Skip to main content

A few weeks ago I was hiking on a high peak very close to a large metro area. The peak sees a lot of foot traffic being as it is the highest summit in a very popular National Park.

The trail is a superhighway of footpaths, wide enough for two people to walk beside each other or pass easily, stepped up with rocks or retaining logs. Many people just use the first few miles of the trail for a jog or to get exercise. The first few thousand feet of elevation gain are easy enough.

I felt some rain drops at 8:30 in the morning, but not to worry, thundershowers don't usually develop at the earliest until noon. Even then if you can wait them out they are soon over. Before 11;00 the rain became steady, and I met the rangers hustling on down from the high bivy spot, making remarks about the rain. Unconcerned I waited under a tiny overhang of a boulder for the rain to let up. It didn't.

I started down, no use heading up in the rain. By the time I got down to 12,000 feet it was really raining, I had my cheap milsurp XXL raincoat over my head and over my day pack. Then it started to hail. In thirty seconds they were big enough to hurt. Nowhere to go above treeline. I passed a couple, the woman was on her belly squeezing under a rock, the guy beside her, using his back pack to shield his head. His shoulders were taking a beating.

The hail didn't let up but it didn't get too big also. Biggest ones were the size of mothballs. I had a hand up under my hood to give a space between my rain coat and my bald spot. The hail hurt the back of my hand. Stung pretty bad when a big one connected.

Photo Ansel Adams via wiki, trail is roughly L of center then cutting back across the snowy peak right of Longs.

I kept walking, fast. In the mountains nothing cures like losing elevation. The trees were close but too small, nothing you could get under. It all stopped at some time before I reached real trees. Twenty minutes is a long time for an intense hail storm. The trail was ankle deep in an ice water slush of tiny ice cubes.

The walking was softer on the slushy ice but my boots aren't new and I was getting leakage. There were many other people on the trail, all of us walking as quickly as we could to get down. Down out of the cold air, out of the icy slush.

I noticed less than half of the people even had a rain coat. I was the only person wearing boots, everyone had some sort of hiking sneakers that everyone wears now. People's feet were very cold and wet. Many were wet all over, but walking fast no shivering. I looked carefully at everyone I saw, prepared to give my coat and sweater to anyone dangerously cold. In those conditions any accident could turn serious very quickly.

I was amazed at how unprepared most people were despite hundreds of dollars in hydration systems, and GPSs, and competitive mountain running shoes, and trekking poles, and god knows what else. If they'd just thrown a plastic trash bag in their packs they'd of been able to pull it over themselves,  poke a hole for their head, and be dry. Plastic ponchos cost a coupla bucks.

I guess I'm over prepared. I can last a night out if uncomfortably.

For a simple day hike on a well traveled trail I bring.

A two quart water bottle, (gallon for a long hike)
Fleece sweater
Rain coat
two ways to start a fire
cell phone
roll of athletic tape
bear spray
Space blanket

Off trail, far away from other people, (my preferred habitat), I add
Emergency locator beacon
hooded fleece jacket

Extras that I don't need but I sometimes bring for fun
tiny stove
instant coffee, tea, and bullion cube soup
peanuts or an orange
Yes I know there is no compass on the list and a map is only for fun. Oh well, I'm old, don't get lost much anymore. I don't need food. I can and have gone many days without and all I was is hungry.

What do you bring where you live?

Originally posted to ban nock at DKos on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 06:07 AM PDT.

Also republished by Scouts and Scouters and DK GreenRoots.


I like to go hiking

7%7 votes
29%29 votes
63%63 votes

| 99 votes | Vote | Results

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Having been for a day hike in the Black Hills (14+ / 0-)

    which turned into a rough overnight without water, food, shelter or adequate clothing, I heartily endorse your list.

    Shit really does happen.

    I live under the bridge to the 21st Century.

    by Crashing Vor on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 06:24:52 AM PDT

  •  It depends (11+ / 0-)

    On where I hike and how far and the weather conditions. From deep snow requiring gaiters and layers to desert where water is 90% of the added weight/bulk. Usuallly have map, knife, athletic tape, instant ice pack, fruit and or protein bar, phone (more for pics since there typically is no signal available, although a text may go thru) kleenex, space blanket and of course water. I always wear waterbroof boots, even on desert hikes, and wicking clothes. Wet feet make me sad.

