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Hiking Equipment Guide - OutdoorPlaces.Com

The Right Hiking Equipment - Page Three


We've covered the top twelve items you should carry but what about the other ten?  The next items on the list are typically not found on a hiking equipment essentials list.  Some of these items are for convenience and comfort, some are for safety, and some can be used for all out survival.

It can not be stressed enough that no equipment list is perfect, and you need to pack for your conditions.  Some of the items here would be required in specific climates and conditions.  Use your best judgment to stay out of trouble.

Number thirteen, light nylon cord.  Light nylon cord has dozens of uses in the field.  A fifty foot length of cord can be bought precut at almost any store with a camping section for two to three dollars.  You can use the cord to make a new shoelace for your boot, make emergency repairs to your pack, aid in making an emergency shelter, create an instant clothes line, the possibilities are almost limitless.

Number fourteen, glacier glasses.  Not to be confused with sunglasses, glacier glasses are sun glasses that provide some special features.  Glacier glasses are equipped typically with side shields which do not allow sun light to enter from the sides of the glasses.  This can greatly reduce glare, but it also reduces peripheral vision.  Good glacier glasses have removable side shields.  You should get glasses that block UVA and UVB rays to protect your eyes from ultraviolet radiation.  Glacier glasses also typically have a curved ear piece, which prevents the glasses from sliding down your nose as you sweat.  Good glacier glasses can be found for as little as $29.95, and can run into the hundreds of dollars.  You can make your choice based upon your budget and needs.

Number fifteen, a hat.  Whether it is thirty-five, or a hundred-and-five, a hat is essential equipment when hiking.  In cold weather, the hat prevents heat from escaping through your head, which can contribute to 50% of body heat loss.  In summer, a hat protects your head from the ultraviolet radiation of the sun and the heat.  It can also help ease the glare of the sun on a tepid day.  A good hat for hiking should fit snug around the head (to prevent the wind from taking it off) and should have a brim or visor to help block the sunlight.

Number sixteen, a spare pair of socks.  Wet feet are about the worst thing that can happen to a hiker.  Soaked socks can turn each step into agony, resulting in blisters.  A spare pair of socks can be employed into service if the ones you started with get wet or develop a tear.

Number seventeen, a kitchen dishtowel.  And what else would you dry your wet feet off with if you didn't have the towel?

Number eighteen, a plastic bag with toilet paper in it.  When nature calls this is nice to have.  Improper wiping technique can cause serious and painful rashes.  If you do have the call of nature you should move at least 300 feet away from the trail, and not be any closer than 500 feet from a water source.
There is a growing debate on whether to bury feces or not.  Research indicates that human bacteria can live underground for up to a year when buried.  The new thinking is to be discrete as possible but not to bury waste.  In highly traveled areas this is not practical and a small shovel to dig a six to eight inch deep cat hole should also be carried.  Never bury or burn toilet paper in the field, you will need to pack out your soiled paper in a plastic bag.
Urine does not cause serious environmental damage and if done well off the trail and away from water sources will not require any special actions.  Again in areas where trails are well traveled, discretion should be used.

Number nineteen, a space or thermal blanket.  A small thermal blanket developed by NASA, and can be had for as little as a dollar can be carried for emergency use in your hiking kit.  Space blankets work by reflecting the bodies natural heat back on itself, but are ineffective for more serious conditions like hypothermia.  In colder climbs, a regular blanket should be carried along with a space blanket.  If you are going into deep backcountry in cold climates, you may want to consider carrying a sleeping bag.

Number twenty, a heavy duty, large, leaf and lawn trash bag.  Like nylon cord, a standard lawn trash bag can offer hundreds of uses.  You can use the trash bag to make an emergency shelter, a solar still, a makeshift coat, a rain catcher, a place to put litter you might find on the trail, and it can be a good place to put those wet socks and damp kitchen dishtowel.  To make an emergency coat, you simply need to cut a hole in the bag for head.  Fill the bag with leaves and tuck the bottom of the bag into your pants.  It can offer a surprising amount of insulation.  You can also see the story on being lost on this web site.

Number twenty-one, a cellular phone with a spare battery.  Die hard hikers cringe at the though of carry a cellular phone, but modern society has made them an everyday necessity.  If you do carry a cell phone with you should store it turned off with a full charged battery and a spare.  Out of courtesy to those in the field, it is considered a hiking taboo to take incoming calls in the wilderness.  Carry the phone for emergencies, to report animal activity, vandalism, or illegal hunting/fishing.  You should also do some research when you are in remote areas to make sure you have cellular coverage.

Number twenty-two, a handheld GPS receiver with spare batteries.  Unlike the compass, a handheld GPS receiver can be used with less specific training.  A GPS triangulates your  position by using a network of satellites in space.  Even basic GPS models will indicate your position, track your movements, provide heading information to find a memorized point, and memorize previous locations for future reference.  Good handheld GPS receivers can be found for as little as $120.

Printable equipment list for day hiking...