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The 10 Essentials & Other Go To Items For The Trail

It’s Trail Tuesday…and a New Year here at @WomenWhoHike! So, I @Im_NicoleMarie think there is no better time to talk about safety and survival basics while on the trail. When it comes to hiking, no matter where or how far you’re going, you should always carry the 10 Essentials. These are basic safety standbys than you can and should throw in your pack when going out into the woods or even a close urban hike.

So, what are the 10 Essentials? They are:

1 Navigation (map and compass)

2 Sun protection (sunglasses and sunscreen)

3 Insulation (extra clothing)

4 Illumination (headlamp/flashlight)

5 First-aid supplies

6 Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candles)

7 Repair kit and tools

8 Nutrition (extra food)

9 Hydration (extra water)

10 Emergency shelter

When it comes to these 10 items there is much to browse and choose from these days and there are also items that pull double duty as well as items that are budget friendly.

Here are some of my favorite things that have become my go-tos when packing up for a hike:

-@alltrails App

-@garmin In Reach Explorer

-@coola tinted SPF 30

-@smartwool mid layer

-@blackdiamond headlamp

-@adventuremedicalkits weekender kit

-SOL Fire Lite Kit

-@leathermantools multi tool

-@clifbar and @guenergylabs gels

-@lifestraw Go Bottle & Personal Water Filter & @guenergylabs Hydration Tabs

-SOL Emergency Bivy

Here are a few things that have become standbys not only for hiking and backpacking but some of them I use on a daily basis and are great for travel as well:

45 + 10L Deuter ACT Lite. It's no secret that I am a huge fan of the Deuter line. And lucky enough for me, when I got measured at REI for my backpacking bag, this was the one that best fit my body type and since then, I have converted to all of their bags and can't say enough good things about the technology, suspension system and storage of everything I have from them.

Sleeping Pad, Thermarest. I actually have two pads from Thermarest. I opted for the Z Lite for this trip for storage reasons. But I also have a ProLite which is a self inflatable pad which is thicker and provides more comfort.

Tent, Copper Spur by Big Agnes. When it comes to weight and packability, Big Agnes wins. This was my first time bringing this tent into the backcountry, and I couldn't be happier to have recently invested in this tent. The materials are high grade and the tent goes up easily and can withstand wind and cold temps.

Solar Panel, BioLite. The BioLite products have become not only a go to when hiking in remote areas or overnight, but for daily use too. And the new Solar Panel, the 10+. is better (and bigger) than ever and I use it to power my phone, navigation device, camera battery and will also power anything with a USB cord connection.

Face Wipes, Ursa Major. Even though I am devoted to getting dirty and grimy while in the outdoors, there is something about going to bed with a clean face that is a comfort to me. I do have extremely sensitive skin, so taking any products and dirt from the day off of my face is important. These face wipes are equally amazing and convenient. They come in individual packs and are made with high grade natural ingredients (100% naturally-derived, 53% organic) and sourced from sustainable growers. Just one wipe is enough for the face, and even hands and feet before turning in for the night or a refresh during a day hike.

Olive Leaf Nose Spray, Seagate. I've been using this for years, no matter where I am. I am often traveling and in dry climates and high elevation so keeping my nasal passages clear and healthy is of the utmost importance.

Go Bottle, Lifestraw. Lifestraw is my go to for water filtration. I have one of their personal water filters and also picked up this Lifestraw Go bottle which is awesome for daily use and proved to be such a time saver while on this trip into the backcountry. You just unscrew the lid, drop the bottle into water, collect water and screw the lid back on. Built into the lid is the award-winning LifeStraw hollow fiber membrane water filter that removes protozoa and 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria.

Hydration Tablets, GU Energy. These tabs have been a true life saver and if you happen to have a hard time with hiking to and camping at elevation, I highly recommend these tablets. I was introduced to them by a friend during a trip to a mountain town, and on the last day the elevation was starting to get to me. I was suffering from a terrible migraine like headache and one of these tabs in a bottle of water had me back to feeling 100% within 15 or so minutes. Always be sure to drink plenty of water when hiking. These also come in a variety of flavors, and the lemon lime is my favorite.

SOL Emergency Bivy. This is a $12 piece of equipment that I will and you will hopefully never have to use. But it packs down to the size of your palm and weighs just under 4oz. This emergency bivy is a key survival piece if you are forced to spend an unexpected night outdoors. It reflects 90% of body heat back to you, keeping you warm and is made with sealed seam edges that provide full protection from rain, wind, and snow.

If you are new to hiking and/or backpacking you will like most of us, learn about both gear and trekking through trial and error. There will be mistakes made. There will be gear that you bring that you will find you never even used. The packing, the planning, knowledge, equipment and safety are all the elements that make up a successful backpacking trip. Luckily, there are many resources out there now to help the newbie backpacker. There are classes at our local outfitter, like REI, which are usually held multiple times per month. And recently, fellow woman who hikes, Heather Balogh Rochfort wrote and released ‘Backpacking 101’ which has helpful tips broken down into chapters to aid you in planning your trip, buying your gear and conquering your backpacking adventure.

As mentioned, the supply of products written about above are just a few go-tos and a lot more than just these things make it into my pack. If you have further questions about equipment and supplies feel free to reach out via email,

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