the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking

Posted by: TeacherRO

the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 11/29/16 08:07 PM

note what they recommend for light --

the ten essentials
Posted by: chaosmagnet

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 11/29/16 08:26 PM

Nice. I would strongly urge anyone who asked me to stay away from flashlights that use incandescent bulbs, even with an available spare. LEDs are far more rugged and provide much better runtime at any level of output.
Posted by: hikermor

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 11/29/16 11:18 PM

I was browsing the cheapo lights in the local big box yesterday amd I don't think you can even find an incandescent bulb these days, although non LEDs (halogens) are possible. I wouldn't bother with anything but an LED. I would nix the cyalumes and just carry spare batteries for the headlamp or another small light (single AAA or AA type).

I note they recommend a CPR mask. Virtually useless unless a member of a full-fledged rescue team.
Posted by: LCranston

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 11/30/16 02:53 PM

wallymart now sells those 6 led 3AAA lights, cheapcheap headlamps, and cheapcheap clip to hat lamps for 1.00 each.

They are cheapcheap, but they work. grabbed 10 the the headlamps for the kids when camping.

when they lose them while running around, I can charge them a dollar (got to TRY teaching responsibility) and hand them another.

Nothing I would want to use rely upon, but kinda nice as spares for relatives, mooching neighbors, etc.
Posted by: hikermor

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 11/30/16 05:54 PM

Your strategy makes perfect sense for your situation - kids running around and playing, but I have frequently been in situations where dependable lighting was critical - especially caving and SAR where night operations were routine. I am willing to spend a lot more for lights that work reliably (and even then redundancy is a good idea). I don't worry about tint, CRI, etc - I just want something that pushes back the dark when I push on the button.

The cheapo lights available today are far better than the best available thirty years ago.
Posted by: TeacherRO

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 12/13/16 06:42 PM

...getting headlights for the family.
Posted by: WesleyH

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 01/07/17 11:39 AM

I don't know that I would ditch the cyalumes so quickly. They are cheap and they have a decent shelf life. (even the cheap .98 cent party versions at Walmart.) They give usable light for 8 to 12 hours and more importantly, they don't have small parts which can get dropped or lost easily.

For the investment, they are a good backup.
Posted by: Tjin

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 01/07/17 12:49 PM

Originally Posted By: WesleyH
I don't know that I would ditch the cyalumes so quickly. They are cheap and they have a decent shelf life. (even the cheap .98 cent party versions at Walmart.) They give usable light for 8 to 12 hours and more importantly, they don't have small parts which can get dropped or lost easily.

For the investment, they are a good backup.


But can be accidently be activated, takes relatively a lot of space and generate a not so usefull light.

When light is essential I generally carry a spare headlight. Your primariy light can not only run out of batteries, but also lost or damaged.
Posted by: hikermor

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 01/07/17 02:23 PM

I have had very unsatisfactory results with cyalumes, especially for emergency use. With the advent of small LEDs, lighter and brighter, cys are as obsolete as they are undependable.
Posted by: TeacherRO

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 01/08/17 03:04 AM

I have found light sticks that glow like cyalumes but are battery powered .99 - $5.00 w/ longer shelf life, replaceable batteries and you can test them monthly.
Posted by: KenK

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 01/08/17 02:36 PM

When selecting a headlight make sure it can use lithium batteries. They last longer, do better in cold weather, weight less, and DON'T LEAK!
Posted by: Tjin

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 01/08/17 02:45 PM

Originally Posted By: KenK
When selecting a headlight make sure it can use lithium batteries. They last longer, do better in cold weather, weight less, and DON'T LEAK!


Well except for my backup lite (Petzl E+lite), I use them frequently enough to run pretty much NiMH all the time. Won't leak either, more frugal in the long term and pretty good performance.
Posted by: hikermor

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 01/08/17 03:50 PM

Just avoid alkaline batteries like the plague! I put primary lithium bats in lights used only intermittently, and my "work lights" use rechargeables. Things work a lot better that way....
Posted by: clearwater

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 01/10/17 04:39 PM

I find rechargeables undependable. They don't always function in high drain applications and older cameras, GPS etc. Lithiums run out without warning. I bring backups of alkaline by the batch for extended trips and use the free Harbor Freight heavy duty batteries for everyday use in the devices the rechargeables won't function.
Posted by: hikermor

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 01/13/17 10:05 PM

Presumably we are talking about AA and AAA batteries, which makes us pretty much dinosaurs in terms of cutting edge battery technology. Lithium ion batteries, 18650, 14500, and the like, offer some real advantages in terms of capacity and reliability. They also offer snares for the unwary,so one must learn a bit, take precautions, and follow good practices.

