What should you bring on every hike? I don’t know how many times I have run across individuals who were not prepared for a hike. I don’t know if they just didn’t know what to bring on a hike or what the 10 essentials are, or if they were just really that clueless that mother nature can turn on you in an instant.
It doesn’t matter if I am going for a short hike on a trail that I know like the back of my hand or on a trail in the remote wilderness area that I have never been, I always carry certain items.
Items to Bring on Every Hike
In addition to carrying the 10 essentials, I carry other items as well. These are the items I bring on every hike:
Satellite Communication/GPS Device
As part of the 10 essentials, a map and compass are always with me. However, I also choose to carry a Garmin inReach Explorer+ which is not only a GPS unit but a 2-way satellite communicator with an SOS button that I can activate to get Search and Rescue (SAR) to me in the event I need them. The 2-way text messaging communication not only allows me to talk to SAR but also allows me to communicate with any telephone number that can accept text messages (cell phones) when there is NO cell service.
The most popular is Anker, but any reliable battery brick will do. It is important to carry this incase your emergency electronics (such as GPS or phone) run out of juice. A 10000 mAh would suffice for most as it would allow you to charge your phone or GPS unit a couple of times. If you will be backpacking over several days, I’d suggest a 20000 mAh.
Make sure to bring your charging cords so you can plug your device into the battery brick. I have a favorite one that is 3 cords in one. This way, I just have to remember to grab one cord instead of 3. Unless you are, of course, one of those lucky bastards whose electronics all use the same type of cord!
I don’t carry an actual trash bag, but I do carry a gallon freezer Ziploc bag that I use as a trash bag for food wrappers and used potty items. You ALWAYS want to pack out whatever you back in.
A small shovel is a must. I suggest using a small lightweight one like the Deuce of Spades. You will also want to bring toilet paper or wipes. You can also choose to use a backcountry bidet or, my favorite, a travel neti pot as they are lighter, instead. Remember that you will need to pack out your toilet paper and wipes (even biodegradable ones). Not sure why you need these items; check out how to use the bathroom in the backcountry.
The 10 Essentials
The basic 10 essentials (for a more detailed version see, The 10 Essentials for Backpacking) are Navigation, Headlamp, Sun Protection, First Aid Kit, Knife, Fire, Extra Food, Water & Filtration, Extra Clothes & Shelter.
Free Printable List of What to Bring on Every Hike
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What do you bring on every hike? Comment below and let me know!
Disclaimer: These articles are here to serve others as a guide on their own outdoor & travel adventures. You use any advice given on this site at your own risk. Not all trails, attractions, and travels are safe for everyone. What works for me, may not work for you. Do your own research on gear and destinations before proceeding. Information is accurate at the time of posting and is subject to change at any time.
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