    It's easy to be a libertarian if your finances are secure, you have good healthcare and your future is bright.

    by Cecile on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 06:36:04 AM PDT

  •  My list is like yours (10+ / 0-)

    maybe some extra socks, wool sweater, and always a trash bag or two!

    Add Benadryl, bee sting capsules, bandaids, Neosporin, Ace bandages for my ankles. Tissues, toilet paper and ziplock bags. Nuts, dried fruit. Water. ID.
    Always prepared!

  •  I mostly hike in the desert, so good tweezers (12+ / 0-)

    are a must -- cactus spines! First aid: lip balm, antiseptic cream, moleskin.

    Taking off Monday for two weeks camping in the high country, so my list is considerably longer!

    stay together / learn the flowers / go light - Gary Snyder

    by Mother Mags on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 06:52:01 AM PDT

  •  here in Florida, I usually have a backpack with me (10+ / 0-)

    all the time, whether it's a trip to the zoo or just walking around the mall.

    I always have:

    my camera (never know when I'll see something interesting)
    a rain jacket and boonie hat (in Florida the rain can come very quickly at any time)
    a water bottle
    a couple of candy bars or granola bars
    a portable charger for my phone

    Sometimes I bring my little netbook laptop and a foldable solar panel with me so I can sit and work outside.

    I've long been an avid trail hiker (I grew up near the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania), and have always gone the ultralight route. So for hikes away from civilization, I also bring:

    a homemade hammock
    a lightweight tarp for a rain fly
    a fleece blanket, or if necessary an ultralight sleeping bag
    a homemade alcohol stove (made from a soda can) and fuel
    two separate cigarette lighters plus waterproof matches
    iodine tablets for purifying water
    basic first aid kit (gauze wrap, anti-diarrheals, etc)
    two pocket knives
    small LED flashlight
    extra clothing as needed
    extra water bottle
    food for two days longer than I plan on being out

    The total weight of my pack for a weeklong hike, fully loaded, is about 25 pounds.

    I've always used a hammock/rain fly combination rather than a tent because Pennsylvania is very rocky and it's often hard to find a clear spot big enough to pitch a tent, but with a hammock I can camp anyplace that there are two trees, no matter how rocky it is.

  •  Sunscreen? (9+ / 0-)

    insect repellent?  We take those with us - don't always need to use them.

    We don't tend to go on very long hikes here as there are relatively few places with trails that are more than 2-3 miles long.

    One thing I try to always bring along are a few ziploc bags.  I almost ruined my camera by taking a short walk into the forest while in Ecuador.  I didn't bring anything except the camera as I was only planning on walking about 10 minutes from the station.  I got caught in a torrential downpour and the camera got soaked.  The bags are also good for us biologists if we see something (leaf, flower, insect) that we want to bring back to show others.

    "To see both sides of a quarrel, is to judge without hate or alarm" - Richard Thompson

    by matching mole on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 06:58:22 AM PDT

    •  If I hiked where you do I'd wear neck high (5+ / 0-)

      snake boots.

      “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

      by ban nock on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 07:56:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My experience with venomous snakes (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        erratic, ban nock, rb137, marina

        is that they are really reluctant to bite.  If you think about, biting something the size of human is very dangerous for a snake.

        I did almost step on a copperhead (stepped over it on a trail) a couple of years ago.  Although copperheads are one of the less venomous pit vipers it would have been very unpleasant getting back to the car.

        "To see both sides of a quarrel, is to judge without hate or alarm" - Richard Thompson

        by matching mole on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 08:16:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  the danger of snakes is exaggerated (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ban nock, rb137

          Snakes are not stupid---they don't deliberately attack animals that are much bigger than they are. Nearly everyone who is bitten by a snake either accidentally stepped on it, or was doing something to it that they should not have been.

          In Pennsylvania, my biggest worry was the damn raccoons stealing my stuff.

          •  I've known quite a lot of herpetologists in my (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ban nock, rb137

            life and I know of exactly one who was bitten by a venomous snake when not handling it - she was jogging if I remember correctly.

            "To see both sides of a quarrel, is to judge without hate or alarm" - Richard Thompson

            by matching mole on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 09:25:35 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I used to keep venomous in Pennsylvania (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              matching mole, rb137, ban nock

              I used to do educational shows for school groups, scout troops, etc.

              Never got bitten--I am a very conservative and cautious snake handler.

