The Best Gear to Get at Your Next REI Visit
The deeper you get into the trail you start to notice your senses have heightened. You can smell the sage and lavender along the trail’s edge. You can feel your heart rate begin to elevate. As you pick up the pace and begin to run you can hear the bird calls. After a while, you take a moment to hydrate. The water in your CamelBak is still cool and you think to yourself that water should always taste this good. You feel like, for the first time, you are really seeing what the great outdoors has to offer.
There’s nothing quite like an exhilarating hike in the great outdoors to jump kick your workout routine. With that slightly unnerving idea that a snake could cross the trail at any moment adds to the element of adventure. It’s moments like this that you should embrace the opportunity of losing cell phone coverage. With no signal, you are forced to unplug and really live in the moment.
Whenever you decide to step into the backcountry, it’s a good idea to be prepared — even on day hikes! Yes, it’s true, you may not use all of these essentials during every hike, but it’s a good idea to be prepared because you never know what can happen in the great outdoors. There may come a time where having these tools could save your life or the life of someone you love.
In the 1930’s The Mountaineers created the 10 essentials list to help prepare people for emergency situations involving outdoor adventures. In 2003, the essentials list was updated to what you see below. Orange County’s largest REI, located at The Market Place, is the perfect place to stock up on your outdoor essentials. Use this list to help navigate your way through the store. Before you know it, you’ll be hearing the sounds you know and love on your favorite trails, with peace of mind, knowing that you are ready for anything.
Whether you’re taking a stroll along Crystal Cove beach or hiking the trails out of Cleveland National Forest, a first aid kit should always be something you bring when going on a hike. Choose from a pre-assembled first-aid kit that’s sold at REI, or create your own with your go-to medical supplies.
Sometimes a trail offers too many options on which path to take and you could easily wind up being turned around. A compass is a vital tool to have if you ever become disoriented in the great outdoors. A topographic map is necessary if you’re more into taking the road less traveled. GPS Receivers are also great to have for navigational purposes.
Traveling in and out of the trees shade could make you easily forget that your skin will be bright red by the end of your hike if you haven’t thought ahead. A good sunscreen and sunglasses are key players to protecting you from those UVA and UVB rays.
Weather conditions can change drastically while on the trail. Dress in layers to accommodate temperature changes. Be sure to factor in the season and what elements you are encountering on your hike. For example, if you are hiking to a waterfall, you might need a bathing suit underneath all those articles of clothing.
Having a light source is key to navigating after the sun goes down. Using a headlamp allows your hands to be free, which is a huge advantage to navigating tricky terrain. Also, if you’re ever in an emergency situation, you can use the strobe setting to alert those around you and to conserve battery life. Handheld flashlights are also a lighting source to consider because they can cast beams that will reach farther than your headlamp will.
Whether you need a heat source or a place to cook, fire is one of those key components to survival. Having waterproof matches are a firestarter kit already in your pack will be a huge advantage, should you ever be in the situation where you need fire.
Repair Kit and Tools
This category can get really intricate when preparing for all of the things that could go wrong, especially with extended hiking trips that involve overnight camping. What if your mosquito nets get a hole? Don’t be tricked by all of the different gadgets. A proper knife and a roll of duct tape could solve most issues.
Always bring more water than what you will need. Consider brining your CamelBak and a water bottle. If you’re going on a long hike, you should take a look at a map of the area your hiking beforehand and scout out water sources along the trail. You might also want to bring a filter or purifier to pick up water along the way.
If you only plan on taking a day hike, a shelter is probably the last thing you think about. An emergency space blanket packs small and weighs only a couple ounces. This is something you’ll wish you had if you end up injured and having the spend the night outdoors.
As a general rule of thumb, always pack an extra days worth of food, in case something happens. Energy bars, nuts, dried fruit, or beef jerky make great options because they don’t require you to cook them. Digesting food helps keep you warm when it’s cold out and also helps you replenish all of the calories used during the hike.
For more information on preparedness, check out Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills (The Mountaineers Books), now in its eighth edition.