The Ten Essentials Four

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The Ten Essentials Four

Also, if you shop with prudence, these essential gear items can be lightweight, as well. Always carry a detailed map of the area you will be visiting. If alpine scrambling or otherwise navigating cross-country consider the 7.5 minute USGS maps--they reveal considerable detail. For traveling on trails, the 15 minute series Green Trails is a good choice, among others. The point is to carry a map appropriate for the area you will be in and the activity you will be undertaking--and know how to use it.! Carry a compass, at all times, in the backcountry--and know how to use it ! The following compass is lightweight and would be the minimum you would want to carry. This would suffice as an emergency gear item while backpacking entirely on trails. Suunto A-30 L; weighs 1 oz, 0 to 360 degrees in 2 degree increments; liquid-filled with straight-edge. Suunto MC-2G Navigator; weighs 2.6 oz, has all the features itemized above, plus luminous bezel and markings.


Flashlights and/or Headlamps are important even on day trips. You never know when you might need to spend the night or make that last mile or so after sunset. Here's some features to look for: - lights which are water resistant--they function reliably in all weather. Look for rubberized bulb housing and battery compartments, or at least adequate rubber gaskets. Avoid lights with on/off switches which can accidentally be turned-on as it is jostled about in your pack. Also, always carry several spare bulbs--they are light. It's a good idea to carry a small lightweight hand-held light in addition to a headlamp. In the hand held light use a regular bulb which requires less battery juice than the bright-beam bulbs. Use this light for simple around the camp chores, to conserve batteries. In the headlamp, use a halogen (or other bright-beam bulb) and use this light when you are path finding or otherwise require a bright beam. Photon Micro Light; (the one I use), weighs 7 grams.


Whenever you go out, even for a day trip, bring extra food in case you are delayed by emergencies, foul weather, or just get lost. The mountaineers suggest a one-day supply. At the very least, bring one good meal more than what you need. The food should require little or no cooking. If your extra food will require cooking, make sure you also carry extra fuel for your stove. In addition to the basic layers you would normally take on an outing, bring extra clothing which would get you through an unplanned bivouac through the worst conditions you might come up against. Extra clothing means a little extra beyond what you would normally carry, just in case of emergencies. Suggestions for the basic kinds of clothing that you should be carrying on "ALL" hikes can be found here! For Day Hikes only, click here! In addition to the extra clothes, carry an emergency shelter such as a waterproofed tube tent or mylar Space Bag (or blanket).


The Space Bag only weighs about 2.5 ounces but will completely encase you and keep you warm and dry. Another option is a VBL (vapor barrier liner ) like the Western Mountaineering "Hot-Sac" VBL. The VBL can be used on a regular basis to add warmth to your sleeping bag as well as serve as an emergency shelter. It's a little heavier than the Space bag -- 6.5 ounces. Healthy eyes are critical for safe backcountry travel. In addition to packing an adequate supply of prescription contact lenses or eyeglasses (if required), proper consideration of sun protection for your eyes is of utmost importance. Your eyes can experience damage from the intensity of mountain skies, ultraviolet rays, and light reflecting off of snow. As elevation increases so does the intensity of ultraviolet rays. Adequate eye protection is a must! Bolle' makes a lightweight pair of glasses with a virtually indestructible polycarbonate lens. They are optically correct and have emerald green lens for true color.