Ten Essentials on EVERY hike?

Share your tips for safe hiking, surviving in the wild and managing hiking injuries!
User avatar
arlohike
Posts: 202
Joined: April 28th, 2014, 8:28 pm

Ten Essentials on EVERY hike?

Post by arlohike » October 29th, 2018, 3:49 pm

I got some good info on my earlier thread about the most efficient way to carry the ten hiking essentials. For me, that's currently a 22L day pack weighing about eight pounds.

My next question: would you take this everywhere, or if not, where do you draw the line?

About half my hikes are in Forest Park, within a couple miles of multiple roads and trailheads. So far I've been taking the backpack everywhere, figuring if I carry it all the time I'll end up noticing it less. I also increase the chances of forgetting something if I'm shifting stuff in and out of a smaller bag. But I feel like I have a bit of overkill on the easier hikes. (The trekking poles also feel out of place sometimes, but I really like using them.) I'm curious what strategies other people here use.
Last edited by arlohike on October 29th, 2018, 9:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
TrailCheck (iOS / Android)
Elevation Tracker (iOS / Apple Watch)

RobFromRedland
Posts: 986
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: Ten Essentials on EVERY hike?

Post by RobFromRedland » October 29th, 2018, 6:04 pm

I am probably over equipped but I take my pack with 10 essentials (plus some) on every hike. I would rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention to arrive safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: WOW-What a ride!

Aimless
Posts: 1479
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:02 pm
Location: Lake Oswego

Re: Ten Essentials on EVERY hike?

Post by Aimless » October 29th, 2018, 6:58 pm

I do not always take the precise list of ten essentials, but I do take enough on each hike that I know I could survive an unscheduled night in the woods, given the season, the forecast, my familiarity with the hike and other factors. I NEVER leave home without leaving my planned itinerary with my wife or a written itinerary plainly visible in my tent, if I am solo car camping and am out day hiking. On those occasions I also leave all the necessary information to find my campsite at home with my wife. These precautions often feel like I'm overdoing it, but every news story I read about SAR efforts reinforces their value.

Finally, the life you save may not always be your own. The chances you will meet a hiker in distress who may require some part of your personal essentials is about as high as your needing them yourself. For example, I have frequently pulled out my map to show a lost or confused hiker just where they were and how to get where they wanted to go. Sometimes I've given them the map, too. I've never yet had to initiate a rescue or administer first aid, but I know I may be called on to do so on every hike I take.

User avatar
texasbb
Posts: 1078
Joined: July 26th, 2008, 8:16 pm
Location: Tri-Cities, WA

Re: Ten Essentials on EVERY hike?

Post by texasbb » October 29th, 2018, 7:32 pm

A couple miles is a LONG way when your ankle is broken.

Just imagine you step in a hole and hear the snap. Would you want warm clothes and a tarp to throw over yourself? If not, leave the 10 essentials at home.

User avatar
Chip Down
Posts: 1812
Joined: November 8th, 2014, 8:41 pm

Re: Ten Essentials on EVERY hike?

Post by Chip Down » October 29th, 2018, 7:55 pm

A few random thoughts:

I'm glad Forest Park was mentioned. When people insist the ten essentials need to be carried on every hike, I ask if that includes strolls through Forest Park.

I went through an ultra-light phase, and I'm in more of a luxury phase now. I carry crazy stuff I don't truly need. Sometimes the biggest dilemma for me is whether I should carry rope, axe, crampons. Of course, the heaviest item you'll carry will be water. It's not too hard to guess how much you'll need, but it can be really hard to guess how much you'll find along the way.

Risk assessment is an interesting topic. People will insist their hike must be 99% risk free, while ignoring that they could die on the road driving home at the end of the day. They'll diligently carry a space blanket on their Eagle Creek hike, but they don't have extra food in their pantry. They'll carry their multi-tool on their 10 mile PCT trek, but they haven't checked the coolant in their car in over a year.

Funny that I'm in the habit of carrying a whistle and compass. Nobody's gonna hear my whistle, except the goats. And a compass doesn't make sense if you're following a clear landmark (creek, gully, ridge) or if you have no idea how to use a compass.

