HG’s Main Essentials for Backpacking

  1. NAVAGATION– Map, compass or GPS. Personally I am in the process of learning how to use the Garmin 450. I like the touch screen features and I recommend purchasing the land ownership chip from Kirsch’s Outdoor Products.
  2. SUN PROTECTIOON – Sunscreen, lip balm and sunglasses, I like to have all three of these.
  3. FIRE– Matches or lighter in a waterproof container and some fire starter doesn’t hurt. My pack always has at least 2 Bic lighters in it plus some matches in case one or the other fails.
  4. ILLUMINATION– Headlamp or flashlight plus extra batteries. I really like an LED headlamp for the extended battery life and the hands free use and I also carry a smaller hand held Xenon flashlight for blood trailing.
  5. FIRST AID KIT– I like the Adventure Medical Kits they even have one called “The Women’s Edition Outdoor.” Also I make sure to add Duct tape which is very versatile.
  6. INSULATION– Jacket, pants, gloves and a stocking cap are all nice to have for the chilly mornings and evenings, of course it all depends on the climate you are heading into. The majority of my backpacking has been in Montana and there isn’t a time of year that I want to be without these items as I have seen it snow in July and August!
  7. TOOLS– A knife or preferably a multi type tool that has a number of useful items all in one like the Leatherman or a Swiss Army knife, I always have a Swiss Army knife with me even if I’m not backpacking you never know when you’ll need to open a bottle of wine!
  8. NUTRITION– The options are numerous from the dehydrated meals, to the home prepped type meals or a combination of both. One of my favorite snacks or lunches while backpacking is a wheat tortilla with peanut butter. I know it doesn’t sound that good now, but wait until you’ve covered some ground and then see how good it tastes.
  9. HYDRATION-Water bottles or a hydration system along with a water filter or another type of water treatment system. I know a few people who have had Giardia and from what I hear it’s not the most pleasant way to lose weight.
  10. SHELTER-Tent, tarp, bivy or a reflective blanket. Personally I am a tent gal so not only is weight important but the compressed size matters also. There are some great options out there for the two person tents. Look into the Easton Kilo it’s a revolutionary new tent that is taking the backpacking world by storm and the Hilleberg Rajd isn’t a free standingtent but it’s a sturdy single wall tent without a vestibule both tents are just over 2 pounds.

I realize that all of these items are pretty basic and there are a lot of other “beyond the basics” type items that a person can take into the back country but it is always nice to have a list to start from to help a gal remember. Especially if it’s been a couple of years since you had your pack on and ready to cover some ground.

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