Ten Essentials   1 comment

Here we are on a day hike at Yosemite in 2007. Yes, we carry the Ten Essentials!

Here we are on a day hike at Yosemite in 2007. Yes, we carry the Ten Essentials!

Spring is upon us … and it’s time to go tromping into the back country.

I’ll never forget the time a group of boys & Dads from our church decided to do the Half Dome trek in Yosemite National Park as a day hike. (note to self: don’t do THAT again). It’s a 20+ mile hike, and the technical term for this hike is that it’s a butt kicker. Many, many people do this hike in season; it’s one of those “gotta do it” hikes in California.

While on the trail, our group caught up to a young boy, about 13 years old … and his parents had sent him alone on this trail with a bottle of water and a peanut butter sandwich. I often think about that young man. I don’t know how close he got to Half Dome, but I know his parents failed in their responsibility that day.

Hiking is something that the Boy Scouts do very well, and so it’s timely to consider the Ten Essentials that Boy Scouts take on every hike. You should do the same thing … they just might save your life.

  1. A Pocket Knife: You don’t need a weapon, but a small folding knife can help you do many things … including opening that tough bag of beef jerky you will want to bring. I prefer a Swiss army knife. Some like lock blades or multi-tools. Your mileage may vary.
  2. A First Aid Kit: You just don’t know when you’ll need this. Moleskin is great for ill-fitting hiking boots that rub you the wrong way … duct tape can do in a pinch as well.
  3. Extra Clothing: It’s a pain, I know, but you need to layer up. It gets cold at altitude, even in the summer.
  4. Rain Gear: You need a poncho. You need a poncho. You need a poncho. See # 3.  A sudden cloud burst, you’re cold and wet and you will not be having fun – especially if you have whining kids that you haven’t done a good job preparing for the trail.
  5. A Flashlight: I used to swear by Mini Maglights, but now I prefer LED headlamps. And yes, take extra batteries.
  6. Food: Nothing tastes better than a good meal in the back country. And if you burn enough calories, you can eat trail mix without gaining weight (something you can NEVER do sitting on the couch).
  7. Water: Some like Nalgene bottles, others prefer Camelbacks … which can provide the little backpack you need to carry everything. If you’re out for any length of time, you need 2 quarts of water. If it’s hot, plan appropriately.
  8. Matches: Don’t start a fire unless you have a permit.
  9. Sun Protection: The sun is fierce if you’re hiking at altitude.
  10. Map & Compass: You need to know where you are and how to get to where you’re going. A GPS is great, of course, as long as you know how to use it, and have extra batteries. And it doesn’t fall in a creek.
Half Dome is one of the most beautiful sites in California.

Half Dome is one of the most beautiful sites in California.

You may also want to carry

  • Insect repellent
  • Sunglasses
  • A camera & lenses, up to the amount of weight you want to carry!
  • Water purification system – you need to stay hydrated, and if you’re not carrying enough water to drink until your safe return, then you’re in trouble without pure water
  • A walking stick or trekking poles (which can double as a monopod for the camera) – which will ease the pressure on your knees. But please, please, do not use unprotected metal tips on rocky trails, as they will mark the rocks
  • Nylon cord (great for rigging a shade structure with your poncho)
  • A watch
  • Any medications you are to take, if they’re not in your first aid kit
  • Extra socks – if you are blister prone, it’s wise to be careful
  • Swimsuit – If you like to swim in the wilderness, you need to wear a swimsuit
  • TP & a trowel
  • A whistle

Everyone should carry their own gear! Adults, you do not carry the gear for the kids. They get to be responsible for their gear – it saves you the weight, and teaches them something about hiking.

Remember … take nothing but pictures, and leave nothing but footprints!Yosemite creek

One response to “Ten Essentials

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Pingback: The Tick Problem | MowryJournal.com

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: