Adapted from the Ten Hiking Essentials by the American Hiking Society
[A.H.S. 10 Essentials]
1. Map and Compass: A map can help you pinpoint your location and determine how far you have to go, find campsites, water, and an emergency exit route in case of an accident. A compass can help you find your way through unfamiliar terrain, especially in bad weather where you can't see the landmarks. Using only a map, or only a compass, is significantly less useful.
2. Whistle which is exceptionally loud - to aid rescuers in locating you. SOS = 3-short, 3-long, 3-short.
3. Water and a way to purify it. Your body’s muscles and organs perform better with water; and you’ll be less susceptible to hypothermia, altitude sickness and thirst.
4. Extra Food. Should you be out on the trail longer than you expected (lost, with an injury, having changed your route for variable reasons, trail more difficult than anticipated, or just because you relaxed by the lake longer than usual), a few ounces of extra food intake will keep your energy level up and help to maintain your morale.
5. Rain Gear and extra clothing. The mountains can create weather of their own, and you may find yourself in rain or snow unexpectedly anywhere, anytime; and the weather forecast may change. Especially above treeline, bring along extra layers. Always avoid cotton (it holds moisture next to your skin) and always carry a hat. Also, always carry an emergency blanket. KenzViewz: At minium, the thin grade of space blanket / thermal blanket / first aid blanket. It folds up to a tiny hand size packet.
6. Firestarter and matches. A fire/smoke can be used to signal for help if you are injured or lost. Hypothermia may be prevented by the warmth of a fire and a hot drink
7. First aid kit. You can make your own or purchase a prepackaged first aid kit for hikers are available at retail stores. Increase your ability to use the kit effectively by taking a basic first aid class, available through the Red Cross or many hiking organizations.
8. Knife or multi-purpose tool aids you in making repairs on gear, fixing broken eyeglasses and in providing first aid, such as cutting strips of cloth into bandages, cutting moleskin, removing splinters.
9. Flashlight and extra batteries will help you find your way in the dark when you stayed out longer than you expected or aid in signaling for help. KenzViewz: Light: critical for first-aid in dark. Weather proof unit, LED pref'd over bulb type. I'd rather a smaller light with spare batteries than a larger with no spares. Know how to change batteries in total darkness. A second, tiny LED, key-chain type light on jacket zipper as backup.
10. Sun protection: sun screen, sunglasses and hat help protect you from sunburn, skin scorching and when on the snow, snowblindness.