              Haven't had any hot snakes since I moved to Florida.  In Florida it take an enormous amount of paperwork to keep venomous snakes--in Pennsylvania all I needed was a fishing license (and I only needed that for the native species).

              In Pennsylvania, venomous snakes were pretty hard to find anyway--most people never even see one.  Even here in Florida where the populations are much higher, they are very secretive and reclusive, and aren't often seen by people (cottonmouths I suppose being the most likely to be seen since they are active during the day).

              •  I seem to be somewhat unusual (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                rb137, ban nock

                as someone who loves snakes but has basically zero interest in actually keeping snakes.

                My experience with venomous snakes in Florida is a bit unusual in that the first one I encountered was a copperhead, a species that barely gets into the state. I've only seen one pygmy rattlesnake which I'm told is the easiest one to find at least up here in the panhandle.

                "To see both sides of a quarrel, is to judge without hate or alarm" - Richard Thompson

                by matching mole on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 09:48:46 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  ziploc bags are indeed handy (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ban nock, matching mole, rb137, erratic, marina

      They can be used to carry water, as well. And of course they waterproof everything inside the pack.

  •  Scouter here... (9+ / 0-)

    Your list is sound.

    Depends on where we're going, I suppose.  On a recent climb to Mt. Greylock (Western MA), I had the following:

    Raingear (always on my permanent list.)
    Extra layer
    New pair of socks
    Lunch / trail snacks
    Cellphone / camera
    First aide kit

    I did not have a map on this one, but I did have my compass.

    Although my troop is more of a "base camp - alpine dash" group, ask me about what to take on a weekend trip sometime.  :-)

    I prefer to remain an enigma.

    by TriSec on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 07:04:43 AM PDT

    •  Mount Greylock was my first mountain, though at 3 (5+ / 0-)

      I hardly remember. Parents tell me I didn't get carried much. They were working at Camp Becket for the summer.

      I'll do a follow up on another Sunday and ask about a weekend trip.

      “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

      by ban nock on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 07:17:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Don't hike... (6+ / 0-)

    ....but I mountain bike pretty intensely, and your kit offers some items for consideration for inclusion in my own.

    My pack load tends to depend upon the season and environment I'm riding in, it could be as little as a sorta-clear plastic $20 roadie stashable raincoat in the summer at lower altitudes, to as much as a complete set of upper and lower rainsuit parts, arm and leg warmers, thinsulate vest, wool hat, Gore-tex helmet liner, insulated gloves and neoprene booties, essentially a waterproof and wind-proof shell with various insulating pieces under it.

    This is all in addition to bike stuff, like tire "plastics" (as opposed to "irons") a mini-pump, a CO2 inflater and cartridges (I'm a "suspenders AND a belt" kind of guy) a tube, or TWO TUBES if I'm really going someplace remote, like the Sierras or the interior of Mendocino Nat'l Forest, a small 17-tool multi-tool, a patch kit, a Ray-O-Vac $5 headlite.

    I appreciate your items that forsee being unavoidably forced to bivouac, particularly the simple addition of a garbage bag, a space blanket would probably be a weight/cost/space investment that would be well worth the cost.

    A whole diary could be written about the zany crap friends of mine have dragged to the top of the mountain, my favorite was the day on top of the Sierras that one of my lunatic friends whips out an entire pineapple, complete with big green top-tassel....

    Another whole diary could be written about the idiotic stuff they DIDN'T the day we invited some guys to climb Goat Mtn in Mendocino NF with us, and when we got to the top after a three and a half hour climb, the wx decided to "flick" us off the mountain's back like we were bugs, and these Bay Area Idiots had climbed a 6500 ft peak in the early fall wearing roadie shorts and jerseys with only a minimal roadie tire repair kits stuck in jersey pockets....we were huddled in the lee of an outbuilding for the fire lookout at the peak, watching 1) the temperature drops 2) hail starts coming down like mad 3) our skinsuit-clad friends getting dangerously cold.  We initially thought we could wait out the thunderhead going by, but it seemed to linger above the peak, and the hail began to pile up like snow, like more than a foot deep. And it didn't seem to be slacking off.  We had intended to ride a dirt bike trail back to the road on the ridgeline leading us back, but under these conditions that wouldda been nuts, so we re-apportioned all the clothing, and proceded to ride the extra five miles of switchbacky road instead....

    We were dumb.  Our friends were dummer.

