I was just asked by a member of a Detroit area backpacking group what necessities I carry and actually, this is the second category on my backpacking gear list.
These are the items I always carry regardless of the type of trip I am taking. It could be a quick overnight “sanity trip” or a month expedition and you will always this find gear in my backpack. These are not to be confused with the “10 Essentials” that I carry, which is a separate survival kit.
The list is a bit too long for details, but you will get the idea with the brief descriptions.
- Insect Repellent – A must in warm weather.
- Weather Radio – I always carry my lightweight weather radio that will sound an alarm if dangerous weather is on the horizon. It can literally be a life saver and I always have it on hand. If you are going with a group, one radio will do.
- Map and compass – I never take a trip without a compass and some sort of map, even a copy of a county map. Sure I have a GPS unit, but batteries go dead and I like knowing where I am.
- Flashlight – This should be a no brainer, but make sure you have one with fresh batteries that is light weight.
- Headlamp – At times I leave the flashlight at home and just carry the headlamp, which does double duty. As a backup, I have a very light weight light that is part of my 10 Essentials.
- Pocket Knife – Nothing special here, unless you want something out of the ordinary. If it seems odd that I place such a basic item on my list it is not. I just spoke with a backpacker who headed out with a group and guess what? No one had a pocket knife.
- Large Knife – Yes I know I carry a pocket knife, but this larger survival knife has been with me for years and hacked fire wood, served as an emergency tent peg and many other things.
- Rope – I don’t mean climbing rope, but more like parachute cord. Light weight, strong and great for a million things, from hanging food bags and making shoe laces to serving as extra guy outs on a tent.
- Candle Lantern – I carry a collapsible candle lantern which weights only a few ounces and provides hours of light from a single candle.
- Fire Starters – I am pretty good at starting fires, but with these, I am great.
- Lighter – I carry an IMCO liquid fueled lighter, but an inexpensive butane one will do.
- Matches – Matches in a waterproof container are a must just in case the lighter gets wet or runs out of fuel.
- Hand Towel – I am not the type who will use a tee shirt so for me a small microfiber towel is a must.
- Large Trash Bag – One of these can cover your pack, protect your sleeping bag, keep your boots dry outside the tent and even carry trash.
- Tooth Brush – You have to clean your teeth and if you forget toothpaste, you can use salt from the cook kit.
- Toilet Tissue – I pull out the center tube so I can draw tissue from the center. I then I stow it in a re-sealable plastic bag.
- Backpackers Trowel – You can dig small holes, use it to collect snow for water in the winter or dig a fire pit.
All these items do not weigh much and are essential to my being comfortable on the trail.