Hiking - The Ten Essentials

If you’ve read the intrepid Jesse Kropelnicki’s thoughts on integrating hiking into your Ironman training, you know how beneficial it is (and if you haven’t, take a read here). Hiking is a terrific opportunity to build durability and practice fueling, all while visiting some beautiful scenery. 

If you’ve never hiked before, be sure to check in with an experienced friend or visit your local outdoor retailer to ensure you’ve got the basics – proper footwear for starters – along with a backpack for necessities. What are those necessities, you ask? Similar to packing adequate fuel and clothing to ride for five hours or execute a long run, you don’t want to hike unprepared, especially if you’re going more than a few miles. Below I’ll outline what has evolved into the “Ten Essentials” list when it comes to outdoor adventures.

The original Ten Essentials list was assembled in the 1930s by The Mountaineers, a Seattle-based organization for climbers and outdoor adventurers, to help people prepare for emergency situations in the outdoors. Originally, the list included specific items (think map, sunscreen), but in recent years, it’s progressed into more of a “systems” approach that includes categories (fire, shelter). Despite the update, the two questions the list aims to answer have remained the same – can you respond positively to an accident or emergency? And can you safely spend a night (or more) outside?

Here’s what the list looks like today:

  1. Navigation: Map, altimeter, compass, GPS
  2. Headlamp: Plus extra batteries
  3. Sun protection: Sunglasses, sun-protective clothes, and sunscreen
  4. First aid: Including foot care and insect repellent (if required)
  5. Knife or multitool: Plus a gear repair kit
  6. Fire: Matches, lighter and tinder, or stove as appropriate
  7. Shelter: Carried at all times (can be light emergency bivvy or space blanket)
  8. Extra food: Beyond the minimum expectation
  9. Extra water: Beyond the minimum expectation, or the means to purify
  10. Extra clothes: Beyond the minimum expectation (including rain gear and fast-drying layers).

You can tailor the list to the length or difficulty of the trip you’re planning. For instance, you may want to leave the altimeter at home on a shorter day hike, but for a longer, more complex trip, you may pack everything. While you may not use all the items listed, if something goes wrong, you’ll be glad you have them! 

This post was written by Coach, Russet Morrow. 

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