If I was on an out-and-back trail hike, it would all feel silly. Sure, I could come upon a landslide that wiped out my return route, but come on.

Just for fun, I looked up the ten-essentials list. Of course, it varies slightly by source, but there are certain things everybody agrees I should take on every hike. Like sunscreen. And a way to start a fire. And a knife. Etc. :lol: Ridiculous.

I've noticed I carry more food than I need. I always return to my car with food. I guess that's a good thing.

It's almost never mentioned, but something you should always have plenty of is time. Start your hike as early as possible, and leave yourself a buffer in case something goes wrong. I'm pretty neurotic about carrying light. Of course, these days everybody travels with a light source (phone). It's a shame when people spend a night in the woods for lack of a decent battery.

I forgot my corkscrew once. Fortunately there was a convenience store a few miles down the road from the trailhead. :D

User avatar
Chip Down
Posts: 1812
Joined: November 8th, 2014, 8:41 pm

Re: Ten Essentials on EVERY hike?

Post by Chip Down » October 29th, 2018, 8:00 pm

Aimless wrote:
October 29th, 2018, 6:58 pm
I do not always take the precise list of ten essentials, but I do take enough on each hike that I know I could survive an unscheduled night in the woods, given the season, the forecast, my familiarity with the hike and other factors.
I rarely think of it in those precise terms when I'm packing, but yeah, I've often thought "could I live through the night out here"? The answer is almost always "heck yeah". If not, it's kinda scary. I recall a day I headed out in high wind, ten degrees, snow. Felt spooky. Called my brother, told him my plan, told him to call the sheriff if he didn't hear from me by dark. (that was the only hike I've been on where my beer froze :shock: )

User avatar
retired jerry
Posts: 12760
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: Ten Essentials on EVERY hike?

Post by retired jerry » October 29th, 2018, 8:56 pm

It seems like the ability to make a fire is not essential. In survival conditions it's probably raining and difficult to start a fire. Better to climb into a sleeping bag in a tent.

User avatar
adamschneider
Posts: 2998
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:02 pm
Location: SE Portland
Contact:

Re: Ten Essentials on EVERY hike?

Post by adamschneider » October 29th, 2018, 9:37 pm

Hell, I don't even carry the ten essentials on 15-milers. :roll:

(It's not like I'm out there naked. My backpack probably contains most of them — except fire — but I don't fret too much about it.)

User avatar
5th
Posts: 121
Joined: April 27th, 2015, 9:11 am
Location: Eugene

Re: Ten Essentials on EVERY hike?

Post by 5th » October 30th, 2018, 4:10 pm

I take them every time because it's so easy.

My base weight for indefinite trips is 17 lbs unless I think I need a bigger pack than 58 liters. That's as ultralight as I feel I ever need to be. When I day hike I typically leave my hammock and quilts behind, but I take everything else I would take on any longer trip along with the day's food and a couple liters of water stuffed loosely into a 38 liter pack. Total weight about 18 lbs.

I've been glad I did on many occasions. Anything under 20 lbs and I forget I'm wearing it after a few minutes. At that point, why not take it? I'm never at a loss and my back is always used to a pack.

User avatar
texasbb
Posts: 1078
Joined: July 26th, 2008, 8:16 pm
Location: Tri-Cities, WA

Re: Ten Essentials on EVERY hike?

Post by texasbb » October 30th, 2018, 5:15 pm

Chip Down wrote:
October 29th, 2018, 7:55 pm
Just for fun, I looked up the ten-essentials list. Of course, it varies slightly by source, but there are certain things everybody agrees I should take on every hike. Like sunscreen. And a way to start a fire. And a knife. Etc. :lol: Ridiculous.
I think we discussed this here not long ago. I kind of think it would be better if we quit pushing the ten essentials in favor of the "two imperatives" (my term): warm clothes and a way to keep them dry.

I almost always carry a puffy, or at least a good fleece, and for the last several years I've carried a small (5'x8') tarp, which I figure I could burrito in no matter what bones were broken. I also carry most of the other stuff, but not sunscreen.

Post Reply