Map, Compass & GPS

Map, Compass & GPS
Wild flowers along Fall Creek on the way to the Green Lakes - Oregon

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Ten Essentials

Always Carry The Right Gear

On a warm afternoon in July, a family leaves a trail head with the goal of summiting the South Sister Mountain in Central Oregon.  It was a rough hike as they took a path not frequently traveled.  By evening it became obvious that this group would not make it to the summit and the glacier they were attempting to cross was icing up; it just wasn’t safe to press on.  911 was called and a local SAR team reached them after midnight.  The temperature on the glacier dropped below 40° (F) and the hikers were getting cold.

When the SAR team reached them, they found that the group had some food and water but no other gear.  The hikers’ clothing selection was questionable too.

So what is the right stuff to carry in the outdoors?  What is the minimum?  What should you consider before hitting the trail?

A climbing group in the 1930s, The Mountaineers from Seattle authored the “Ten Essentials” describing ten items that should be carried in the back country. 

“The Ten Essentials” has been modified by different groups over the years.  The following is the list that REI recommends:

  1. Navigation
  2. Sun protection
  3. Insulation (extra clothing)
  4. Illumination
  5. First-aid supplies
  6. Fire
  7. Repair kit and tools
  8. Nutrition (extra food)
  9. Hydration (extra water)
  10. Emergency shelter
    1. A space blanket is fine to carry but it is a poor shelter.

This is the minimum that one should carry; it is a starting point.  The key is to always carry your kit with you.  I have a day hiking kit that fits into a fanny pack.  It is only limited by its poor ability to carry extra clothing.

Quality gear is a must.  Remember, it has to work for you when the conditions are bad.

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