Sunday, March 07, 2010

Frank's 30 Essential Items for Hiking or Backpacking

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Frank's 30 Essentials

In my role as a Boy Scout leader, I regularly emphasize the importance of being prepared in any outdoor adventure. I teach the Scouts the importance of always carrying with them the Boy Scout 10 essentials.
As you may already know the Boy Scout 10 Essentials are:

1. Pocket knife (sharp): Victorinox Swiss knife, or multi-tool
2. First Aid Kit, including moleskin and chapstick
3. Map & Compass: be sure you have a map of the area you are going to
4. Rain Gear; Rain poncho
5. Flashlight and extra batteries;
6. Trail food or hard candy; GORP
7. Canteen or seal-able water bottle with water; Nalgene type Bottle 32oz.
8. Matches (waterproof) and fire starters; (dryer lint works well for tinder)
9. Sun and lip protection; Hat and sunscreen
10. Extra clothing, especially a jacket and socks

I have always admired the simplicity of the Scout 10 Essentials but as I have experienced more outdoor ventures I realized that there are many more things that are essential and that can be added as I go outdoors for an extended period of time. So I came up with Frank's 30 essentials for outdoor camping and hiking. These include:

11. Insect repellent (lots of bugs out there!)
12. Plastic Garbage Bags (2 heavy weight); (makeshift shelter, or for collecting trash/water, or for making a solar still)
13. Note pad and pen or pencil;
14. Two large nails 10p (a useful tool, and can also be used to make an emergency shelter between two trees, can also be used to make a weapon or fish spear)
15. Emergency Blanket;
16. Metal mirror or reflective signaling device; ( I carry old computer hard drive platters)
17. 50’ braided nylon rope; 550 Paracord
18. Needle and thread; for field repairs
19. Duct Tape - orange or other bright color (wrapped around a credit card or flashlight, or water bottle)
20. Sierra cup or equivalent metal cup: the metal cup can be used for boiling water for purification
21. High intensity whistle attached to a lanyard
22. Prayer book, or small New Testament
23. Mess-kit, vittles kit, (Spoon, Fork, etc..)
24. Dental Floss (for teeth, and as emergency thread for repairs and possible fishing line)
25. Toiletries, (toothbrush, lip balm, comb, soap, etc)
26. Tissues, Toilet paper: can be used as tinder or for wiping noses and other areas…
27. Moist towelettes, or baby wipes (for wiping the nether regions..)
28. Neckerchief, (bright color) can be used for about 100 chores, (water filtering, sweat band, dew gathering, sun protection, dust mask, table cloth, tinder, etc, etc...)
29. Beanie Cap, wool or acrylic: you lose about 33% of body heat from your head
30. Tarp (many uses, including emergency shelter)
Many of the items, I would admit are luxuries in the outdoors, but still I think these are the bare minimum that I would take with me. Instead of just teaching the Boy Scouts the traditional 10 essentials, I add my extra 20 essentials and they have proven to be very useful. Now, my Boy Scouts can be prepared for almost anything in nature they encounter!

Bonus item: 31. Leather Gloves: to protect your hands in the wild…

Now, go out and enjoy creation!

Frank Loaiza

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