put a damper on your trip, so pack a filter, SteriPEN, or purification tablets. You’re dog can get sick too, so be prepared to filter/treat their water too.

10. Emergency Shelter

If backpacking you’ll obviously have a tent or some other shelter device planned, but even on a daytrip accidents happen, so at the very least pack a reflective emergency blanket or bivy.



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