In honor and memory of my friend Steve Morris, this is my "10 essentials" post. I don't go anywhere in the backcountry, even on my daily 6 milers, without these 13 things. For one thing, the pack is great exercise, and keeps me in backpacking shape. More importantly, one never knows when things might go sideways even on a day hike, because of unexpected weather, a bad fall, or getting lost. If you need any convincing, read these:
My "Lucky 13" essentials, to help me and others:
1) Extra water (beyond what you expect to need)
2) Extra food
3) Extra clothing (one layer beyond what's expected)
4) Shelter (can be as simple as a mylar bivy sack, or much more for mountaineering)
5) Sun/rain protection, as needed
6) Communication (phone, two-way radio, satellite messager, sat phone, whistle, flagging tape, signal mirror, avalanche beacon. Carry several!)
7) Navigation (GPS, map/compass, trail maps on phone) Don't count on the phone GPS.
8) First aid supplies, according to your training
9) Tools (knife and simple repair tool, and ductape)
11) Fire starters
12) Wildlife protection (bear spray or tick/mosquito spray, as needed)
13) Hiking pole(s) (can be used as splints, crutches, signal flag pole, self-defense device)
Remember that if you plan to need a device, then carry a backup, or at least a change of batteries.
Since I'm a rescuer, I carry more stuff too, so that I can help somebody else in need.
What about you? What's your take on essentials?
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