Pack it up, hike smart and enjoy the day

Going on a hike?  If so, it is good to be prepared when going on a Trail TREK. A small hike to me still warrants a day pack with essentials. No matter what, you should never go out without being

Backpack

I use a Gregory pack for my longer hikes.

prepared. 

I have made it a habit of packing essential items to take with me on hikes, short or long, here in the western mountains of North Carolina. It is probably the same for most locations, but each place has its specialty items to make the hike easier or safer.

Hiking, for me, allows me to be close to nature. I love the outdoors, and many times, I trek without a hiking partner most of the time but prefer to have someone to chat with on the treks. This is not ideal in most cases, but not many people like to hike, so often times I go it alone. 

There have been times that I thought it was not a good idea to push it, like crossing a stream with higher water, going up the mountain knowing a storm is close, pushing the distance when you feel more fatigued than other days, or heading into uncharted territory. You just use common sense. You also need to be aware of your surroundings, and if you do head out as a loner, give someone your itinerary.

Here’s a list of essentials I have put together for a hike. Keep in mind there are many variations, so feel free to email me if you think one should be added.


What is in the pack?

Navigation
•    Topographic map/s of the area you are to hike.
•    Altimeter if you are hiking severe elevation.
•    Regular compass and possibly a GPS with topographical base maps. I have a Garmin.

Sun/Bug Protection
•    Insect repellent or a bug hood
•    Sunscreen
•    Lip balm
•    Sunglasses
•    Hat

Clothing
•    Liner gloves and regular gloves (cold weather option for liner gloves)
•    Light jacket
•    Winter jacket
•    Base layer hoodie
•    Spare boot socks (seasonal)
•    Your selection of clothing

Illumination
•    Headlamp (carried either by strap, clamp or connected, somehow)
•    Light flashlight

First Aid
•    Survival kit
•    Space blanket

Fire
•    Lighter
•    Matches with waterproof carrier

Other Needs
•    Fire knife
•    Multi-use tool
•    Whistle
•    Purification tablets
•    Tinder
•    Duct tape (just enough to use)
•    550 cord
•    Hand cleaner
•    Rubber bands
•    Solar charger (small one or possible a larger one)
•    Charger pack if you are only going for a couple of days

Food
•    Trail snacks
•    Cooking system or something close
•    Spork or east eating utensils
•    Food (your choice)
•    Beer can (cooker if needed)

Hydration
•    A sterile pen or pills for water, possibly a filter
•    Hydration bladder and/or bottles
•    Drink mixes for electrolytes

Shelter
•    Ground pad (air or one with good padding)
•    Sleeping bag (I have a Marmot, but your choice)
•    Tent (again your choice)

Other Stuff
•    Hiking poles
•    Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, powder, floss)
•    Baby wipes
•    Trash bag/s
•    Bear spray
•    Bear bells
•    Camera

Stuff to Throw in the Car
•    Extra food
•    Extra water
•    Day pack for shorter hike
•    Extra mug
•    Clean T-shirt, pants, shoes and underwear for the ride home

These are just a guideline and every hiker and outdoorsman will approach this in a different way to accomplish their goal. Just be prepared and take no risks plus, bring in what you pack out and leave no hot fires.

Trek on!