What are 10 things that a Hiker should carry with him?
1. Map You do not want to get lost. A map is your best companion to keep you on track. If you want to explore an unexplored area, the map is your true guide. It's something you never want to lose, even if it means carrying two copies. In today's age that relies heavily on technology, digital maps are proving a fine companion but they have their own set of limitations. They run on batteries, and water is their biggest enemy. As a precaution, always carry a paper map which will serve as a backup.
2. Compass Compass is the link that makes way map your best friend. Without a compass, you are pretty much on your own, deciding on directions that may not be 100% accurate. A GPS also works in place of a compass.
3. Water As much as you can carry. The body loses water at a quick rate when hiking, more so in dry climate. And when that happens, dehydration can set in quickly which has many severe effects. Keep yourself hydrated to avoid getting light-headed and passing out, which may lead to a serious accident.
4. Flashlight To be able to see what's ahead of you. Darkness can throw all kinds of surprises at us, so it's in the best of your interest to keep light with you. It also doubles up as a signal light to send a signal to someone. Even for day hikes, it makes sense to carry a flashlight along. You never know how long it will take to finish a hike and if it will be dark before you finish it. Better be safe.
5. Extra food You never want to walk hungry, trust me. It also helps when your companions run out of food. It can take you those extra miles that can always benefit your hike. That extra snack bar can help keep your body warm on a cold day. Food that is high in carbohydrates should be preferred.
6. Fire starter Fire is undoubtedly the one thing you always want to be able to make. It can help in so many situations keeping danger away, cooking your food, and creating smoke for distress signal. A flare can also be used for signalling.
7. First aid kit A first aid kit that includes all the basic medical supplies like adhesive bandages, cotton swabs, alcohol, antiseptic, dressings, scissors, aspirin, paracetamol, epinephrine autoinjector, ORS, sunscreen, etc.
8. Rain gear Anything that can keep you dry. Damp clothes can spoil the whole trip and can waste your precious time. Some hikers even carry umbrellas. Just in case, you should carry an extra pair of clothes so you can quickly change into dry clothes.
9. Knife A knife is a versatile tool. A Swiss Army knife would be overkiller but try to at least keep a simple, one or two blades type which would help you cut fabric, cord, etc.
10. Cell phone This one needs no reminding. Everyone always carries a mobile phone along these days. With its connectivity, it brings some serious advantage as a signalling device.
These ten things can be supplemented with many other items like portable water purification, ice axe, repair kit, insect repellent, sunglasses, duct tape, and rope.
Written by : Ritesh Saini, IIT Mumbai (India)
Edited by: Rajesh Bihani ( Find me on Google+ )