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Old 05-02-2016, 08:14 AM   #1
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Hiking survival backpack

We enjoy hiking, but do not have a ready to go pack and feel we should have one as we look forward to exploring the great parks in the western states. We like half day hikes but some have already gotten longer. We do not plan for overnight hiking! What should we have in a pack?
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Old 05-02-2016, 08:35 AM   #2
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We spend about 5 weeks each year at Rocky Mountain NP and generally hike 3 days a week while we are there. We like the 5 to 10 mile ones that take anywhere from a half to 3/4 of a day. The main thing is water and plenty of it. We both have camel back packs with water bladders that hold 3 liters. We have gone thru most of it in some of our hikes but have never run out. I also carry bear spray in mine but have never had to use it. The wife carries some toilet paper in hers. After that it is your choice. For food, we generally split a peanut butter and jelly sandwich along with some snacks, like trail mix, snack crackers, etc.

My recommendation is don't go cheap on the back packs. Get one that has the dual straps as they are much more comfortable. Go to someplace that has a good selection and try them on. My only other recommendation is have fun. We get to see things that most don't get see just driving thru the park in a car. Oh, and bring a camera.

On edit: We also keep a poncho in our packs. We have been hit several times with some storms but we do our best to avoid them. Depending on the time of year they can build fast in the mountains, especially in the afternoons. We like to start very early on days that have rain chances. Also, a lightning detector is a good thing to have as you can get some warning. I think they have apps for cell phones now. Hiking and lightning can be a dangerous mix as several have been killed at the park in past few years.
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Old 05-02-2016, 09:25 AM   #3
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Have hers and his with water as needed up to 64 oz.
One small first aid kit.
Each a space blanket with a light rope.
Map or GPS and compass.
Phone/camera.
A few good snacks, most high calorie.
Small rain disposable pack poncho.
Hiking poles.
Toilet paper, and fire starter tablets.
LED flashlight each, they last many hours.
And then the optional for a given hike, clothing, boots, camera's even a towel and bathing suit for hot spring's, Sun screen, lip balm, Sun glasses.
Sounds like a lot but divided between two and a GOOD pack, I carry three for different conditions, large Fannie with shoulder strap, camel back and a small over night or large day pack with back offset to keep cool and good load belt. The last does double duty as it's used for an over night luggage if we go somewhere to motel.

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Old 05-02-2016, 03:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OLYLEN View Post
Have hers and his with water as needed up to 64 oz.
One small first aid kit.
Each a space blanket with a light rope.
Map or GPS and compass.
Phone/camera.
A few good snacks, most high calorie.
Small rain disposable pack poncho.
Hiking poles.
Toilet paper, and fire starter tablets.
LED flashlight each, they last many hours.
And then the optional for a given hike, clothing, boots, camera's even a towel and bathing suit for hot spring's, Sun screen, lip balm, Sun glasses.
Sounds like a lot but divided between two and a GOOD pack, I carry three for different conditions, large Fannie with shoulder strap, camel back and a small over night or large day pack with back offset to keep cool and good load belt. The last does double duty as it's used for an over night luggage if we go somewhere to motel.

LEN
Building the list on the above and yes, this all seems like a lot but we've had issues to use any of these or the suggestions above at one time or another. You need to be prepared. When you divide it all between two packs it really isn't bad to carry.

The biggest thing is to bring more water than you think you'll need. One small bottle is definitely not enough. Lack of water will create serious problems.

hand wipe packets or sanitizing gel
insect repellant
kleenex
paper/pencil
for emergencies: whistle & small mirror
Medicines (for headache or upset stomach)
For mountain hikes: hat & gloves
Binoculars
Bird Book

For toilet paper and bowel movement, don't forget to be responsible & bury it - we even carry a small trowel for this purpose
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Old 05-02-2016, 11:51 PM   #5
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Just because you're not PLANNING on an overnight doesn't mean it couldn't happen - no one expects to end up lost or hurt... Might I suggest this link regarding what is known in the business as "the 10 essentials". ST
https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-adv...ssentials.html
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Old 05-03-2016, 05:41 AM   #6
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Everything has been pretty much covered, and it may seem like much, but it's better to be well prepared in case of something unforeseen.

Don't think that just because you jump on the trailhead at 6am for an 8 hour hike that you won't end up sitting in a shelter atop Mt. LaConte waiting for a squall to blow by and then find yourself another hour away from the truck at dusk without a flashlight. Don't ask me how I know...