    "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

    by leftykook on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 07:31:08 AM PDT

    •  I once took a friend of mine from Iran hiking (5+ / 0-)

      He was a city-slicker and had never been in the woods, so I took him for an overnighter.

      I told him there was a creek where we were going that we could drink from, but he didn't want to do that, so he hauled an entire gallon of water up one side of the Appalachian mountains and down the other side to the valley we were camping in. His tent came from KMart, and looked like it weighed 20 pounds.

      When we settled in, his "dinner" consisted of four tins of sardines--and he tossed the empty tins right behind his tent when I wasn't looking.  I think every raccoon in eastern Pennsylvania visited our campsite through the night, and I was half expecting a bear or two to drop by.

      And every time a twig cracked, Faramarz's flashlight came on and he looked anxiously outside his tent, calling to me in my hammock, in his Iranian accent, "Lenny, I think there is something out there !!!"

      Greenhorns.  (sigh)

      •  Hilarious story, Lenny... (0+ / 0-)

        ....and good on ya for helping to spread the idea that being out in the middle of nowhere is actually kinda fun to the poor souls who haven't been enlightened yet....Especially "Bloody Foreigners"....

        "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

        by leftykook on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 07:27:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, and BTW... (0+ / 0-)

        ....another good reason to try to ease the tension between Iran and the US and it's allies is that Iran has a gigantic mountain range that crosses the whole country, just filled with wonderful places to hike, bike, kayak, ski, hang glide, lurk/loiter/waste time, it would be great if things were calm enough between our countries to allow it....

        "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

        by leftykook on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 07:31:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  haha! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rb137, ban nock, leftykook

      I too whipped out an entire pineapple on a hike in Costa Rica earlier this year. It really is not that hard to cut up on the trail. And they travel well!

      Global warming & smoking cigarettes = Nothing to worry about? Those who deny climate science are ignorant, evil or worse. Google Fred Singer.

      by LaughingPlanet on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 09:59:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'd be embarrased to mention what I've seen taken (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      big wall climbing. Suffice it to say that it took water and fire to operate and when used it made a bubbling sound.

      “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

      by ban nock on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 01:36:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  In Praise of Compasses (9+ / 0-)

    I realize that GPS is getting more and more accurate and reliable, but I still carry a compass, and I believe that they are still strongly recommended by the rangers in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

    Oddly enough, I became a devoted compass-user, not because of an incident on a trail, but in an advanced SCUBA certification course. My buddy and I were assigned to swim out to one of the platform buoys, descend 40 feet to the platform itself, and then navigate back to our starting point underwater. The lake itself was famous for visibility of about 10 feet at the best of times, and as little as 3-5 feet under less optimal conditions.

    When I began to think our descent was taking longer than it should, I checked my depth gauge, and we were already at 60 feet. We had swum to the wrong buoy. We could see only a few feet in any direction, and could see neither the surface nor the bottom. My buddy, who was very slim and had shown early signs of hypothermia in a long dive the day before, had wide eyes, and her breathing rate had slightly increased. I showed her my compass to remind her that we had both taken shore readings at the beginning of the swim, and we both relaxed. Touching fingertips so we wouldn't lose each other, we set out, and made it back to our starting point with ease.

    We were never in any real danger. It was a highly controlled situation, and at any point we could have just surfaced. But it was  a checkout exercise for underwater navigation, and if we surfaced, we failed. We didn't want to fail.

    Anyway, long story short, I still always carry a compass. :)

    One cat away from crazy.

    by IamGumby on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 07:44:03 AM PDT

    •  I pretty much know where I am without the (5+ / 0-)

      compass. I used to take it just for fun, not to help me from getting lost, it can be used to pinpoint location and identify distant features. When you think about it subsistence hunters walk off trail their whole lives using nothing, we are the same species. I'm working on another piece on getting lost.

      The GPS can be useless, it's just for fun. Batteries run out and software can be hard to understand. I carried one for over a year thinking it was a waste of time because I never bothered to learn how to use it. I mostly know where I am. Now I use one that has a map and is extremely accurate. Tells me where the borders of private land are and it's easier than a paper map.

      Big buildings in cities have confused me but I just ask someone to point.

      “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

      by ban nock on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 08:12:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If I was going off trail here in Florida (5+ / 0-)

        I would want a compass.  Driving here I find it easy to lose my sense of which direction I am headed because the landscape is flat and covered in trees.

