It is important to bring the 10 Essentials along when hiking and camping as the weather can change rapidly, you can become lost or you could have to deal with an emergency situation. Below find a list of the basic items needed to have the 10 essentials for hiking and camping covered.
1. Light – Headlamp or Flashlight (with extra batteries) / Light Stick.
The most common cause for overdue hikers on the North Shore is lack of light. We recommend a headlamp as this allows for both of your hands to be free. As a backup it is always good to carry some light sticks, which can operate without battery and generate enough light so that you can move slowly at night.
BUY NOW: Headlamp
2. Communication – Fully charged Mobile Phone / SPOT Device.
It is important not to rely on the light your mobile phone produces. If you are fortunate enough to have a signal you will need your phone to stay in contact with emergency services. If you are able to invest into a SPOT device we would recommend having one. It has the ability to give off an SOS signal with your exact location.
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3. Navigation – Compass / Maps / Handheld GPS Device.
It is important to have the proper training to know how to use these items. Plan your route ahead of time and use all of these items to ensure you stay on track. If you are lost it is always recommended to stay where you are.
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4. Signalling Device – Whistle / Pencil Flare / Mirror.
If lost you need to have the ability to make your presence known. In order to prevent losing your voice you’ll want to use a whistle instead. It is best to blow your whistle a few times in all directions every 3-5 minutes. If you believe contact is made with a rescue team, continue blowing your whistle until you have visual confirmation that they can see you.
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5. Protection from Elements – Extra clothing stored in a waterproof bag / Sunscreen & sunglasses
Having spare dry clothing could prevent you from getting hypothermia. The nights can be unforgivingly cold especially if you are wet. Your goal is to stay dry while not over heating. As your first layer you’ll want to be wearing materials that do not absorb sweat. The next few layers should be something warm but breathable. Your last layer should focus on the waterproof aspect. Having a Gortex outer layer with vents (eg. under arm) is what we suggest. Most of your heat will be lost from your head so make sure you pack a toque. Alternately, in warm weather the danger lies in exposure to the sun which can result in heat stroke so sunscreen, a cap, sunglasses and in some cases a long sleeved shirt are recommended.
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6. Hydration & Food – Water / Electrolytes (eg. Gatorade) / High calorie nutritious bars work best (eg. Cliff Bar) .
Avoiding dehydration is critical. It is important to hydrate prior to all outings and to carry enough water with you while you explore. If you know that you’ll be in an area with a water supply it is always a good option to bring a water filter along. This way you are able to replenish your supply of water when necessary.
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7. First-aid Supplies – Protective Gloves / Medication (eg. Aspirin, Benadryl, Advil & any of your prescription) / Assisted Vent Mask / Band Aids / Saline / Tweezers / Scissors / Crepe Rolled Bandages.
8. Cover – Emergency Blanket / Thermal Tarp / Large Plastic Garbage Bag
An emergency blanket can be used to keep you warm and dry. Having a back up tarp over your head is a good additional step. Make sure that the tarp is a bright colour so that you can easily be spotted. A large plastic garbage bag can be a handy item as it can keep you dry and by adding dry leaves keep you warm as well.
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Cordage: Rope / Paracord / Jute Twine / Fishing Line
Cordage is an extra complimentary item for cover as it can assist in getting a shelter up or tying it down along with many other uses.
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9. Cutting Tool – Knife or Multitool / Small Saw.
10. Combustion – Waterproof Matches / Lighter / Candle / Ferro Rod.
A fire can help keep you warm, heat up your food, boil water and also make you visible for rescuers. If living in an area like British Columbia it can be extremly difficult to ignite a fire in certain weather conditions. Make sure you have the proper training and practice so you can be prepared to start a fire in all circumstances.
BUY NOW: Waterproof Matches