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Backpacking trips - ten chief items - in the open air


I've had backpacking trips that incorporated rain, snow, lightning, rockslides, elevation sickness, and twenty-mile days - all in a summer weekend. Boondocks trips can be dangerous, but you can make then less so, by having the next ten prerequisites in your backpack.

1. Knowledge. What good is a range if you don't know how to use it? Play with matches if your fire-making skills are shaky. Learn what to do when you see a bear. Read a little, custom a a small amount - awareness is more apt to save you than gadgets.

2. Map and compass. These are together, since that's the way you need to use them.

3. Matches and lighter. Bring both, or water-resistant matches and a fire starter of some sort. Having two ways to start a fire is much safer.

4. First aid kit. Buy a pre-packaged one or build your own. Make sure it has pain relievers, bandages, disinfectant, and notes on basic first aid procedures.

5. Foot care. Your first aid kit needs moleskin, and maybe a pin, to treat blisters. Your feet have to be well cared for when you're climbing miles from the bordering road.

6. Water purification. A filter works, but they clog and break so often that you be supposed to have a small container of iodine medicine or other water distillation as back up.

7. Rainwear. One of the largest killers in the woods is hypothermia, and it often starts when you get wet. Try to stay dry.

8. Shelter. This can be a tent, tarp or bivy sack. Just be sure you know how to use it.

9. Sleeping bag. Down bags are the sincere for their weight, but be sure you know how to keep it dry, or bring a bogus bag.

10. Aspect trip items. For backpacking trips in Michigan in May, bring insect repellant. In June in Arizona, bring sunblock. Think about the definite environment for the time and place of your trip.

Make your own list if you take common backpacking trips. It's no fun when a ally tells us ten miles down the trail that he's allergic to bees and forgot his medicine. A a small amount preparation means less worries, and a beat trip.

Steve Gillman is a long-time backpacker, and advocate of ultralight backpacking. His assistance and stories can be found at http://www. TheBackpackingSite. com


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