        When hiking in the west I find it easy to orient myself both because of topography and being able to see long distances.

        As an added note - the first time I went to Ecuador one of the station guides took us on an all day, off trail hike.  Halfway through the day I was really hoping a tree didn't fall on him because I didn't have the vaguest idea of where we were relative to the river, the station, or any trails.

        "To see both sides of a quarrel, is to judge without hate or alarm" - Richard Thompson

        by matching mole on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 08:23:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I Admit (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ban nock, erratic, FindingMyVoice

        That I mostly like using a compass because it's a cool instrument, and being able to use it makes me feel all Ranger Rick and competent. :) Out here in the Smokies the trails are well-blazed and popular (at least during the typical hiking season), so there's little chance of getting lost. However, even the well-maintained trails contain lots of trails branching off (most commonly as connectors to the Appalachian Trail). Some have signs, some don't. If a person was using one of the less-worn main trails, and didn't know how to read blazes, they could take a wrong turn fairly easily. Some of the AT connector trails can be miles long, and branch out at various places. I think we typically get a lost person or group out here every season or so (they are usually found, fortunately).

        At any rate, I follow most of the suggestions of everyone on this thread even, for an easy day hike. I just remind myself that Eric Rudolph managed to spend five years in these mountains, avoiding some pretty thorough searches. Even though he did it intentionally, it's a sort of cautionary tale of just how dense and potentially bewildering the Appalachian wilderness can be.

        One cat away from crazy.

        by IamGumby on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 11:07:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Ooh! Word Fun! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ban nock, erratic

        "Bewilder" and "wilderness," unsurprisingly, are derived from the same root (wilder). The literal (archaic) meaning of "bewildered" was "lost in the wilds." I actually learned this from reading Laurence Gonzales' Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why. I once recommended this book on another DKos thread, and it is a really great read: informative and entertaining!

        One cat away from crazy.

        by IamGumby on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 11:16:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Much the same - with maybe a few more things (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    erratic, ban nock, rb137

    It depends.  A day hike to a waterfall or pond, below timberline and for a couple of hours, I bring a couple of quarts of water, a snack of some sort (peanuts, gorp, etc.), raingear, a hat, a first aid kit (bandages, band aids, ointment, mole skin, adhesive tape) - mostly to fix blisters and cuts), extra dry sox, waterproof matches, a good knife (sometimes two), 50' of 3/8" line, map and compass if the area is unfamiliar, and a fleece sweater.  If I am going longer, and especially if I am going to be above timberline, I add a bivy sack and sleeping bag, a filter, and a small light tarp.  I remember being very glad I had a gps a few years ago when hiking out your way, and I needed to know where I was as the shadows were growing longer.  Depending on who I am with, I may carry a good part of their gear as well.  

    Usually that is just a little extra weight, but I too have been above timberline when a significant storm blew in.  It was uncomfortable for me, but life threatening for the unprepared.  Those signs on our trails to the effect that hikers should be prepared for Arctic conditions are not a joke.  As you noted, the number of the unprepared is astounding.  I have also rescued people stuck on a waterfall they were climbing when a rainstorm turned the rock slick as goose grease, and improvised a litter for a guy with what turned out to be a torn acl (rope).  

  •  Day packs are for driving too (6+ / 0-)

    Whenever I go on long distance (100+ mi) touring drives, I always have a day pack in the trunk. Sometimes one can be 30 miles from services and in a dead zone and bam- blow a radiator hose.

    It always pays to be prepared when traveling and should do what we can to help others be aware and prepared.

  •  Depends (6+ / 0-)

    on the season and location, of course.  I am in northern Minnesota.  For one-day hikes, here is what I typically carry:

    - Binoculars
    - Cell phone w/camera
    - Insect repellent, tick gaiters if in deer tick country
    - At least a quart of water, often 2
    - Rain jacket
    - Long sleeved shirt, extra socks, or stocking hat if cool weather is expected
    - Pocket knife
    - TP
    - Lighter
    - Small notepad and pen
    - Snack (power bar, gorp, jerky, cheese, seeds, etc)
    - GPS unit & spare batteries
    - Compass
    - Headlamp

    When canoe camping in the BWCA or elsewhere, I add a few items including overnight gear, fishing gear, single burner and propane, and stuff to make coffee and cook fish.

    Great topic.  Maybe I'll get some ideas to make my pack heavier.........

