Whether you are 5, 10, 25, or 100 miles from civilization or cell phone signal, most experts agree you should carry the 10 essentials. This packing list was designed by The Mountaineers to ensure that hikers could respond positively to an accident or emergency, and remain safe if forced to spend one or more nights out.
- Navigation (map & compass)
- Sun protection (sunglasses & sunscreen)
- Insulation (extra clothing)
- Illumination (headlamp/flashlight)
- First-aid supplies
- Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candle)
- Repair kit and tools
- Nutrition (extra food)
- Hydration (extra water)
- Emergency shelter (tent/plastic tube tent/garbage bag)
Details of the 10 Essentials can be found using the below links:
First Aid Kit Examples:
- How to make single-use packets (i.e. antibiotic cream) – Brian’s Blog + Update
- First aid kit and double purpose emergency items – Section Hiker Blog
- The Winter Hiker – an excellent resource for additional tips on gear, preparedness and techniques
- Snow Safety Courses – I can’t say enough good things about what Ned does to help keep hikers and backpackers safe in snow conditions. Through Mountain Education, he offers hands-on training on avalanche safety, hypothermia, snow condition travel, etc. His contribution to the PCT community is truly a gift. I’m looking forward to taking one of his classes next year.
- Wilderness First Aid – If you, a hiking partner, or someone you meet on trail is in need of first aid, you’ll want to help. Nothing is worse that feeling helpless. The First Responder class is highly recommended, but it is an 80-hour class, time most don’t have available. There are other options available with NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute (WMI) being the most recommended resource including Wilderness Basic First Aid, Advanced First Aid, and EMT courses. I plan on taking one of these classes also.
- Don’t depend on others for your emergency needs, be self sufficient!
- Revamp your kit based on weather, trip length, group composition, new medications, allergies, etc.
- Review your kit regularly, replace used items, replace batteries, etc.
- Be mindful of weight and dimensions of your kit; it can quickly add a pound or more to your base weight.
- Include a snack ziplock bag with your ID, $20, a list of your medications, allergies, vaccinations, emergency contact info, etc., your medical insurance card, and if driving your insurance ID and your car registration (don’t leave it in your vehicle at the trailhead).