The Ten Essentials

1. Navigation

This includes a physical map, a compass, an altimeter, some sort of GPS tracking device, a personal locator beacon or a satellite messenger device. Never rely solely on following the GPS tracker on your cell phone apps – the battery will die much quicker in a colder climate.

2. Lighting

Carry a reliable, durable headlamp even if you aren’t planning to hike after dark. Also stock up on plenty of extra lithium batteries. (They tend to stay warmer longer in the cold weather)

3. Sun protection

Always carry sunscreen, a pair of sunglasses, and sun-protective clothes to keep yourself protected from the sun’s powerful rays. Even on a cloudy day, the sun can still impact your skin.

4. First Aid

Always carry a fully stocked first aid kit, which includes items such as foot/wound care, Advil, bandages, sports tape, After bite cream, tweezers, etc. Instead of buying a fancy, expensive kit, you can always create a DIY version at home with all the essentials.

5. Knife

Carry a pocket knife or multi-tool along with a gear repair kit. You never know when you’ll need either of these items and they will come in handy when you least expect them to.

6. Fire Starting Tools

Carry waterproof matches and fire starting tools in case a fire is needed. It’s optional if you prefer to pack a personal cooking stove to make meals to eat/ boil water.

7. Shelter

An emergency blanket or Bivvy sack is essential to keep in your pack in case of an emergency in which you need to spend the night on the mountain.

8. Food

Always be sure that you bring more food than you think you’ll need. Opt for calorie-dense snacks and foods high in carbohydrates and healthy fats. Some great snack options are jerky, peanut butter, nuts, trail mix, cheese, granola, power bars, etc.

9. Hydration

Be sure that you’re staying hydrated and carry more than enough water. A water filtration system isn’t always necessary, but is a useful tool to have when drinking from any streams or running water to avoid getting sick.

10. Layers

Bring enough extra layers of clothing to stay warm and dry. Even in the dead of summer, you can find yourself shivering at the summit, wishing you brought that extra fleece jacket along with you.

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