Hikers- what do you pack for your hikes?

Jan 10th, 2006, 05:06 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,242
Hikers- what do you pack for your hikes?

Lately I see many posts here asking about hiking so I would would like to hear from hikers who hike in different areas of the country.
I'm trying to update my own list. Last week we had to cut our hike short after realizing we did not have a flashlight with us. What about you?
1. What brand of backpack do you carry?
2. What do you always keep in your backpack?
3. What boots do you wear and where did you buy them?
4. What kind of food do you take?
5. What is on your First Aid list?
6. What are the items you wouldn't think about going hiking without?
7. Do you bring your camera with you?
8. Do you carry water with you? How much and in what kind of bottles?
9. Do you use walking sticks? What kind?
10. Do you always carry a map with you?
11. Why and how do you use specific trails for hiking?
12. Do you carry your binoculars?
Pat2003 is offline  
Jan 10th, 2006, 06:38 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Hi Pat,
Most of my hiking and climbing experience has been in the Beartooth wilderness area and Sierra's when I lived in San Francisco.
I always carry a Topo map for the area.
I carry a Jansport D5 Pack
I wore Cortina hiking and climbing boots
(one piece leather)(bought in 1967). They finally fell apart on the insides!
I carry one larger size water bottle with a no leak top, a Pint size for Bourbon (around the fire in the evening).
I carry an Ace bandage, Neosporin, Cutters small bottle not a spray. A small can of Deet spray for the back of my legs. Bandaids small and large. I never wear shorts and wear long sleeved shirts. Plenty of socks. Plaid underwear which can be a bathing suit if it gets really warm. Wife would pack Floral Bra and panties.
Very small penlight. Must be able to hold in my teeth.
I pack a potatoe or two, an onion, small containers of spices and S&P. Coffee, sugar and Tang.In Tupperware small containers I pack Butter. Freezer bags, a garbage bag or two to cache my food, Nylon line, Mystic tape for repairs, a small screwdriver for pack adjustments. a lighter. Plates and a drinking cup.I contain white gas in a small bottle also a small bottle of Veg. Oil. For my first night I take frozen meat ( Plastic bottle of wine for meals). I pack a grill rack, Frying pan, and nesting pots. Tent, 60/40 coat. Chamois cloth shirt and a wool shirt. My fishing rod and gear always go with me. My Down sleeping bag and pad.I use to carry a camera (disposable). Toilet paper 1/3 of a roll. Paper towels light fires, clean dishes wipe other things too!
A flashlight is not something that is entirely necessary since you should be
up at first light and bedded down at dark (of course you may have to P and you should have that figured out before hand)!Binoculars?
My packing weight maximum was 30 lbs. If it was heavier I had my buddy carry the tent! I am now 68 in Florida and play golf but I and my children do
have tons of experience. Kristin (just about 5 ft. has climbed El Altar in Equador, races Sled Dogs in Or., hiked and camped in the Amazon and on and on. My son is an Environmental Engineer and will be resoring a water system in the Zumwalt Prarie not far from the Idaho border.
Please pack out any garbage you see on the trail on your way out including your own. Take only containers that will burn (no foil wrapped foods etc). I suggest you get a book on wildflowers and edible plants for the area you are hiking.
johnthedorf is offline  
Jan 10th, 2006, 06:55 AM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 576
My husband and I are just day hikers, so we don't need any hardcore gear, but a cell phone is a must for me. There's no guarantee it will work, but if someone gets hurt it's nice to at least have the option of trying to call for help.
MerryTravel is offline  
Jan 10th, 2006, 09:34 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 9,352
I went on a few day hikes up the mountains in Scotland. Yes Mountains.

Must haves for Me.
water, water, water
rain gear
minimal food
jorr is offline  
Jan 10th, 2006, 09:44 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,299
There are "ten essentials" that anyone going hiking shouldn't be without-you can google or look in any hiking book for more info:

Ten Essentials
1. Map
2. Compass
3. Flashlight/headlamp (be sure to have an extra set of batteries that fit your flashlight/headlamp)
4. Extra food (enough for one extra day)
5. Extra clothing
6. Rain gear ( jacket and pants-always carry rain gear even if the sun is out)
7. First aid supplies (be sure to include an extra day of any medication you are taking or might need in an emergency)
8. Pocket knife
9. Matches (stored in a water tight container in addition to matches or a butane lighter)
10. Fire starter (can be candles, chemical fire starter, backpack size fire logs)

Things like brand of boots and backpacks don't matter as long as they are of decent quality. As for food, I assume we are just talking about day hiking (not backpacking)-I just bring whatever I feel like eating and will last a few hours in a backpack. Jerky, fruit, etc. I only use walking sticks when backpacking, where the support comes in very handy going down steep, rocky slopes with a heavy pack.

