No matter where you were born or how you were raised, you no doubt experience that instinctual draw to the great outdoors. For many of us, the craving to become one with nature can only be satisfied with a trek through the wilderness. Just make sure you’re fully prepared for your retreat!
Once you obtain a quality rucksack that won’t strain your back, fill it with the following items:
Map - Make sure you have a solid copy of the trails you will be crossing and the surrounding area — whether it’s a printed pamphlet or a detailed atlas. You’ll need a guidebook to track your progress and assess your surroundings.
Compass - Because you can’t always judge your position based on which direction the sun is (some days can be cloudy), a compass provides an accurate indication of where you’re headed, regardless of the weather.
Cell phone - While hiking should give you a break from technology, having a phone on hand for emergency situations can be a life-saver. Don’t rely on signal reception to use it as a GPS — or drain your battery when you don’t need it — but keep it on hand for serious situations, even if it’s a prepaid basic phone.
Water - Your body needs plenty of hydration throughout the day, especially if you are exerting it by climbing all day. Pack a reusable water bottle with a built-in filter, or carry chemical tablets for purification. You can also wear a refillable water backpack to carry larger amounts of water on the trails.
Food - Bring a full day’s worth of energy with you in the form of fruit, granola, power bars, trail mix, jerky, bread, and peanut butter. Don’t waste space on food that needs to be cooked, and make sure you have enough for a whole day, even if you’re planning for a couple hours of walking.
First-aid kit - Keep a container filled with adhesive and sterilized bandages, tweezers, antiseptic wipes, gauze pads, scissors, and tape.
Extra clothes - Apart from the garments you’ll be wearing when you depart (which should be lightweight but full-length pants and a sleeved shirt), bring extra socks, gloves, and a poncho with a hood in case it rains. Make sure you’re wearing quality hiking boots, too.
Whistle - A whistle is crucial when you’re lost, someone else is lost, or if you’re injured. Get a plastic mouthpiece instead of all-metal, for the sake of your lips.
Fire starter supplies - Starting a fire in the middle of nowhere can be nearly impossible without fire sticks, waterproof matches, a lighter, or even striking flint. Make sure you keep these packed for cold nights or for signaling.
Multi-use kit - While your pocket knife doesn’t need every tool imaginable on it, yours should at least include a locking blade, wood saw, reamer, scissors, and pliers.
Flashlight - Even if you plan to return by sunset, have a small LED flashlight in your backpack — with working batteries.
Insect repellant - One thing is always true about being outdoors - there are bugs. Whether you’re in the forest or near water, mosquitoes will be swarming you. Keep them away with a quality repellant spray.
By double-checking for these items before you head off into the wilderness, you will be prepared for any type of situation. The only thing left to do is go out and enjoy!
This article is presented by Perkins Motors in Colorado Springs, Colorado.