Slow and Steady Hikers Message Board › THE PERSONAL TEN ESSENTIALS (+1)
Disclaimer: This text was compiled from various internet sources.
Every time you go outdoors hiking, scrambling or mountaineering you should have these ten essential (+1) in your pack. I always see organizers posting trips with “mandatory” gear and the hikers showing up with small packs that cannot hold even half of the items on the list.
ALL members of an outing’s group must be individually prepared for the inevitable unexpected situations requiring stranding in one place.
The pooling of this personal equipment carried by each individual such as a foot square insulating summer "shorty pad" or extra clothing layers may help save the life of a member of the group. Simply advising people to carry "Supplies" is irresponsible.
+1. Common Sense
Good judgment saves more people than any equipment. Poor judgment kills. If dark clouds are approaching, go home. If your heel feels hot, stop hiking. Obey signs and guidelines and think about what you are going to do before you do it.
The word "touron" is used by National Park employees - it is a combination of "tourist" and "moron" - don't be one.
This includes having your trek plan and leaving a copy of it with a friend at home.
1. Navigation & Communication
Added to the obligatory topo map of the area with a UTM Coordinate grid and the base plate declination adjusted compass must be the ability to use them together. This requires simple training, study, and practice. Navigating with a map alone is also a necessary skill. Attach a whistle to your compass lanyard. Almost everyone will add an accurate current GPS receiver. Learn to "use map, compass and GPS together". A "smart phone" simply does not replace your map, compass and GPS!
Carry your common digital cell phone in a warm pocket! Expensive "GPS Navigation Program Applications" are not helpful or necessary. Several cell phones in a group are far better than one. Call rescuers on your cell phone and give them your exact UTM coordinates read from your map alone or from your GPS, your current condition and proposed plans.
If you cannot "call" 911 an option for many is to carry a “Personal Locator Beacon 2 Way Satellite Messenger” which can give your family, friends or SAR your exact geographic Lat-Lon location from the on-board GPS and also a way to send text messages from the most remote locations.
2. Sun Protection
Serious sun glasses and a lotion sunscreen are an obvious addition to a pack. Sun protection should come from SPF 35 (minimum) sun screen lotion, sun glasses, and long sleeves, gloves and hat rated for strong sun. Have a sun skirt on the hat or wear a bandana under the hat and over your neck and ears.
3. Insulation (extra clothing)
This brings us to extra clothing - the most essential of the list. The weather can change in a very short time, leaving people shivering in shorts on a 10,000 foot summit and vulnerable to rain, sweat and wind induced hypothermia. Hiking fast may keep your body heat up, until you "bonk" or "run out of gas" (glycogen), or have to hike slowly with others, go slow to find your way or have to stop and tend an injured companion or stranger, becoming stranded overnight.
Cotton clothing, soaked in sweat, dew, rain or melted snow, loses 70% of its insulating value by conduction and evaporation and has caused the frostbite injury or death of too many people.
Synthetic layers of polypropylene, fleece and Goretex are the equivalent to the wool underwear, pants, shirts, sweaters and coated nylon jackets of the 1970s and before. Polypro, fleece and softshells and Goretex had not been invented in the 1960s when Everest was first summited. However, climbers all used layers, 1. to wick body moisture, 2. to adjust insulation and 3. to cut off wind and/or rain and wet snow. Remember, layers must be “pealed” to avoid sweat soaked clothes! All of this essential seasonal sized personal clothing and equipment must be accommodated inside a light, simple, sturdy day/summit pack large enough to hold it. Garments or equipment tied to the outside are likely to catch on something
A small 3oz led headlamp can assist in finding a lost or injured person. Also, many hiking groups have returned to the trailhead after dark.
5. First-Aid Supplies
A first aid kit sized to the trip is a must. First aid supplies can fit in a Ziploc baggie and should deal with cuts and scrapes with small and large Band-Aids, Neosporin and mole skin. In June and July, add mosquito repellent for the woods. Have YOUR OWN OTC pain medication for that broken ankle. Weight can be 4 ounces. Don't forget the toilet paper!
Waterproof matches and a fire starter can be combined in an adjustable propane pocket lighter. Remember, when you most need a fire, it will be windy, wet and cold. Do not depend on being able to start a fire. Learn how to stay warm without a fire. Don't try to be a "survivalist".
7. Repair Kit and Tools
A small knife should be light and sharp - a tool kit knife is heavy and of little use. I carry the smallest Swiss Army knife and six feet of duct tape.
8. Nutrition (extra food)
Extra food should be carbohydrates in the form of easily digested quick acting fat-free food, jelly filled breakfast bars or ClifBars - with a bit of protean to aid utilization. Glycogen (sugar or starch) is the one essential fuel that must be replaced during a hard hike or climb or an unexpected cold wet night under a tree - most people have ample stores of the other essential muscle fuel: fat.
9. Hydration (extra water)
Add extra water or the equipment to obtain it (stove for snow or a filter for summer), to your list. In the summer you may need to drink a 4 liters per day. In the winter you may be able to get by with 2 liters if you are careful not to sweat. Use electrolyte replacement. Use Nalgene or Platypus plastic bags or bladders. Purification tablets take too much time, particularly in ice cold water.
10. Emergency Shelter
Emergency shelter can range from a simple 9oz survival blanket to a 2lb emergency bivy sack.
Have a safe day ... out there!