I just cringe when I read posts like the one above that states they only bring a cell phone. I have friends that do search and rescue and they put their own lives on the line to rescue people that just think they are going out on the trail for a few hours, and don't bring a map and compass (or don't know how to use it), extra food and clothes, etc. It is ridiculously easy to get lost and you should always be prepared to spend a night on the trail if you are actually hiking.
christy1 is offline  
Jan 10th, 2006, 09:46 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,108
We do day hikes rather than backpacking, so we don't need a lot of gear. Our backpacks are standard day packs - Jansport or something or other. I don't know what brand my hiking boots are. I just went to the sporting goods store and tried on several until I found a pair that fit well and didn't cost an arm and a leg.

For food, we usually take some sort of lunch food and snacks if we are going to be out all day. I like to stop at a deli and buy sandwiches, crackers, cookies, and fruit.

We have a first aid kit with the usually stuff - bandaids, ointment, hydrogen peroxide, ibuprophin, sissors, tape, etc.

We always hike with some sort of map - topo map, map from the state park visitors center, or something.

We ALWAYS bring a camera - in fact, my husband's camera equipment weighs more than my day pack. His whole motivation for going out is photography.

I usually take binoculars unless I forget them.

Water - always. We have these bottles with carabeaner (sp?) hooks that snap onto our daypacks. I usually carry an extra liter or 2 in addition to that in my pack.

Walking sticks - sometimes.
J_Correa is offline  
Jan 10th, 2006, 10:39 AM
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#1 on the list should be cell phone. With a charged battery. Never ever use it for anything but an emergency, but you should certainly have one. And a lighter.
sylvia3 is online now  
Jan 10th, 2006, 11:25 AM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 576
For the record, we don't just bring a cell phone. I felt the first post covered pretty much everything except a cell phone, so I just wanted to add that.
MerryTravel is offline  
Jan 10th, 2006, 12:37 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 6,267
Regarding flashlights: I don't use battery operated ones anymore for hiking. I bought a set of handcranking ones (no batteries, you crank the handle for 45 seconds and you get hours of light) at Costco. They have a red flashing mode also, for distress signaling. I also hike with a very high beam intense red flasher that can be seen a very long distance away.

I have Lowa boots, bought at Hudson Trail Outfitters. No break-in needed; I was skeptical of that but I put these babies on and hiked 6 miles the next day without any problem. Extrmemely well construcuted. $169 eight years ago. I wear all weather wool socks, high ones w/a liner in winter, low ones in warmer weather. Long sleeve shirt and pants, no matter the temperature, just use lightweight fabrics in warmer weather. We pack an extra nylon outer layer w/hood if it is going to be cool at night in the environment, in case of emergency.

I have a day pack with a waist strap by Lowe Alpine Systems, and the water Camelbacks have extra space for supplies also. I love my Lowe; you can get into it from the top, but also half way down it has a zipper (and a "shelf" that can be zipped in place to divide the pack into two zones, upper and lower), so a friend can get into it while you have it on and get something from the bottom without riffling through everything at the top.

Backpack: Kelty, although most trips now are day hiking.

Food: I always have trail mix w/nuts and dried fruit and multiple energy bars (enough for emergency overnight stay); usually also carry apples and wahtever we decide to eat on the trail.

Water: Husband and son wear hydration packs for extra water in case of emergency. The 3 of us and daughter carry water bottle on strap around chest/under arm. We prefer that for constant use, but I also carry a waist pack with two bottles of water in side holsters. Daughter carries extra water in these nifty plastic Flexi-flask pouches that take up little room and weigh almost nothing by themselves.

In daypack: First aid kit with bandages, wraps, mole skin and small scissors, ibuprofen, antibiotic ointment, emergency instructions for broken bones, snake bites, etc. Also carry bug spray, sunscreen. Lights as mentioned above. Most important: a strong whistle, which can be blown every few min. when lost. Swiss army knife. Bear bell that can be attached to pack. Compass. Thermal blankets (kind that fold up small), one for each person.

In waistpack: camera, good quality small binoculars, cell phone (although I don't rely on it working on the trail); map of larger area that the trail is in; specific trail desription and map

