What do you carry in your day pack?
I thought that this was a great question asked by a friend who was just getting into hiking.
First off, I like to carry as light a pack as I can, I don’t want to bring anything more than I have to, but I do like to be “prepared” to take care of myself and those with me if we have to adjust to weather or trail conditions. For instance rain gear can help keep you dry but more importantly can help to avoid hypothermia. Rain, snow, and hail, can change the trail condition in ways that can add much more time to your trek.
A bridge out, fire, or animal can cause you to have to backtrack hours putting you back after dark, even a simple sprain can add unplanned time to a day hike.
Being prepared simply means having the planning and gear to safely and efficiently complete you goal.
Of course some of what you carry is location and seasonal dependent but much of it is universal. I am not saying you have what I carry, but to take a moment and consider what you might need to be prepared.
A fellow Scoutmaster years ago used to carry a small bag he referred to as an “O-Shoot” bag. Within this bag were a number of items he felt were a necessity if he had to grab one thing and move on without thinking. Today I use the same idea I have a waterproof bag that contains items (list below) that I would only use if I had to but not as a primary source of gear. For instance I have an extra flashlight and batteries not my primary one that I would have more easily accessible.
Having what you need located within one bag and not spread out in the bottom of the pack, allows items to be found easily. Also switching gear into different packs is easy.
Flashlights and extra batteries are one of the most important pieces of gear to have. Most people figure they will be off the trail before it gets dark but they underestimate how dark the forest can be an hour or two before Sundown. In the mountains the Sun can set in one valley and still be fairly bright in the one over the next peak.
My O-Shoot bag
Some Items that I usually carry in my O-Shoot bag are listed below but can change depending on when, where and for how long I am going.
- Flashlight/ headlamp
- Extra batteries
- Waterproof matches
- 50 Feet of para cord
- Gorilla tape
- Small pencil
Other Items I may carry are listed below, I will follow up with these in upcoming posts.
First Aid kit- I use a store bought first aid kit that I have changed for my own needs.
If you have any thoughts that could help me or others please share them, we can all learn from others.