The ten hiking essentials, otherwise known as the ‘ten essentials’, are ten items that you should always carry on a hiking trip. Why are they called so? Because the ten essentials are basically survival items that many hiking organizations recommend strongly for safe travels in what is called the backcountry.
To be honest, packing the ten hiking essentials doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll use every single one of them—especially on routine trips to backcountries. It does, however, make sense to have all ten essentials in your possession as any unforeseen incident may bring about the need for an item. In other words, the ten hiking essentials could be very paramount to your survival on a hiking trip.
What are these ten essentials and how exactly do we make use of them? We outline the importance of every single item in a list. Here, you will get to understand the usefulness of each essential item, how they are grouped and the various selection options within your reach.
What are these great ten essentials anyway?
The number one item you’ll need for a trip should be a navigation tool. In a broad sense, this may only include a map and a compass. However, if you are more sophisticated than the average hiker, you could opt for an altimeter, GPS device, satellite manager or a PLB (fancy name for ‘personal locator beacon’).
In addition to maps, you could keep pieces of books that identify trails and landmark features that may be good for your trip. Know this, before you go out on a hiking trip, ensure you know how to adequately read a map or use a compass. There are lots of video tutorials you can watch online to further your learning.
All in all, this includes sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat (not necessarily in that order) to keep you prepared for all types of weather. Need we say sun-protective clothes as well? Anyways, the important thing is that you have a form of UV protection at all times, on whatever hiking trip you go on.
Keep in mind that your sunscreen should always be with you. On a hiking trip, your sunscreen may come off due to activities under the sun or in a creek. Therefore, you must keep a handy sunscreen product in your backpack.
One of the ten essentials, insulation simply means a form of protection against heat transmission from the ambiance. What does this mean exactly? It means you should get yourself something that keeps you warm. While an insulated jacket might work fine for a heat blast from the sun, it wouldn’t protect you much from precipitation or rain. In that case, you must prepare for wet conditions as it could ruin your insulated gears.
You’re not a bat, are you; no, of course not. In that case, you’re going to need some illumination tools. The main form of illumination devices used on such trips is headlamps. Always bring a headlamp! They can save you from tumbling down in dark corners and such. Also, if you’re going to spend the night camping on your hike, having a camp light isn’t so bad. A camp light can illuminate the area around you’re sleeping on.
A quick tip: Headlamps could die faster if left on in your backpack. Your batteries are important, and should they die on a trip—well, let’s hope that doesn’t happen. To avoid your batteries from running out of juice, flip one of its two batteries over so that it doesn’t use power until when needed.
First Aid Kit
A first aid kit has to have foot care and insect repellent. If you’re going to bring along a first aid kit (and you should) on a trip, you must know how to use every piece of the item within it Think about it: what’s the point of carrying an item around in your backpack that you don’t know how to use.
Remember, your first aid kit needs to be devoid of heavy objects. It should only contain the necessary items needed for immediate medical attention. You’ll need things like gauze, bandages, and whites. What’s better, you don’t even need a fancy first aid kit. If every item in your first aid kit fills up a water-sealed bag, then you’re good to go.
Water, yes, duh. Before you leave for your trip, we advise that you do some grounds research on the water sources available on the terrain. This way, you can know where to refill your water bottle. If there isn’t a water source, bring enough water for your trip. More water than the minimum expectation is always better. Bring more than enough water.
However, if you’re fortunate enough to have good water sources available on your trip, make sure you take the necessary measures and precautions. You can use one of either or both: water purification tablets or life straw. A life straw can be very helpful if you urgently need to hydrate and don’t want to wait the 30 minutes it takes for water purification tablets to activate.
Nutrition is also equally important. It doesn’t matter if you’re on a diet, you need food. The general rule of nutrition essential is to pack more food than the minimum expectation. In other words, you need to pack enough food to last you ‘one day longer’.
Hiking classics are cliff bars and breakfast bars. You don’t want to steer away from your regular diet. If you’re on keto, stick to keto food. The last thing you want to do is fall sick due to the change in diet. It can happen.
Fire Starter Kit
The wrong assumption is that matches are all you need for a fire starter kit. Ironically, they’re never enough to get a fire going. You’ll need to bring paper, lighter or a stove to help control the fire to derive much-needed warmth.
For your repair kit, you’ll need everything from knives, scissors, pliers, shovel/trowel, a screwdriver to duct tapes and cable ties. On a hiking trip, you never know what might get damaged. For example, you may need duct tape to seal leaks or a plier to fix your sleeping mat or something.
The most underrated of all, emergency blankets can be used for so many things. Not only are they great sources of heat, but they can also be a great source of shelter above you. Emergency blankets could also be used to line the floor of your tent. You can get super creative with emergency blankets. They round up the ten hiking essentials.
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