Sunday, May 20, 2007

Essential dayhiking gear

Recently the hiking blogsphere has had a discussion about essential gear to pack. I've read some of these and noted that where I hike and the physical condidtions I hike in causes me to pack differently than some of the other hiking bloggers, see Winehiker and Two-Heel drive.

I usually wear a ballcap rather than a wide-brimmed hat. Hiking in the mountains and forests, I don't get that much sun and I often get enough breeze to make keeping a hat on difficult. Also, it rains a lot except in summer. A ballcap can be used under a hood to keep the rain out of my eyes.

I don't have a GPS, I want one but doubt I would use it much and haven't needed one. Possibly I'm just not an adventuous hiker. I do carry map and compass and don't always stay on trails but don't hike cross country much.

I have a cell phone but rarely take it hiking with me, I leave it in my car. In the mountains around Seattle cell coverage is spotty at best. Many times there is no cell coverage at the trailhead and except for ridges and mountain tops probably no coverage anywhere along the trail. When hiking in Yellowstone Park I have sometimes taken my cell but didn't find coverage on most trails when I checked. I'm always a bit surprised when I read about hikers or other backcountry users reporting on a cell phone.

I always carry the 10 Essentials. I also carry a grommeted poncho, 50 feet of light line, and several other small items mentioned by winehiker such as a hankerchief and lip balm. I also take a pen and small notepad with me, useful for taking notes and leaving messages. Another items I carry is a small ensolite pad to sit on, very nice in wet conditions.