    Political compass: -8.75 / -4.72

    by Mark Mywurtz on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 08:29:06 AM PDT

  •  You don't seem so overprepared. (6+ / 0-)

    A night outside, especially on a mountain, can be deadly. A lot of the day hikes we do are in popular places, so we're likely to see other people there. That's a little safer, but that's not guaranteed.

    We off-trail a lot, and it can get serious in a hurry. They also get remote in a hurry. Get wet without the proper gear and there is a finite chance that you're history.

    My husband climbs solo a lot, and he doesn't have a locator beacon that's visible to the eye. His cell phone could transmit signal until the battery dies, but that's not likely to go very far in the mountains. I'm going to get something like that for him. (I can't believe he doesn't have one now -- he's been doing solo treks his entire life.)

    Oh -- but to your question: we travel pretty light, unless it's a day hike with a picnic. That usually includes a bunch of people and resembles a buffet once it's set up (oh, that's not what you meant!)

    - Coat or jacket
    - Hat and gloves
    - Water purification tablets
    - Swiss army knife
    - A couple of Ace bandages
    - Aspirin and ibuprofen
    - Flat bread, maybe cheese or sausage, nuts, fruit.

    Sounds like a lot, but it's really pretty compact.

    Breathe in. Breathe out. Forget this, and attaining enlightenment will be the least of your problems.

    by rb137 on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 08:51:29 AM PDT

    •  I forgot! (6+ / 0-)

      Two lighters and a small flashlight. (What was I thinking???)

      Breathe in. Breathe out. Forget this, and attaining enlightenment will be the least of your problems.

      by rb137 on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 08:52:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I bought one almost 4 years ago for my long late (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Free Jazz at High Noon, marina, rb137

      season hunts at elevation a long way from any roads. I too go alone and they give me piece of mind. A few years ago there was an early season snow of over 4' and many people on the small forest service dirt roads weren't able to go anywhere. The forest service wished everyone had one, it' makes things so much easier.

      The one I use sends no texts or anything else, it's only for extreme emergency but it has no yearly fee and it lasts 5 years. Now I take it for all off road walking. I enclosed it in styrofoam and duct tape to protect it. Every 2 years I have to renew my info with some government agency that handles downed aircraft.
      I liked it because it was simple with few buttons or whistles but very solid and it works.

      “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

      by ban nock on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 11:25:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Looking forward to your lost diary! (6+ / 0-)

    I've been leading hikes with youth in nature for about a decade now, and while our outings aren't very challenging, I've learned to be much more alert and responsive to gear, weather, and where the people around me are at, in terms of emotional and physical wellbeing.

    The experience that comes with getting well-lost, or enduring some nature-based suffering a few times due to poor planning, awareness, or equipment is invaluable.

    I like having some parachute cord, heavy-duty contractor garbage bags, water sterilization tablets, and a small first aid kit along with me.

    I did a day hike that turned into an overnight hike a few years back. It was challenging, but we had adequate gear (snacks, warm clothes, a water filter) that we spent most of the night celebrating how well things were going...

  •  another item I often carry, especially in cold (6+ / 0-)

    weather, are a couple of plastic bread bags.  If I run into an unexpected cold snap, or if it snows/sleets/whatever, I put them over my feet in between two pairs of socks, where they trap heat, act as a waterproof barrier, and save my tootie-toes from cold, wet, and possible frostbite.

    I've often put my rain jacket in between two flannel shirts for the same reason. When I do this, I actually have to be very careful not to OVER-heat and start sweating, since sweat-soaked clothing in cold weather is not a good idea . . . But it means I can be warm and dry in even the foulest weather with minimal weight.

    Some outdoors clothing manufacturers have now adopted the same idea and put plastic liners inside their fabrics--they call them "vapor locks".

    In really cold weather, I'll also line my sleeping bag with a big plastic trash bag (and line THAT with a homemade thin cotton liner)---same principle.

  •  Here in AZ, we can always loot emergency supplies (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rb137, ban nock

    From the hundreds of headless bodies littering the desert! Well, that's what Jan Brewer tells us anyway....

    It's sort of like a post-apocalyptic videogame here, if you exist in a RWNJ fantasy.