We chosse trails that are known to be more remote and less traveled, but not completely devoid of other people, and prefer scenic, moderate intensity hiking of at least a hlf day duration. If trail gets too technical for anyone's comfort, we turn around and leave. We choose trails from reliable and recommended hiking books that have good detailed descriptions of the trails and maps.
emd is offline  
Jan 10th, 2006, 12:41 PM
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one more thing: when we hike as a family, we each wear a whistle. And we take both of the crank flashlights that came in the set.
emd is offline  
Jan 10th, 2006, 12:46 PM
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I've only done day hikes, and most of that has been in the desert Southwest, with a couple trips to RMNP.
1) REI Cascade w/100 oz. water capacity
2) Basically everything on Christy's list (except #9 - I have a magnesium stick with a flint/spark thing on one side), plus snake bite kit, and misc. things like car keys, wallet, cell phone because I'm not about to leave them in my car. Most places I go have no cellphone signal, so it functions as a watch for me. I think the expectation that it *might* be useful in an emergency gives a false sense of security. I go out with the idea that I'm on my own if I get hurt. Sunscreen is optional in my pack - I put it on ahead of time, and generally wear long-sleeve shirt and pants and a wide-brimmed hat, so sun exposure is minimal, even in the desert.
3) REI-don't remember the brand
4) Trail mix, power bars, jerky, sandwiches some times
5) It's a pre-packaged kit with the usual stuff
6) See answer to #2
7) Yes, in a separate waist pack
8) Yes. Depends on the length of hike, but generally I fill my hydration pack (100 oz.) and take an extra bottle or two.
9) Not sure of the brand - trekking poles that telescope in/out and have anti-shock.
10) Yes, unless I'm not going out of sight of my car.
11) Not sure what you mean
12) Never
Jan 10th, 2006, 01:12 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,131
Sorry, this is off the topic, but it is about hiking. With regard to that tragic accident on Mt. Kilimanjaro, I was extremely surprised that people in their 50's and 60's would take on that mountain. My husband disagreed, felt that an experienced hiker of any age could do it. Opinions?
Leona is offline  
Jan 10th, 2006, 02:50 PM
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When I say "hiking," I specifically exclude walks where I carry what I will use to sleep in that night. To me that's "backpacking." Thus, my answers will apply specifically to the innumerable amount of day hikes I've done.
1. The cheapest I can find. The less weight in my pack, the better, so quality is not an issue for me.
2. Last year I decided to remove things I have never used in the ten years of day hikes. I now carry: whistle, toilet paper, water, first aid kit, map. No longer carry knife, rope, compass.
3. Can't recall the brand; but I have found the Internet is a satisfactory way to purchase boots.
4. I eat a lot before I start and after I end. If I think I'll need food along the way, I take some granola cereal and fruit.
5. Bandages. Gauze. Alcohol wipes. Pink bismuth tablets. Aspirin. Throat lozenges.
6. A map to make certain I stay on the trail, and a whistle in case I run into trouble.
7. Usually not. Pocket cameras don't take very good pictures and my good 35mm is just too heavy.
8. Two liters in separate plastic bottles. Freezing them the night before guarantees they'll stay cold for hours. I drink a LOT of water before starting so I rarely need much for a couple hours.
9. I keep forgetting them, believe it or not. I enjoyed hiking without them for decades, and have to force myself to bring them along. I just don't notice a difference between having them and not doing so. Intellectually, I've concluded they ARE useful, but my gut just doesn't feel that way. So I usually forget to take them.
10. As noted above, a map is priority item number one.
11. I've gone to as many places as I can readily go to, in order to see if the hiking is good at these places. In addition, I'm trying to do as much of the AT and the Horseshoe Trail as I can, via day hikes. EVENTUALLY I will work my way up to backpacking.
PaulRabe is offline  
Jan 10th, 2006, 02:55 PM
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Yes, it is off-topic and belongs on it's own posting. Since you brought it up, if you are speaking of Mary Sammis, 57 and the other two hikers killed on Jan. 5, they were killed by a massive rockslide, which is thought to have been started by a minor earthquake. The other two hikers were age 63 and and age 27. It was a rockslide that killed them, not their age. Sammis was in good physical condition and an avid hiker of the Mohawk and Appalacian trails. Kilamanjaro, a tamer mountain than many other high peaks of the world, is a long climb requiring physical endurance and adaptation. Many younger people can't finish and turn back. It's not a walk in the park, but it has it's own inherent risks, no matter your age.
emd is offline  
Jan 10th, 2006, 04:24 PM
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BTW, beef jerky is good to pack also in case of emergency, if you are a meat eater. It doesn't spoil and has a lot of protein for the weight.

I have never had to spend a night out on the trail, but my husband and son came close recently on a mountain biking expedition in Sedona, where they took the wrong turn on the trail (fork was unmarked, and not marked on the map they got from the bike shop either) and ended up in the complete dark for one hour after sunset, trying to find their way back. I've gotten lost, and it is always good to know we could survive outside for a night if we had to.

and I forgot that I carry waterproof matches in my pack also.
emd is offline  
Jan 10th, 2006, 04:33 PM
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Kil. is not a technical climb, just a (very) difficult hike. If you are in good condition, and aware of your physical well-being, no problem. People well into their "golden" years climb the 14ers in Colorado all the time.
sylvia3 is online now  
Jan 10th, 2006, 08:00 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,299
To add to the above comment-I was taught to rock climb by a 55 year old woman, and frequently meet on the trail (hard hikes and backpack trips) people well into their 60s and 70s.

A cell phone is absolutely useless in many cases. There is rarely cell phone coverage in the mountain/wilderness/National Park areas where I (and countless others here in the West) hike. You're far better off learning good map and compass skills, planning for the worst case scenario, and letting someone at home know where you went and what time you are expected back.
christy1 is offline  
Jan 11th, 2006, 06:29 AM
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Where do you plan on hiking?
johnthedorf is offline  
Jan 11th, 2006, 06:33 AM
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ANd in many cases, cell phones have saved lives. Couldn't hurt to have one.
sylvia3 is online now  
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