A lot of items you can get at a Wally World, Bass Pro, Cabellas, etc., but like most things recreational, you'll pay a premium if you find it in the hiking/camping section. A few things you can put together in a more cost conscious manner, like first aid kits.
One thing you typically won't find at those discount stores is high quality hiking boots. Spend the money, they will last a lot longer, and your feet, knees, and back will be forever thankful.

And yes, REI is like a candy store for my wife and I.
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Old 05-03-2016, 06:34 AM   #7
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Lots of great great information here! We pack almost everything mentioned and have learned from experience. Twice we have been on simple hikes and found ourselves wondering if we would be forced to spend the night on the mountain side due to missed trail connection, or in the other case a twisted/sprained ankle. We carry an emergency tent with us just in case.

Last year we took a 3 hour hike in 90+ degree temperatures to a fabulous view. On the way back we ran into a mature couple who were obviously suffering from heat stroke and appeared lost. They started the hike with a small soda bottle of water each and had finished that water on the way up. The gentleman was in a bad way. We got them to sit down in a shady spot and gave them our emergency supply of water we always carry, then I wetted a towel with our backpack water and placed it on his head. After a half hour he had recovered enough that we escorted them back down to their car.

Like the Boy Scout motto says "Be Prepared".
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Old 05-03-2016, 12:06 PM   #8
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I would add two lightweight space blankets. The come in a very compact size but can be used to create temporary shelter with some 550 cord. The reflective side can help radiate heat from a fire as well as body heat.

Mike
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Old 05-03-2016, 12:15 PM   #9
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We do a lot of off-roading, and often get way up in the backwoods. Got stuck in the snow one time, and had to be kind of sort of rescued. I was fairly prepared, but there were things I'd wish I had, and now have stored neatly in my trunk bag. I would get some paper and trusty pen, and start writing down every item mentioned, and every item you think about. Then start imagining scenarios. I hadn't imagined spending 11 hours in the snow at around 8000 feet, but it happened. I think the most important starting point is realizing you just could spend most or all of a night in challenging surroundings. I'm now confident we could survive for several days if that was what circumstances dictated. Good luck with the 'List'.
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Old 05-03-2016, 12:23 PM   #10
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I'd also suggest to make a good list on the computer or phone to keep and add/delete. Before every major hike or if we haven't hiked in a while we take everything out of our pack, take the list and make sure everything is there or needs refreshing. Sometimes during a hike you might use up something and forget to put it back.

We hike a lot but have gotten lost twice in the desert on unmarked trails. We even had a GPS but where we hiked had a lot of washes (dry creek beds) and canyons and the GPS couldn't get us back on the right track for our return. One was 'The Wave' in AZ and the other was in Canyonlands in Utah. On both of them we didn't have enough water because we didn't know we'd get lost.

So....definitely carry more water than you think you'll need. That's our main concern now. Topo maps help, too.
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Old 05-03-2016, 12:43 PM   #11
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If you are hiking in areas with streams then carry a water filter instead of loading up on water. I've backpacked in the high sierra doing mostly 1 week trips (plenty of streams) for 30+ years and carry at max 1 liter at a time, mostly to avoid stopping to often to refill using the filter.

cold, great tasting water!

Sawyer water filter is awesome, no pump design that is simplicity itself.
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Old 05-03-2016, 09:22 PM   #12
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In cold weather, mountain rescue teams recommend carrying a road flare. It can be used both for signaling and starting a fire in bad weather.
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Old 05-04-2016, 05:46 AM   #13
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Rain gear is a must in the mountains. High calorie snack food, nuts and raisins are light and will keep you going. Paracord and a couple of space blankets can be a lifesaver. A good knife is a must. Don't pack just a folder, you need a fixed blade that is sharp. I also carry a small hatchet along with at least two ways to make fire.

DON'T CARRY BEAR SPRAY IN YOUR PACK... you will not be able to deploy it if you need it. Mount it to your shoulder strap or waist belt. Know how to use it.
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Old 05-04-2016, 03:18 PM   #14
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...and another thing.... write out an emergency contact list to keep in your pack, especially if traveling alone. Also, leave a note in your car as to what trail you're taking and ETA back to the car.

Most of the information given so far can be easily whittled down if you're only doing a short 3-mile or so hike on a heavily-used trail.
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