Friday, June 13, 2014

The Ten Essentials of Hiking

Ten Essentials of Backcountry Hiking
Chances are if you've done much hiking or backpacking, you've heard of The Ten Essentials. These are the ten things you always bring with you when hiking into the backcountry. The list was created in the 1930s by a group of climbers near Seattle called The Mountaineers. Today's updated list differs slightly from the original list created in the 30's, but only minimally. The purpose of today's list is exactly as it was in the 30s, "To answer two basic questions: First, can you respond positively to an accident or emergency? Second, can you safely spend a night—or more—out?" Even on a day hike, bad things can happen. Weather can turn quickly, an injury could occur leaving you unable to hike out, or you could simply get lost, to name but a few. Honestly, do I ALWAYS carry the 10 essentials on EVERY hike? No. But I do carry almost all of them on any hike in an area new to me, and always when I'm trekking even modest mileage in the backcountry. I'm going to briefly hit the whole list of ten in separate posts outlining some of the gear I use and suggesting anything I think you might find useful. Knowledge is probably even more important than gear, so simply brining some of these items along is not much good unless you know a little bit about how to use them. For now, let's just go over the list itself...

  1. Navigation (map and compass)
  2. Sun protection (sunglasses and sunscreen)
  3. Insulation (extra clothing)
  4. Illumination (headlamp/flashlight)
  5. First-aid supplies
  6. Fire (matches, lighter, tinder)
  7. Repair kit and tools
  8. Nutrition (extra food)
  9. Hydration (extra water)
  10. Emergency shelter
My next post will cover Navigation (map and compass) with a few brief tips about what compass to buy, how to use one, and where to find resources to learn better navigation skills.

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