What do you really need when you are on a trek or a hike? Many people struggle with their packing list and end up carrying too much or too few in some cases. A trek basically means a long arduous journey, especially one made on foot. And there are various things that determine the type and range of equipments required for a trek such as the duration of the trek, the terrain or place where you will trek, season during the trek etc. But there are some other basics things which you simply cannot afford to miss. So if you are getting ready for a hike, make sure you have these essentials with you!
GPS is nice, but a map and compass are better – their batteries will never die. It is important that you always carry a detailed map of the area you will be visiting and know how to use a compass for navigation.
You should have a weatherproof jacket and, on longer hikes or in situations where you know you’ll be far from easy shelter, weatherproof pants too. The colder it gets, the more extra layers you’ll want to have along. Dress in layers to match current and predicted conditions, then pack at least one more layer just in case.
Sunglasses are a must! Get polarized lenses for the best, glare-free view. Don’t ditch them on winter days – you could go snow-blind. For sun protection, either keep your skin covered or coat it with sunscreen.
Carry a headlamp and extra batteries. Flashlights are important even on day trips. You never know when you might need to spend the night or make that last mile or so after sunset.
Water / Filter / Bottles
Carry plenty of fresh water. If you are familiar with the area in which you are traveling, and can be sure that water sources are available, carry enough water to get you there. If you aren’t bringing your water from home or a public source, treat the water you draw from the backcountry, regardless of the source. Use water filter, purifier, chemical tablets, or boiling to treat the water before consuming.
Whenever you go out, even for a day trip, bring extra food in case you are delayed by emergencies, foul weather, or just get lost. The mountaineers suggest a one-day supply.
What you actually carry depends on where you’re going and what you’re comfortable using. Carry first-aid supplies for minor injuries. In particular, carry plenty of adhesive band-aids and sterilized bandages, because they can’t be easily improvised in the backcountry.
Pocket Knives & Tools
At a minimum, knives are useful for first aid, food preparation, cutting moleskin strips, cutting rope and making repairs. However, scrutinize your needs before you go out and buy a knife.
Carry matches which have been waterproofed or wind and waterproofed, or else carry extra strike-anywhere matches–along with something to strike them on– in a waterproof container. Keep these matches separate from your regular match or butane lighter supply. Keep them available for emergency situations.
Fire starters are useful for quickly starting a fire, especially in emergency situations. They are also useful for igniting wet wood.
For emergencies: when you’re lost, someone else is lost, or you’re hurt and need help, etc. Caution: Metal whistles can be a problem in the mountains. A better choice would be a pea-less plastic whistle.