Tuesday, March 10, 2009

What qualifies as a hiking "essential"?

One of our coaches recently sent us a list of the Top 10 Hiking Essentials. You're supposed to keep all of these supplies in your hiking pack at all times.
I failed this test. But I have a Top 10 list of my own that I would argue is just as good. You be the judge.

Their Top 10 list:
*Map. Kelly and I have a hiking book that has awesome maps and descriptions of the trails we're on. We always bring it. Of course, this still did not prevent us from getting lost at Piestewa, nor did it help us find our way back.
*Compass. Meh. In AZ, we use the sun to tell which direction we're headed.
*Water and a means of purifying it (in case you have to drink water from a stream). I always bring plenty of water. But I do not bring water purifying tablets. The likelihood of me coming across a stream while I'm hiking in AZ is not so great anyway.
*Extra food. Oh, we bring enough food to feed a family of five. Kelly and I can't even go shopping for an hour without snacks. When our blood sugar drops at the same time, it isn't pretty.
*Rain gear and extra clothing. Sometimes I bring a fleece or sweatshirt, if it isn't hot.
*Firestarter and matches. With my luck, I'd start the state's largest wildfire in recent memory.
*First aid kit. I bring Band Aids. But I'm more worried about blisters on my feet than anything else.
*Army knife or multi-purpose tool. Good idea. I will look into this.
*Flashlight or headlamp. Can you picture us hiking with headlamps?
*Sun screen/sun glasses. Always. Always always always. I won't leave the house to get the mail without sunscreen on. It is way too sunny, and I am way too pale to mess with fate.

My Top 10 list:
*Chapstick. A hike without a Chapstick would be beyond miserable.
*Tissues. Bad sinuses + hiking = need tissues.
*Wallet with ID, cash and a credit card. I don't know why, I just feel like this is important.
*Cell phone. Seems like an obvious one to me. Granted, you won't get reception on some hikes in the middle of nowhere. But there is plenty of reception on most hikes in Phoenix (which is evident by the amount of people hiking and chatting on the phone at the same time).
*Sunscreen/sun glasses. Totally agree with this.
*Food. Ditto.
*Water. Ditto again.
*Cosmic Ray. He's the author of our hiking book. Ray always tags along.
*A friend. It's so much more fun to hike with someone else.
*Energy/a good night's sleep. This is key to going uphill.

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