Ten Basics for the Backcountry

I just finished reading an article about a 54-year-old mother of four from Pennsylvania who set a new women’s record for travel by foot on the Iditarod Trail. Her feat: 350 miles in six days, 23 hours, and 30 minutes.

The story went to say that participants were required to carry enough gear with them to survive – this meant pulling a sled with an arctic sleeping bag, sleeping pad, shelter, food, and extra clothing.

Nothing was mentioned about a map or compass, headlamp, matches and firestarter – in fact there were a few very important survival items not listed in the article  (though I’m sure participants were required to take with them).

Whether you’re headed out for several hours or six days, there are essentials that you should always carry in your pack.

Are you prepared? Photo: M.Kopp

Top Ten Items to Carry:

  1. Navigation – today it can mean map and compass or GPS and extra batteries
  2. Sun protection – from sunglasses to sunscreen to sunhat
  3. Clothing – layers of extra clothing to provide warmth and protection from the elements
  4. Light –  mini-flashlight or headlamp
  5. First Aid – pack the personal kit
  6. Fire – waterproof matches or lighter and firestarter
  7. Food – extra food beyond your lunch
  8. Water – extra water or a water filter
  9. Shelter – tarp or shelter
  10. Knife – folding pocket knife or multi-tool

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