    If I'M gay, and YOU'RE gay.... then WHO'S FLYING THE PLANE???

    by Fordmandalay on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 09:10:24 AM PDT

  •  a photo of my camp hammock setup: (8+ / 0-)


    This is the setup I have used for over 30 years now. The hammock is homemade from ripstop nylon, and attaches to the trees with two wide web straps that won't slip and won't damage the tree bark. The tarp is also waterproofed ripstop nylon. Together, they weigh less than 2 pounds. My sleeping bag goes in the hammock, and I go in the sleeping bag. In this rig, I've camped all over the US, on several occasions hanging inside there through several straight days of rain.

    The only time it's NOT comfortable is during really cold weather--the air under the hammock transfers cold pretty well (which is of course a plus in hot weather). So in really cold weather I pitch the tarp on the ground as a tent instead, and use a closed-cell foam rubber pad as ground insulation. But since I never really liked cold weather anyway, I don't often go out camping in the winter.

  •  The first time I backpacked, I got caught in hail (8+ / 0-)

    and rain at 11,000 ft. The temperature dropped from the 70s to the 40s. I got soaked and nearly went into hypothermia.

    I hike this every day with my dog:

    Our driveway is off to the right.

    The dog is almost 17, so he doesn't move too fast and we only do a half mile in the morning and a quarter mile in the afternoon. After a year of that it wasn't much exercise for me, so I started wearing my pack. I hadn't backpacked in about 8 years, so I started with an empty pack and added 3 or 4 pounds every week.  I've was at 45 lbs about a month ago - a lot more than everything I'd need to stay out for a trip, except food - but stopped packing on walks for a while for various reasons, and just resumed a week ago. I'll probably add more weight in a few days.

    There is rain gear in the pack, and we're out every day, rain or shine. Fortunately we missed the golf ball sized hail a few weeks ago, but my wife was out walking in it and headed home through the woods. I vary between tennis shoes and leather boots with lug soles - depends on whether I'm dressed to go to town or to work all day. 40 years ago I thought tennis shoes were fine, even backpacking, but boots are better support and especially better traction.

    Amazingly, almost from the time I started packing, my knees quit hurting.

    No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up - Lily Tomlin

    by badger on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 09:19:55 AM PDT

  •  Depends, of course (7+ / 0-)

    But one thing I love is my water filter. I have converted to the Sawyer gravity filter from the pump style filters. Although I often carry over 4 liters in my MSR dromedary bag, it makes sense to haul less water if there is going to be any on the trail itself. Stopping to filter water makes more sense than carrying a ton of it or risking carrying too little.

    I also carry at least two lights at all times.

    Light raincoat.


    A new item I just purchased that may go with me from now on is the GoalZero solar charger I picked up at Costco for only $120.

    But I tend to be an over-prepared Boy Scout type.

    Global warming & smoking cigarettes = Nothing to worry about? Those who deny climate science are ignorant, evil or worse. Google Fred Singer.

    by LaughingPlanet on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 09:51:50 AM PDT

    •  I've had lousy luck with water filters. (4+ / 0-)

      I saw a TED talk, though, given by a guy who invented a water filter for use in humanitarian crises. I thought, "damn, that would be a great thing to take backpacking..."

      Tell me more about how you filter water.

      Breathe in. Breathe out. Forget this, and attaining enlightenment will be the least of your problems.

      by rb137 on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 10:17:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  sure (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rb137, ban nock

        In the past I would use those kind that required a basin from which to pump bad h2o into a bottle or the like.

        Now I can simply fill up a bag with dirty water, attach the filter, set it on a table and walk away while it drains into another bag/bottle and presto!, it is clean. (I acutally have the smaller version from the linked one).

        The bag filter is actually MUCH lighter than the old filters as well. And it does not freeze like the ceramic filters that were popular for a while. This almost got me into a very bad situation in Tibet one time. Nothing like being at 15,000 feet in a high desert without water. Scary.

        Global warming & smoking cigarettes = Nothing to worry about? Those who deny climate science are ignorant, evil or worse. Google Fred Singer.

        by LaughingPlanet on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 11:07:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Iodine crystals (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Are about the simplest, most reliable solution I've found:

    •  As a former Girl Scout, I can relate. (0+ / 0-)
      I tend to be an over-prepared Boy Scout type.
       It's really hard to get away from that after years of having it pounded in.  Plus, my dad was always that way, whether it was for hikes, camping, or road trips staying at hotels.

