In the 1930s, the Mountaineers, a Seattle-based hiking, climbing,
and conservation organization, came up with a list of 10 essential
items that no climber should be without.
Map. A map not only tells you where you are and how far
you have to go, it can help you find campsites, water, and an
emergency exit route in case of an accident.
Compass. A compass can help you find your way through
unfamiliar terrain¡Xespecially in bad weather where you can't
see the landmarks.
Water and a way to purify it. Without enough water, your
body's muscles and organs simply can't perform as well: You'll
be susceptible to hypothermia and altitude sickness. not to mention
the abject misery of raging thirst.
Extra Food. Any number of things could keep you out longer
than expected: a lengthy detour, getting lost, an injury, difficult
terrain. A few ounces of extra food will help keep up energy and
Rain Gear and extra clothing. Because the weatherman is
not always right. Especially above treeline, bring along extra
layers. Two rules: Avoid cotton (it keeps moisture close to your
skin), and always carry a hat.
Firestarter and matches. The warmth of a fire and a hot
drink can help prevent an encounter with hypothermia. And fires
are a great way to signal for help if you get lost.
First aid kit. Prepackaged first aid kits for hikers are
available at outfitters. Double your effectiveness with knowledge:
Take a basic first aid class with the American Red Cross or a
Wilderness First Aid class, offered by many hiking organizations.
Army knife or multi-purpose tool. These enable you to
cut strips of cloth into bandages, remove splinters, fix broken
eyeglasses, and perform a whole host of repairs on malfunctioning
gear¡Xnot to mention cut cheese and open cans.
Flashlight and extra bulbs. For finding your way in the
dark and signaling for help.
Sun screen and sun glasses. Especially above treeline
when there is a skin-scorching combination of sun and snow, you'll
need sunglasses to prevent snowblindness, and sunscreen to prevent