November 19, 2013

What's In Your Backpack?

Ask any hiker what they carry in their backpack, and the items will vary from person to person, season to season, and from hike to hike.  As an avid day hiker, here is my list of suggested items for your backpack. For convenience, they are separated into four categories:  Essentials, Safety, Nice to Have, and Personal.


Water, food and snacks, photo ID, insurance ID, money, credit card, rain gear, sunscreen, compass or map, cell phone, insect repellent, and bandana. 

Lunch along the trail is always enjoyable.  I like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, protein bars, fruit, and nuts.  I also like to take another drink in addition to water for those times an energy boost is needed.  Be sure to "leave no trace." All trash, fruit peels, etc. should be taken with you. 
When you need it, it's nice to have that rain gear tucked away in your backpack. 

Using a map or compass is smart hiking. 

There are many uses along the trail for a bandanna.  If you missed last week's post on this subject, here it is again.  


Whistle, First Aid kit, flashlight or headlamp with extra batteries just in case, Safety Blanket, and insect bite ointment. You will notice a snake bit kit isn't included, and here is a link on how to treat snake bites.     

All hikers should carry a whistle which can be heard far away and takes less energy than yelling.  Three short blasts is a sign of distress. 

Hope you never have to use it, but always be prepared. 

The Coleman Safety Blanket reflects the heat back to the body and is compact and lightweight.  


Wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, extra socks, sunscreen, Wet Wipes or hand sanitizer, writing pad and pencil, camera, sit pad, pocket knife, and lip balm.  Note: my hiking friend and guru, Wayne,suggests duct tape and fluorescent duct tape.  The first to use for taping blisters or equipment repairs, and the latter for marking the trail if bushwhacking or navigating in the event there are no trail blazes.  Thanks, Wayne.  

A wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses can provide welcome relief on hot sunny days

Most hikers are avid photographers, so don't forget the camera. 

If space allows in your backpack, a change of socks is a smart idea.

4.  Health

Toilet paper, hygiene products, prescription medication (if applicable), lamb's wool for the feet, and pain relief just in case!  

Here is a great article on hiking hygiene for women. 

I would love to hear from you.  If there is something you think should be added to my list, I welcome your comments. Be sure to click on the "comments" (bottom left) and use the drop down button for  "Comment As" to select your profile.  In the meantime, you never know when you may need one of the items included on my list, so you can "Keep On Hiking".