As I mentioned earlier, you do not need a lot to get started. However, if you are venturing out for longer trips
and away from civilization, you do need to carry some stuff. Most of the stuff I list below, you will most likely
already have at home. There is no need to run out at this point and spend a lot of money on expensive, high-tech
– Water and Extra Water
If you take one thing, take water. A human being can survive a few days without food but not very long without water.
So it is critical to have enough. The best way is to get a waterbottle or 2 , maybe a liter each. You can buy
some bottled water or just take a water bottle from home. Sometimes, I like to add some lemon or lime and a bit
of good quality sea-salt – tastes great and replenishes electrolytes.
Food is a vast topic and I have written a bit about and will write a lot more. However, it is good to have a high-calorie
snack such as
– Pita with Peanut butter
– Cheddar cheese
– Dried mangos
– GPS or map or compass or some navigational aid
If you are venturing into territory that you are not familiar with, it is good to have some navigation aid and
knowledge on how to use them. These days, many phones have a built in GPS. However, make sure to download a map
of the area you are going to since you may not get cell phone signal. Also, have a backup plan if the battery dies.
Paper maps, analog compasses etc can help
– First Aid kit
I remember a time when I was the only person in a party of 3 with a first-aid kit and someone started getting a blister
very early on in the trip. If I didnt have a kit with moleskin in it, that trip may have to be cut short.
What ended up happening was that this person put on moleskin on her blister hot spot and was able to proceed further
and we had a successful trip. The first-aid kit doesn’t need to be too complicated for shorter trips , close to help
but if you are going further afield, make sure you have adequate supplies. I will cover this at a later date.
As Dogulas Adams said in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, “a towel is about the most massively useful thing an
interstellar hitchiker can have.”. Well, a bandanna is a very useful thing that you as a earthbound hiker
can have 🙂 . Some uses:
– Sun protection/head protection
– Breathing mask
– Washcloth / Towel
– Water filter
and literally hundreds of potential uses more
– Firestarter of some kind, matches, lighter, a bit of tinder
This can be handy to have in a survival situation if you need to get a fire going. Leave no trace asks us to minimize
starting fires wherever possible but nothing beats sitting around a nice, hot campfire on a chilly evening and looking
at the stars.
– Some extra clothes
Rain jacket, insulating layers (fleece, down jacket), gloves if its fall or winter, hats, a pair of dry socks if your
feet get wet ..stuff like that. I will write a lot more about this.
– Flashlight / headlamp or other lightsource
If you happen to run late and it starts getting dark, this is essential to have and I highly recommend that you carry it
every time you venture out in the wilderness. Make sure the batteries are new-ish and work before you start your hike.
– Sunglasses/sun protection
If you are above tree-line, in the snow or in the sun, these are essential
– Garbage bags
Multiple uses, shelter in a pinch, liner for backpack in case of rain, carry your trash out (leave no trace)
I will expand on this stuff in future posts but this should get you started!
Let me know if you have anything else that you bring with you that you consider as an essential!