Since I was a kid I always loved heading out for some adventure in the woods. In the summertime in Colorado, hiking the high country is a great way to beat the heat. Now whether I have a camera or a fishing rod in my hand I always pack a bag. When heading outside to play or on your next hike make sure to always pack appropriately to be prepared. On your next journey make sure to make the time to review where you are going and create a list so you don’t forget anything. Here is my list that I check before heading out:
Map, Compass or GPS – Sure Siri can tell you in town to “turn left here” but in the backcountry cell service is few and far between. GPS is great but a map and compass does not need batteries. Make sure to study your map before you go and know how to use it and a compass properly.
Extra clothes – Besides the obvious rain coat and your favorite fleece I also always have socks, a knit cap and gloves. after checking the weather report make sure to dress appropriately for comfort before leaving. This will help you regulate your temperature and keep you comfortable. The right clothing made of synthetics and quick dry materials are paramount to comfort. It is best as well to be in easily removable layers. Not only because it makes for a quick change of clothes but you never know when your backcountry skinny dip opportunity will arise.
Food & water – This is a must have! Gauge how much on how long you plan to be out. Then bring a little more. You should be carrying plenty of water and it is the heaviest item in your pack. Bringing a water filter can ease that burden. Take breaks and hydrate regularly throughout your hike. A hydration backpack makes this a breeze but if you are bringing bottled water bring several with you. For food nothing beats Good Old Raisins and Peanuts. I also like to bring sandwiches or my new favorite a packet of tuna, and little packets of mayo and relish to mix up for some backcountry tuna salad.
Sun protection – A good set of sunglasses are not just to look cool but to protect your eyes from the roaring Colorado sunshine. Always carry sunscreen and don’t forget to reapply!
Insect repellent – Don’t bug out on your hike. I prefer repellent that is either all natural or with a minimal amount of deet. 20% plus mix of deet has always worked for me.
Flashlight or headlamp – If your day runs late always best to have a way to light the trail home.
Survival/first aid kit – There are a variety of these out there to choose from for purchase but they are only helpful if you know how to use them. Make sure to do your research or take a class to know how to be as prepared as possible for your next outdoor adventure.
In school I studied outdoor education and was lucky enough to take mountaineering, survival skills and emergency medicine classes. This has helped guide me to make good decisions. That can not replace a level head and being prepared. Stay safe, stay educated and play outside!