You never know what you’ll run into on a backpacking trip; rain, snow, lightning, rockslides, dehydration, altitude sickness, and the aches and pains affiliated with hauling a 40-60 pound backpack along mountainous trails. Trekking into the wilderness will have to not be taken lightly because there are real dangers, but these may be mitigated with the following ten backpacking trip essentials.
1. Knowledge – Knowledge is power. Learn how to read a map and compass; make a fire in the rain or snow, with and without matches. Learn basic original aid. Take a survival course. The point is the more you recognise before you ever step foot on the trail the better your prospects of dealing with any emergency circumstance that occurs.
2. Map/Compass – Getting lost is not an option. Learn to use a compass and read a map in tandem. These two items may get you out of unfamiliar territory.
3. Lighter, matches, and a fire starter – Water proof matches and a lighter may come in handy but what happens if these don’t work. There are some sparking fire starters available at any number of outdoor stores. Get one, learn how to use it, and keep it in a safe place in your pack.
4. First support kit – Get one from your local outdoor store that is specific for backpackers. Make sure it holds pain relievers, bandages, anti-biotic ointment, anti-septic spray or ointment and a heap of form of allergy medicine. An Epi-pen may also be a good investment because an allergic reaction to a bug bite 20 miles in the wilderness may be deadly.
5. Foot care – Blisters may quickly fetch any backpacking trip to a painful halt if you don’t have the necessary treatment options. Moleskin and a needle must both be included in your basi support kit to care for any blisters.
6. Water – Dehydration is not something you want to experience. Make sure your filter is in working order before you hit the trailhead. Even then it may break or quit working so have iodine tablets as a backup because while dehydration is not fun neither is giardia.
7. Rain gear – No matter where you are going always carry dependable rain gear. Hypothermia sets in fast if you get wet and is one of the biggest causes of wilderness deaths.
8. Shelter – Whether you use a tent, tarp, or bivy sack you need a way to get out of the elements. Learn how to use which ever shelter you do use so that you may set it up quickly.
9. Sleeping bag – Where you are going and what time of year will support determine what kind of bag you need. Down sleeping bags are the warmest for what they weigh but lose their insulating capacity if they get wet. For camping in wet nasty conditions it may be best to have a synthetic bag.
10. Tailor your gear for where and when you are going – Quite plainly this means take stock of where you are going, how long you will be gone, and the weather conditions you are likely to experience and custommake your gear list to that.
Planning in front will keep surprises on the trail to a minimum. You don’t want to be 10 miles down the trail and find out you forgot something that you will in truth need.
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Saturday, December 10th, 2011 at 3:40 pm