• M. J. Wild

14 Essentials For Your Day Pack

Updated: Dec 5, 2020

1. Water - Always make sure you have plenty of water. Drink lots of water before, during and after your hike. I bring a camel pack that holds about 1 liter of water. My partner brings a camel pack that holds 2 Liters. Depending on the time of year, temperature and length of your hike will depend on how much water you will need.

2. Snacks - Bring a couple cliff bars, granola or some dried fruit with you. You will burn a lot of calories on your hike. Make sure you have something to recharge yourself. No need to go overboard with snacks, just enough to maintain energy. I like to bring my JetBoil and have some hot tea or even a hot meal on some of my longer hikes.

3. Rain gear - It could be sunny and beautiful at the beginning of your hike, but once you reach the summit it could be a different story. The weather can change very quickly, don't get caught in a downpour unprepared. Without rain gear you can end up very wet and could, which could lead to hypothermia in some cases. Pack a light rain jacket and rain pants. Frogg Toggs are a great option and are inexpensive and light.

4. Extra socks - I always bring a pair of extra socks. Either I pack them in my pack or leave them in my car. I always end up slipping into a stream or stepping in some deep, wet mud. It never fails. Once my hike is over there is nothing better than putting on some dry socks!

5. Light jacket - It can be pretty chilly and windy on those mountain tops. After sweating on the way up, you will cool off very quickly and will want something warm to put on. A warm hat and gloves is also always a good idea.

6. Hat - Always bring or wear a ball cap. It will protect you from the harsh rays of the sun. You can get sunburn very easily at the summit. If you are going to do a winter hike you are still going to want to wear a hat and sunscreen. Just because it's cold outside doesn't mean you cant get a sunburn. Bring a warm hat to wear as well. It can get cold very quickly and most of your heat loss is going to escape from your head. Even during the summer months it's a good idea to pack a warm hat.

7. Sunglasses - It can be pretty bright on those high up mountain tops. Make sure your eyes are protected from those rays.

8. First aid kit - Things happens! Make sure you have a basic first aid kit handy. Cuts and scrapes can happen very easily. Bandages and antiseptic ointment are essential.

9. Lip Balm - If you get dehydrated your lips will start to chap. Add a windy mountain top into the mix and yours lips are going to be angry. Save your self some discomfort and pack yourself some lip balm.

10. Toilet paper or cloth - When you got to go, you got to go and when your out in the woods there's not always a toilet near by. Walk out about 200 feet from the trail and dig a cat hole. Do your business in the cat hole and bury it. This helps the decomposition process faster and eliminates fowl smells or sights for other hikers. Try to use biodegradable toilet paper and if you just need to pee you can use a cloth. A lot of hikers use a pee cloth. It's more environmentally friendly.

11. Fire starter - You never know what could happen. If you get stranded out in the woods, make sure you have something to start a fire. I bring a lighter, water and windproof matches and for a fire starter. I use a empty toilet paper roll and dryer lint. It works great!

12. Emergency Shelter - If you get stranded out in the woods you're also going to want a place to stay safe from the wind and rain. Pack a emergency shelter, it doesn't have to be anything fancy just something to protect you in a emergency.

13. Body Glide- This stuff can make your hike go from miserable to enjoyable. If you're prone to chaffing just rub some of this stuff on before you get dressed and you won't have to worry about irritating and uncomfortable rubbing. Definitely a key item!

14. Other Non-essential items - Cell phone for taking pictures and using trail apps. Battery pack to keep your phone charged and ready to go.

There ya go, 14 items never to leave when you're going out on a hike. I tend to be a little over prepared at times, but I'd much rather have what I need than not have something when I need it most.

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