Before you hit any trail, make sure your backpack is loaded with these ten essentials. Carry each one and know how to use them.
Firestarter – Always bring along waterproof matches in a water tight container and have a dry or waterproof striker.
First Aid Kit – Make sure you have the supplies to deal with major injuries and make sure you have the knowledge to properly treat them. You can purchase first aid kits at outdoor stores or put together your own.
Hydration – It is essential to drink a lot of water while hiking. Without water, your body doesn’t perform as well and you could grow more susceptible to heatstroke, hypothermia, and altitude sickness
Illumination – A light sources is vital if you get caught in the woods after dark. Carry spare batteries and make sure you test your light before each trip.
Navigation – Always carry a detailed map of the area that you are hiking in and a compass. Stop by one of Central Washington’s Visitor Center’s before your journey to collect local maps and guides.
Nutrition – Always bring extra food when hiking in case an unexpected situation delays your return. Carry at least one extra day’s worth of something that stores for a long time, requires no preparation, and is high in energy. Many people choose things they dislike so they won’t be tempted to break into their emergency rations unless they really need them.
Rain Gear & Insulation – Weather can change quickly in the mountains. A sunny, warm day can turn into a cold downpour in a very short period of time. Always tuck rain gear into your backpack and bring along layers of clothing.
Tools – Knives or a multi-tool are indispensable. They can help you prepare food, cut bandages and gauze, repair gear, and more. Duct tape can fix everything from tent poles to ripped boots and packs
Shelter – An emergency tarp or space blanket can help protect you through a sudden storm or shelter you through an unexpected night outdoors.
Sun Protection – Your eyes need the protection of sunglasses or goggles, especially if you are on snow or above the tree line. Sunscreen is also important for people of all skin types in all types of weather and should be reapplied frequently to avoid the damaging effects of strong rays