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The Ten Essentials

By Brian J. Lane

Okay folks. If we’re going to go out and enjoy the great outdoors, we’ll need to start with the ten essential items that you should always carry with you on the trail. Carrying these supplies is sure to help in keeping you safe while you’re out hiking and enjoying the great outdoors.

Water: This is the most important item to take with you on any hike. You’ll need a minimum of one quart of water for every hour you plan to hike, (more if you’ll be hiking in the heat of summer). Be sure to mix in some sport drinks with electrolytes too.

Food: Take whatever snack foods appeal to you. Energy bars, trail mixes, and GORP (good old raisins and peanuts) are hiking favorites. When it is hot, saltier snacks help reduce sodium loss.

First-Aid provisions: Always carry a simple first aid kit - including blister treatment supplies.

Compass: Be sure you learn the basics on how to use it.

Topographic Map: Unless it is a simple and popular trail that you’ve hiked before, a decent map of the area is necessary.

Trail Description: Goes along with the topo map for unfamiliar trials.

Sun Protection: This includes sunglasses, sunscreen, and a wide-brimmed hat (and make sure you use them all).

Flashlight: For those times that you’re caught on the trail after dark, and you can use it for signaling.

Safety Whistle: Another form of signaling device for emergencies (cell phones still do not work in many places outside of populated areas).

Extra Clothing: Know the weather forecast and bring extra layers accordingly. Be prepared if you must spend the night on (or off) the trail.

Hike Smart & Have Fun!

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