I have a Zebralight headlamp that uses 18650s and it is the best headlamp I have ever used, and I will probably acquire more in the future.

One aspect of rechargeables, either NiMH or lithium ion, is their cheaper cost over the lifetime of the batteries. This is rather significant, because I find that a lot of my "precious" run on batteries, and more are on the way.

I also own a solar panel, and have the ability to charge my smaller batteries with nothing but the sun. That could be handy sometime.
Posted by: TeacherRO

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 01/24/17 11:47 PM

I also recommend reflective gear (hat, belt, pack) -- makes it easier to be found
Posted by: TeacherRO

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 01/31/17 04:47 PM

I am adding a spare, external cell phone batterey
Posted by: TeacherRO

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 05/24/17 11:04 PM

Matches and lighters - I recommend buying a 5 pack of Bics for a camping trip.
(Non smokers always forget)
Posted by: WesleyH

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 05/26/17 08:17 PM

Originally Posted By: WesleyH
I don't know that I would ditch the cyalumes so quickly. They are cheap and they have a decent shelf life. (even the cheap .98 cent party versions at Walmart.) They give usable light for 8 to 12 hours and more importantly, they don't have small parts which can get dropped or lost easily.

For the investment, they are a good backup.


Originally Posted By: Tjin
But can be accidentally be activated, takes relatively a lot of space and generate a not so useful light.


Sorry for the delay in getting back to defend my idea. While you have a good point, I find that a .99 cent toothbrush case is the perfect vehicle to store them in. It seems to protect them well, and does not add significant weight. I usually carry 3 or 4 in a midsized kit without problem.

Given their ability to put out light for a good 8 hours and longer, coupled with the idea that swinging one around on a string is a great attractor beacon, I would submit they are certainly worthy of consideration.
Posted by: TeacherRO

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 05/27/17 11:27 PM

Yes - and my energizer glowstick with a handful of batteries can go 100+ hours...
Posted by: Quietly_Learning

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 05/29/17 01:20 AM

If you can have a headlamp addiction I do. Every bag has one and most have a spare.

That said I keep 2 mini cyalumes in my edc first aid kit. They each are the about the size of a AA battery, weigh only grams, require no batteries, if one should somehow snap I have a spare and most importantly, I have no problem giving them out and never seeing them again.

I've also used they for marker lighting.

You can heat them in hot water and get a much brighter light, (with a reduced total use time).
Posted by: TeacherRO

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 08/30/17 05:00 PM

A headlamp is another useful piece of gear that most folks don't seem to know about - unless you are handy or camp, its just not on your radar.
Posted by: TeacherRO

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 10/11/17 07:30 PM

Even though its never just ten and no one can agree on what they are, this is a good starting point for my classes and discussions.
Posted by: hikermor

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 10/11/17 10:43 PM

What is essential varies a bit from situation to situation. Essentials in a desert would not be critical when at sea, for instance, although there are many commonalities (signaling, spare clothing, etc). Obviously you must have some understanding of conditions as you prepare for an excursion...
Posted by: Montanero

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 10/11/17 11:30 PM

Priorities do change along with environments to some extent. In very cold situations, shelter is the top priority. You can go a bit longer in the desert or on a tropical island without shelter. It will become important, just not in the first 3 hours. What you use for shelter will also change along with the environments.

Water is always a very high priority, but where you find water, and what you take to collect, purify and store the water may change.

Instead of a fixed list of essentials, it is better to address it by priorities, which do change a bit. A good understanding of the environment you are going to be in is always essential, maybe the number one essential.
Posted by: Russ

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 10/11/17 11:43 PM

After seeing how many situations go from normal to critical simply because a camper/hiker got lost, I put navigation and signaling high on the essential list ó map, compass, GPS, PLB... All of the above.
Posted by: hikermor

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 10/12/17 03:11 AM

I think you are absolutely correct in emphasizing navigation skills, but I would order the priorities a little differently. A good map (or possibly very good knowledge of the terrain) is first priority. A compass also ranks high, although very often it is not necessary - there are many ways of determining direction. A GPS is really useful, but not what I would call "essential".

