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304 HIking Skills - The Ten Essentials 2010-11-08

Leaving Lupine Meadows Trailhead

Friday, I went for a trail run of about 7 or 8 miles on an unfamiliar trail at dusk. I had to move fairly quickly or it would be dark before I returned to the trailhead. It was cold, wet, and the trail was slippery. Assuming a calculated speed I cautiously ran the remote trail. On my back was my running pack, filled with the ten essentials, or rather a modified ten.

Even while trail running, I carry hopeful answers to 'what if' circumstances which might arise on my run. Every time I leave a trailhead I try to have the gear I need to survive most calamities. The gear needed is the essentials.

The Ten Essentials

  1. Water - water and a way to make more
  2. Food - extra food
  3. Extra Clothing - rain gear and extra layer
  4. Navigation - map, compass, gps
  5. Lighting - headlamp or flashlight
  6. First Aid Kit - elastic bandage, ointment, pads, etc
  7. Repair Kit - knife, duct tape, other tools
  8. Shelter - emergency blanket, tarp, etc.
  9. Fire Starter - matches, lighter, fire starter
  10. Sun protection - glasses, screen

I do not carry all ten essentials every time I hit the trail; but I carry all the ones I might need. For example, in the summers of Tennessee you seldom need sunglasses or sunscreen, but in the Rockies you had better have them.

There are also a few extra essentials that did not make the list...

Communications gear - mobile phone, radio, satellite beacon

Insect Deterrent - in some locations this is more important than water!

Waste Disposal - tp, wipes, bags, trowel, wag bags

Over the next thirteen or so weeks, we will focus on one of the essentials each Monday as we continue our Hiking Skills series.

Thanks for joining us.

Happy essentials trails.



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