      My Karma just ran over your Dogma

      by FoundingFatherDAR on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 02:33:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Last hiking was in Big Bend National Park in March (4+ / 0-)

    I've hiked the Chisos Mountains a few times in the past, but the last trip was shorter day hikes through the desert from different primitive base camps. The weather was nice on the hikes, ranging from 60-85 degrees, which is great for desert hiking in west Texas.  .  

    A few of the hikes were on established trails, but the great thing about desert hiking is trails are optional. Wandering around a desert can be fun if you are smart about it and prepare yourself beforehand. Here's what I took with me in my pack on these 4-6 hour hikes.  

    GPS with extra batteries
    Good topographical map
    plenty of water
    hoody or long sleeve shirt
    emergency pancho
    small snacks
    small first aid kit

    One of the things about any kind of desert hiking is to carry all your water in with you and not depend on natural water sources unless you're 100% confident in it.  Alot of maps show dry or seasonal creek beds and springs, so be smart and carry enough water.  You'll use more than you're used to even hiking in modest temperatures.  Also, be prepared for temperatures to drop and rise quickly.  I've personally experienced temperatures ranging from 90's in the day, drop into the 20's at night in Big Bend.  

    "I'm a progressive man and I like progressive people" Peter Tosh

    by Texas Lefty on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 10:29:37 AM PDT

  •  Horseback rider here. (3+ / 0-)

    I have all on your list. Add pressure bandage kit. Swiss army knife. Small hammer w/ handle sawed off. Horseshoe nails. Compass and map.
    A particular favorite for firestarting is magnesium block w/flint.

    Only thing more infuriating than an ignorant man is one who tries to make others ignorant for his own gain. Crashing Vor

    by emmasnacker on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 10:45:21 AM PDT

  •  water, water, and more water, and a good knife (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ban nock, FoundingFatherDAR

    just about all you really need here most of the time.

    There's jackets and backpacks all over, hell one of my favorite light jackets was a find...

    Actually the desert is much cleaner than a few years back.....traffic has dropped to almost nothing so not as much abandoned crap out there now.....a comb and pliers are good to have just in case you screw up and get full of cholla........

    Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
    I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
    Emiliano Zapata

    by buddabelly on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 10:45:42 AM PDT

  •  Since I switched to a Camelbak... (5+ / 0-)

    ...for my day pack, it's been a pretty standard kit:

    -a vegetarian MRE
    -Deep Woods Off
    -first-aid kit (basically a couple of antiseptic wipes, some low-grade bandages, and a piece of moleskin)
    -portable water bowl (for the dog)

    Spare socks, an extra tee shirt, and any extra food for me, the missus and the puppy go in before we head out.

    And yeah, I wear boots, and look askance at people who don't.

    "Speaking for myself only" - Armando

    by JR on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 10:57:47 AM PDT

  •  Knowing the Ten Essentials is good. Carrying them (0+ / 0-)

    is better.  Originated and updated by the Seattle Mountaineers, the lists and elaboration can be found here: The Ten Essentials

    On a typical hike, you only need 3 or 4 of them.  The problem is that you don't know which ones you need until the hike is over.

    It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged. G. K. Chesterton

    by redbaron on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 02:17:08 PM PDT

  •  Topo map, First Aid kit, sunscreen (0+ / 0-)

     Emergency whistle (cell phones don't work everywhere, even if I had one)
      Extra water (as much as I can carry) & food
      Windbreaker, poncho, or Gortex jacket, plus other extra layers
      Walking stick(s)
      Gloves (light or heavy weight)
      Small shovel
      Extra plastic bags

      Topo map because GPS may tell you where you are, but it might not tell you if you're about to walk off a cliff.

      Training as a Sierra Club leader taught me just how stupid people can be about even short hikes, particularly in the Sierras during the summer.  I've had to "save" people a couple of times with my own gear and water when they didn't bring enough.

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 02:20:29 PM PDT

  •  Naturally, my Bug Out Bag contains (0+ / 0-)

    - Tinfoil
    - Survival seeds
    - Gold
    - All of Glenn Beck's books
    - M16 with 90 round magazine
    - Another one
    - LifeLock login
    - Smart phone so I can make YouTube videos
    - Generator and 5 gallons of gasoline
    - That special picture of Sarah Palin

    Did I mention I'm terribly frightened of pretty much everything?

    Political compass: -8.75 / -4.72

    by Mark Mywurtz on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 05:09:26 PM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site