PLB's are debatable. Actually, most of the time a cell phone will actually be more useful and will afford better communication in event of an emergency- as long as one has coverage. With a group, a PLB is less critical, but the solo hiker, or an inexperienced group, would be well advised to pack one.

The Essentials, whether ten or more, will vary with the circumstances and the surrounding environment. You need a lot more water in the Arizona desert than you do hiking in the Sierras. Hiking in really rough, broken country, I have long packed at least a minimal climbing rope and a very small amount of related climbing gear, stuff that I jettison in milder terrain.
Posted by: Herman30

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 10/12/17 10:42 AM

Originally Posted By: hikermor
A compass also ranks high, although very often it is not necessary - there are many ways of determining direction.

How do one determine direction without sun or stars or compass? Here in my nck of the woods it is often thick clouds without any trace of the sun in the fall/winter.
Posted by: Russ

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 10/12/17 11:36 AM

Determining direction in those conditions is tough without a compass. As backup I have the Delrin version of the Companion Compass on a paracord neck lanyard under my shirt. It weighs approx 5 grams and itís always there... and it works. Thatís not my only compass.

As for the GPS and PLB. I mark my carís location or other identifiable waypoints, and then turn it off and put the GPS away. Most of the time itís not needed, but itís always there as a backup to that, ďI-know-where-Iím-goingĒ attitude. When that fails, Iíve got tech.

The PLB is always backup ó totally useless weight unless you need extraction. Then itís like gold and takes the search out of SAR.
Posted by: hikermor

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 10/12/17 01:56 PM

Good point - those are the conditions where you do need a compass. In my experience, in the generally sunny American Southwest, I have had to resort to my compass for direction three times in sixty years (two of which were SAR missions).

This is in distinct contrast to boating/kayaking on open water. On one such occasion, just a short two hour paddle which was enlivened by the arrival of pea soup fog, I must have referred to my compass thirty times as I grouped back to the harbor.

One thing about compasses, they can be thrown off by objects you get too close to the needle, or by local ore deposits, etc. Climbing Orizaba in the early morning, our compass was off by 30 degrees, as shown by the North Star still shining brightly in the sky. For me, a clear sky, with sparkling stars, is the gold standard for direction finding, even when at sea....
Posted by: Russ

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 10/12/17 02:41 PM

Getting disoriented and turned around is easy without visual reference. There are lots of visual we should see but often overlook; itís part of situational awareness (SA).

You bring up a good point though about compasses being off (sometimes by a lot). I carry more than one and check them with known references. That SA thing again. My GPS also has an electronic compass and the GPS receiver tracks your direction of travel; either can be used to check a compass. Make sure you set-up the GPS for magnetic rather than true or you will have a built-in error. I always (almost?) use magnetic north as a reference just to remove that possibility of confusion.
Posted by: hikermor

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 10/12/17 04:00 PM

Actually,most of the time when I am out and about, I navigate by terrain association which works fine in country with significant relief, but is no good in thick, flat woodland, dense fog, etc. Often the problem isn't that you don't know where you are. You know where you are just fine, but the problem is how to get to where you want to be...

That is why a good topo map is absolutely critical. It will indicate possible routes and potentially save you a lot of time. It will also point out good camp sites and water sources and other good things. It helps if your map is up to date - many are not.
Posted by: Ren

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 10/12/17 06:20 PM

Originally Posted By: TeacherRO
I am adding a spare, external cell phone batterey
Originally Posted By: TeacherRO
Yes - and my energizer glowstick with a handful of batteries can go 100+ hours...


