Each day, thousands of people head off into the woods, up the mountains, or across a desert. Where you are going, what you'll be doing, and how long you will be there will dictate how you should pack for the trip. But, in the name of safety and preparedness, there are some essentials you should never leave home without. Today we will look at the "Ten Essentials", the basics which can make or break your trip; to put it mildly.
Wondering what to bring hiking? Even if you’re only planning to be out for a few hours on a day hike, it’s important to pack some essential items. Weather can change quickly outdoors, and something as simple as a rolled ankle might mean you’re out longer than expected.The essentials for hiking and camping (or any activity in the backcountry) are often called “The 10 Essentials.” The 10 essentials list below is adapted from Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills, which groups the essentials into systems.
Before You Start Packing
Look at the large selection of packs in any outdoor store and you’ll see there are dozens of styles to choose from. Some are designed for specific activities like mountain biking or trail running, some are more versatile and will adapt to different adventures. Think of how you’ll use the pack most often, and if you’ll need it to function for one activity or many.
The 10 Essentials (Plus 1):
Bring a topographic map and a compass. If you also carry a GPS, it’s still important that you know how to navigate by map and compass. An altimeter is optional but useful, since it gives your approximate elevation to help you figure out your location on the map. Make sure maps are in a waterproof case.
Ever get hangry? It’s not fun – especially if you’re delayed or are dealing with an outdoor emergency. Bring extra food, like high-energy bars and dry food that could get you through one extra day. (And if someone forgets their lunch, you’ll be the food hero.)
Carry water and additional water (about 1–2L more as a general guideline, though this varies greatly depending on weather and scenario) to cover you for extra time outside. Some people bring water bottles while others prefer a hydration bladder. A way to treat water – like tablets or filters – is also a good idea. Electrolyte drink crystals are highly recommended.
4. Sun Protection
Sunscreen is a good start – also remember sunglasses, lip balm, a hat with a nice wide brim, and clothing that provides protection from the sun’s rays. Even if there’s snow on the ground, you can still get sunburned.
Even if it seems warm at the trailhead, you should always carry extra clothing. Weather can change quickly and unpredictably, especially in the mountains or if you end up out longer than planned. Dry clothes can be the difference between a few laughs and hypothermia. Think: jacket, gloves, hat, extra socks and waterproof outer layers.Tip: Learn about clothing layers for being active outside.
Each person in your group should have their own LED headlamp (or flashlight), along with spare batteries. Even on a day hike, a delay might keep you out until sunset and beyond. Note: the flashlight on your smartphone is not an acceptable substitute – plus it uses precious battery life in an emergency.
7. First Aid Supplies
The size of the first-aid kit you bring depends on the number of people, length of the trip, how far you’re going, and the level of risk for your trip. Before you go, make sure you’ve restocked all items and that nothing has expired. Items to always include in your first-aid kit are: protective gloves, bandage, scissors, blister dressings, pocket mask and SAM splint. Bug spray is also recommended.
8. Fire Starter
Matches (waterproof or in a waterproof container) or a lighter along with a commercial fire starter and/or a candle. A small folding saw is invaluable for fire and shelter building situations.
9. Repair Kit and Tools
Bring items like a multi-tool, scissors, knife, duct tape, cable ties, screwdriver, pliers and little shovel/trowel. Yes, you can use tools to slice apples for lunch, but they’re also handy for first-aid, minor repairs, building fires and shelters, and other random things that come up.
10. Emergency Shelter
If you’re on an overnight trip, you likely already have a tent and sleeping bag. But even if you’re on a day hike, it’s still important to bring something for emergencies. You can use a large orange plastic bag combined with an emergency blanket or use a pre-made emergency bivy bag. Crawl inside to stay warm and dry; the orange colour attracts attention and is highly visible.
11. Communication Device
Finally, bring your fully-charged phone and keep it turned off in a waterproof case or bag to save batteries. Also carry a whistle – if you need to call out, it lasts longer than your voice.For remote terrain beyond cell phone coverage, you may also want to carry satellite communication devices that allow you to send messages or summon help in an emergency.
Originally posted on MEC Learn
(Sunday, May 15, 2022)
Unfortunately, today's hike had to be cancelled, but it has been rescheduled for Sunday, June 5th. Next week's hike, the BV Waterfalls Hike will take us to the tip of the Beaver Valley and then we will turn back North to start up along the West side of the valley. During that trip, we will pass Eugenia Falls and Hoggs Falls, two of Ontario's prettiest waterfalls.The last ever, Defy Gravity: Learn to Climb, event is scheduled to take place on Saturday, May 28th at 6:30pm at Gravity Climbing Gym in Hamilton, Ontario. This will be the very last time NAC can host this event. We have 16 participants registered and fully paid, but there are still 4 vacant spots. I will extend the registration deadline to May 21st in hopes to fill the 4 remaining spots. If you would like to register, please do so quickly!And lastly, our 2022 Expedition will be a trip to Manitoulin Island. There, we will set up our base camp in a great little AirBnB in Little Current, Ontario. After settling in, we will take a day to complete the Cup & Saucer Trail, a very well known Ontario trail that was closed for many years do to land access problems. With a minor reroute, the trail has been re-opened and ready for us to explore. After that, we will head North to complete one of Ontario's most challenging trails, The Heaven's Gate Trail. It will take us 4 days and we will camp in Northern Ontario's wilderness for 3 nights. The area we will be trekking through is one of Canada's Dark Sky Preserves and so, with clear skies, we will be able to view amazing star clusters and even the Northern Lights. There are 3 out of 10 spots remaining for this trip, so get your spot now!
That's all the news for this week. As always, stay safe, and happy hiking!Lenny BurchNiagara Adventure Club