Back Packing Ten Essentials

1. Pocketknife
6. Flashlight
2. First Aid Kit 7. Trail Food
3. Extra Clothing 8. Matches or Fire Starters
4. Rain Gear 9. Sun Protection
5. Canteen or Water Bottle 10. Map and Compass 


The Pocketknife
Chances are, you won't forget it, I mean, who wouldn't bring a pocketknife? Why would a kid not want to carry a pocketknife? There're useful for just about anything. For cutting your food, to carving your walking staff, from cutting rope, to fixing your backpack. You don't need a 50-in-1 Swiss Army Knife, but you need one with the basic blade, can opener. Scissors are always nice.

The First Aid Kit
This is a pretty easy one. What are you going to do when you get hurt? You bring you first aid kit along to fix any problems you might have on the trail. Make sure there's plenty of mole skin for you blisters, some alcohol prep pads, and small bandages. Peptobismal tablets are a must. You may also want to bring aspirin and any other medications you may need.

Extra Clothing
It's really bad going on a weekend trip with only one set of clothes. What happens if you fall in the water, or you get your clothes torn. What about at night when you are really cold. This happens more than you would think. All of these situations you will wish you had an extra set of clothes.

Rain Gear
There's nothing worse than being caught in the rain without your rain gear. You get soaked to the bone and have to stay that way until it either stops raining, or you get in some dry building. What can be equally worse, is getting caught in the rain with "water resistant" material. Water resistant does not mean water proof. Water resistant means it will keep you dry for about five minutes. After that, it seeps through, soaking you just as if you had no rain gear. The word you are looking for when buying rain gear is "water proof." It will be more expensive, but it will actually work

A simple lightweight bottle will work well. Two litter soda bottles work very well and are extremely low cost. You can do just about anything to them and they will not break. Be sure to bring at least one gallon a day, for drinking, cooking and washing.

One of you best options is to bring along a Maglite. They give plenty of brightness, and carry an extra bulb on the bottom. Be sure to bring some extra batteries for the longer trips. Also the super small Maglites work well if you don't need a lot of light. There a lot lighter, and are good if you're trying to save weight.

Trail Food
Trail food is great for boosting your energy level in order to perform better. Trail food they sell you in the store is very expensive and always have something in there you don't like. Make your own, save money, and eat what you like. Fruits, crackers, and some candy are also good trail foods. Trail food can also be a backup meal in case you run short, its always good to have.

Matches or Fire Starters
How are you going to light your stove when your hungry. Don't always rely on those push starters, they seem to alleyway break down. What about just before you go to bed, and you want to start a nice fire. Don't tell me your going to rub sticks together!!! Fire starters may be a better option that matches because it doesn't matter if they get wet, buy you have to be able to start a fire with them, kinda hard. Matches are usually the best option if you put them in a ziplock or other water proof container. Don't use the water proof matches, they are always such a pain to strike. You usually end up breaking the match before it lights.

Sun Protection
How many times have you or someone you've known, got sunburned at the beach. Every time you touched their shoulders they would scream in pain. Now just imagine having to backpack with all that weight on your sunburned shoulders. Sunburns on the face aren't much better. An easy way to prevent this unpleasant situation, is to put on some sunscreen. Also wearing a hat will greatly reduce sunburn on the face. Wearing a hat will also save you a lecture from one of the leaders who has or has had some form of skin cancer!

Map and Compass
Most people forget or purpose to leave this item home. Just think, if your lost, just pull out your trusty map and compass, find out where you are, and how to get out of there. Without one it would be kind of hard. Its also very important to know how to use them. You can get a topo map of the area that your hiking by going to a ranger station near where your camping. They should have a map of your area.

Other items to consider packing.

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