Came across these whilst trawling the internet

http://uyled.com/uyled-products/camping-lamp/

Waterproof LED light and USB battery pack. Available at places like Aliexpress, the smaller 1x18650 Q7M is $14 atm.
Posted by: Montanero

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 10/12/17 06:28 PM

In flat, featureless terrain, and I include flat forested areas, along with periods of decreased visibility, such as sand storms or blizzards (or nighttime), a compass or GPS, and a map are pretty important. Azimuth and distance can get you through these types of areas and situations. Most people will choose not to move at night or in blizzards or sad storms, but a very foggy day can last a while and disrupt a good hiking plan. Good planning of your route can ensure you do not get lost, if you have to move.
Posted by: TeacherRO

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 02/06/18 08:43 PM

A similar problem can occur on kayaking trips...
Posted by: Montanero

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 02/25/18 09:34 PM

Missing Hiker in Yosemite

What happens when you have your essentials, unplanned nights camping with no life threatening emergency.
Posted by: chaosmagnet

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 02/25/18 11:30 PM

Good stuff.
Posted by: Phaedrus

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 03/02/18 09:10 AM

Yeah, that's one case where the hiker did everything right (except for getting lost grin). He stayed put, had supplies, and came out of it okay.
Posted by: KenK

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 03/02/18 08:15 PM

For navigation in featureless areas the key is to learn to use a map, compass, and GPS together, especially learning out to transfer waypoints and bearings to and from the GPS/compass/map.

That sounds easier than it really is. Learning and practicing with UTM coordinates and a UTM map tool is key. Maptools.com has nice tools and a great tutorial.

I recommend getting a declination-adjustable compass, setting it for the local declination, which requires prior research, and getting used to using true north bearings (not manually adjusting for declination).

Oh, and I strongly recommend having extra GPS batteries (I once had to borrow fresh batteries from a young Girl Scout when demonstrating how to use a GPS ... so embarrassing).

Also, learn to use the GPS to mostly enter/get waypoints and bearings - not leaving it on to gather a crumb trail, but only turning it to input/output waypoints or bearings.

I'm a see-thru plastic baseplate compass person. I've never seen the lure of the lensatic compasses for map work.


For the essentials I tend to see two types: (1) when you're out and about you have a set of gear. That gear has to do what you need it to do. Most outdoors folks know what they need and how to do it - or they learn through the years.

(2) It's the second set of gear - what I tend to call survival gear - that is the "other" stuff. The idea is that it needs to be with you pretty much at all times. It's with you went you step out of camp to go to pee in the woods. It's with you went you take a short walk after dinner. It's with you went you when your canoe dumps and the rest of your gear floats away from you downstream. Because that gear has to always be with you it has to be small and lightweight.

I've spent many years coming to this forum, reading books, playing with building survival kits, and playing/practicing with the kit tools. After all this time I see how much money I've spent buying individual gear bits. Ouch.

In the end my best advice is to buy ONE Doug Ritter Personal Survival Pak (PSP), and buy ONE Doug Ritter's Personal Survival Pak PLUS, and then work carefully to follow the recommended instructions for supplementing the pak PLUS with additional needed gear. Use the smaller PSP to play with the tools inside to be comfortable with them, and leave the contents of the Pak PLUS as your real survival kit. In the end you will save a bunch of money ... on shipping alone!!

Don't forget to replace the water sanitizing pills as needed.

If it's not too late, the other bit of advice I have is to stop looking for the ultimate gear!! That will run you poor and make you crazy. You just can't win that game. Get a decent knife (Mora?), a decent compass (Sunnto?), and other decent gear (???), ... and then spend most of your time and money enjoying the amazing outdoors.
Posted by: hikermor

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 03/03/18 03:22 PM

Originally Posted By: KenK
.For the essentials I tend to see two types: (1) when you're out and about you have a set of gear. That gear has to do what you need it to do. Most outdoors folks know what they need and how to do it - or they learn through the years.

(2) It's the second set of gear - what I tend to call survival gear - that is the "other" stuff. The idea is that it needs to be with you pretty much at all times. It's with you went you step out of camp to go to pee in the woods. It's with you went you take a short walk after dinner. It's with you went you when your canoe dumps and the rest of your gear floats away from you downstream. Because that gear has to always be with you it has to be small and lightweight.

I've spent many years coming to this forum, reading books, playing with building survival kits, and playing/practicing with the kit tools. After all this time I see how much money I've spent buying individual gear bits. Ouch.

In the end my best advice is to buy ONE Doug Ritter Personal Survival Pak (PSP), and buy ONE Doug Ritter's Personal Survival Pak PLUS, and then work carefully to follow the recommended instructions for supplementing the pak PLUS with additional needed gear. Use the smaller PSP to play with the tools inside to be comfortable with them, and leave the contents of the Pak PLUS as your real survival kit. In the end you will save a bunch of money ... on shipping alone!!

