THE 10 ESSENTIALS
The Ten Essentials
Every hiker need to know the ten essentials for any hiking trip or adventure.
- Navigation: this consists of map, compass, altimeter, GPS device, personal locator beacon (PLB) or satellite messenger
- Sun protection: sunglasses, sun-protective clothes and sunscreen
- Headlamp: always include some extra batteries
- First aid: comprising of foot care and insect repellent (as needed)
- Fire: matches, lighter, tinder and stove
- Knife: in addition to a gear repair kit
- Shelter: carried at all times
- Extra water
- Extra clothes
- Extra food
1) Navigation –
Contemporary navigation tools include a map, compass, personal locator beacon (PLB), altimeter watch, and GPS are the five important navigation tools.
- Map: You would need a detailed map or a topographic map. Hence, it is essential you study how to use a topographic map.
- GPS device: A GPS device helps you to pinpoint your actual location on a digital map. Most GPS devices used on the field or for mountain climbing are usually craggy and weather resistant. You could also use a smartphone with a GPS application. All you need to do is to protect the phone with an external casing. You also have to consider the fact that these devices use batteries, so ensure your battery is in order.
- Compass: A compass is essential. Gadgets like phones, watches, and GPS consists of electronic compasses. But this article recommends a standard baseplate compass. It is very light and does not depend on batteries; hence, it is an essential requirement. Try to find out how to use a compass.
Note: A compass equipped with a sighting mirror can also be used to flash sunlight to a helicopter or rescuer during an emergency. It is important to know that any compass fitted with a sighting mirror could be used as a rescuer in an accident.
- Personal locator beacon (PLB) or satellite messenger: These devices are used to forewarn emergency personnel in case you get into trouble. Once you trigger them during an emergency, your location would be discovered via GPS, and a message is automatically through the government or commercial satellites. They are very critical because they are very effective in secluded areas where there is no network coverage.
- Altimeter watch: An altimeter watch utilizes a barometric sensor to estimate the air pressure and GPS data to get your actual elevation. It also helps you figure out your exact location on the map. An altimeter watch is essential.
2) Sun-Protection –
You would need sunglasses, sun-protective clothes, and sunscreen. These would help protect your skin from untimely aging of the skin, skin cancer, sunburn, cataracts, etc.
- Sunglasses: This article recommends good sunglasses to protect your eyes from detrimental emissions. If you were hiking during winter, you would need darker snow glasses. It’s been proven that these emissions that cause sunburn can also cause cataracts. Ensure you have spare sunglasses.
- Sunscreen: Excessive exposure to the sun causes untimely aging of the skin, sunburn, and skin cancer. We advise that you apply sunscreen to help protect your skin from ultraviolet emissions.
- A formula that gives a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 is preferable.
- Use a formula that obstructs UVA and UVB rays.
Ensure you use the sunscreen all over your body, including the underside of your chin and nose. Use the sunscreen every two hours and also get the SPF-rated lip balm.
- Sun-protection clothing: They also help in preventing ultraviolet rays from getting to the skin even when you don’t apply sunscreen. A lot of weightless synthetic clothing has ultraviolet protection factors that protect your skin against UVA and UVB light. A hat is also a necessity.
3) Headlamp –
You would need a source of light at night. Most individuals prefer a headlamp. The reason is that it is worn on the head, and you can use your hands for other chores. Ensure you have some extra batteries with you.
4) First Aid –
A first aid kit is essential. Learn how to use a first aid kit. A standard first aid kit should contain different sizes of adhesive bandages, tapes, pain relieving tablets, numerous gauze pads, pen, and notepad, disinfecting ointment, nitrile gloves.
Also, include a kind of compact guide for handling some medical accidents.
5) Fire –
Ensure you know how to start and maintain a fire. Some individuals prefer disposable butane lighters while some others prefer matches. A fire starter can be defined as a tool used to start a fire. A good fire starter rapidly flares up and maintains the heat for a while. You could use dry wood put away in a plastic bag, old clothes, candles, etc.
You could use a stove or cooker if you can get firewood.
6) Knife –
Endeavor to include a knife in your backpack. A knife could be used to fix your gear, prepare food, etc.; hence, knives are essential.
There various kinds of knives, but the specific types you would need would be dependent on the group you are guiding. There is the simple foldout blade, two flathead screwdrivers, a pair of scissors, a can opener, etc.
A small gear repair kit is also important. The kit should consist of duct tape, cordage, fabric repair tape, zip ties, safety pins and repair parts for water, tent poles, stove, sleeping pad, crampons, snowshoes and skis.
7) Emergency shelter –
Endeavor to take along some sort of emergency shelter to keep you safe from the rain or wind. Ensure you are always with an ultralight tenting, blanket, bivy sack. You should always be with your tent.
8) Extra water –
Try to take along enough water. You could also go with your filter, chemical treatment, and stove for dissolving the ice. Ensure your water bottle is filled with water before starting your adventure.
9) Extra clothes –
Pack extra clothes. The weather condition might suddenly change, or an accident might occur. Hence, it’s important you take extra clothes along with you.
To decide the kind of clothes to pack, bear in mind that you would be spending a long dormant time in the woods. Pack underwear, head warmer, extra socks and gloves, a synthetic vest. If you are going hiking during winter, endeavor to bring insulation for your upper body and legs.
10) Extra food –
Pack surplus food because something might occur, the weather might be bad, or your journey might be prolonged. Snacks and dried fruits are highly recommended.
Pack excess food, if you are going on a very long walk or winter adventure.