Don't forget to replace the water sanitizing pills as needed.

If it's not too late, the other bit of advice I have is to stop looking for the ultimate gear!! That will run you poor and make you crazy. You just can't win that game. Get a decent knife (Mora?), a decent compass (Sunnto?), and other decent gear (???), ... and then spend most of your time and money enjoying the amazing outdoors.


Just a couple of comments to a very thoughtful and useful post. For a guy who hangs out a lot on ETS, I have been in genuine survival situations very infrequently - perhaps two episodes in my lifetime. But I have done a lot of "rough camping," especially involving SAR operations, which gets you close to the edge rather frequently.

Rather than two sets of gear, I like to think that I have one set, with some critical redundancies, especially fire starting, and perhaps shelter/overnighting (at a minimum, a light bivvy sack). Your load needs to adjust to the situation and season.

The three B's are critical in obtaining good equipment - Bag (as in sleeping), Boots, and Backpack. You won't have much fun if your foot gear doesn't allow you to cover ground safely and comfortably, if you can't carry your load efficiently, and you don't get a good night's sleep. That isn't everything - you will probably enjoy some food and water from time to time, but the three B's are a good start to fitting
out.

When you are faced with surviving/rough camping (and you will, sooner or later), I feel it is essential that you are equipped with gear with which you are familiar and comfortable. You have spent many good nights in that bag, and cooked many meals with that stove, etc. This is not the time to break into an unopened bag and fondle unfamiliar goodies. You will be stressed - at a minimum, tired and hungry, and very likely hypo/hyperthermic and starting to run on auto pilot.

Exceptions to this would be a signal mirror and whistle, not normally employed, but always carried. Some day you will be glad they were along.

And yes! get out there and use your stuff. Enjoy and learn and increase your capabilities. That is what it is all about.
Posted by: unimogbert

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 03/03/18 04:25 PM

Was the guy really carrying a tent?
Or was that journalistic license for a poncho shelter?

Was he really lost or did he actually just go backpacking in the park w/o a permit?

Then again, I've seen people on trail backpacking to a campsite carrying suitcases. And I've seen a guy on the trail dressed in grandpa cap, sport coat and loafers far above timberline.....
Posted by: hikermor

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 03/03/18 05:30 PM

I'll bet that if he was permitless, it would have been mentioned in the article...naughty, naughty!
Posted by: WesleyH

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 03/30/18 04:25 PM

Definitely need to see more of those stories!
Posted by: TeacherRO

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 04/23/18 11:58 PM

I'd say a hat/sunglasses/sunscreen are essential in Summer
Posted by: brandtb

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 04/24/18 12:21 PM

In the event of a coronal mass ejection or EMP what would be the effect upon an LED bulb?
Posted by: TeacherRO

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 06/29/18 09:04 PM

I tend not to worry about extreme events like an EMP. Focusing instead on smaller, frequently occurring events -- Storms, traffic jams, etc.
Posted by: TeacherRO

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 08/15/18 10:54 PM

As a frequent hiker, I am amazed at how many people I see with no gear at all. A cell phone I assume, but no water bottle, pack, jacket...
Posted by: TeacherRO

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 12/05/18 06:38 PM

And always leave a note. Specify where you are going, how you are equipped and what to do if you don't return on time. A text is good too. <This make you so much easier to find.>
Posted by: Ors

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 12/05/18 11:45 PM

My understanding, which may be off, that with a CME, or localized EMP, all electronic reliant components, including LED bulbs, would be fried.
Posted by: clearwater

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 12/06/18 01:37 AM

"And always leave a note. Specify where you are going, how you are equipped and what to do if you don't return on time. A text is good too. <This make you so much easier to find.>"

Like the kind my father in law leaves on the dash of the car at the trailhead to reduce break-ins.

"Bob and Frank, sighting in. the new rifle, back soon."
Posted by: dougwalkabout

Re: the 10 essentials...prep for camping/hiking - 12/06/18 07:56 PM

Originally Posted By: clearwater
"Bob and Frank, sighting in. the new rifle, back soon."

Good chuckle! It could cut the other way, though, indicating a high value target with gun stuff inside.