The Gear Lists

(for hiking and backpacking)

The 14 Essentials

see details
  1. Water
  2. Extra Clothes (Hat, Rain Gear)
  3. Compass
  4. Maps
  5. Snacks & Extra Food
  6. Pocketknife
  7. Headlamp or Flashlight
  8. Waterproof Matches
  9. Firestarter
  10. Loud Whistle
  11. First Aid Kit
  12. Sunglasses
  13. Sunscreen, Lip Balm
  14. Insect Repellent

Other Essentials

see details


see details

Utility Extras

Overnight Gear

(add for longer trips)

  • water bag
  • carabiner
  • towl

    (add for winter)

    see details
  • extra fuel
  • extra food
  • windscreen for stove
  • extra fire starter


    about the 14 Essentials

    The 14 essentials list is said to have been started in the 1930s. It represents the experience of many hikers and mountaineers over the years. Take these items on every hike. Even if you do not expect to be out after dark, take the flashlight. It is for the unexpected situation. Extra food is for me if I hit the wall, or for others who aren't prepared. My favorite power snack is Snickers bars. Nimblewill Nomad is a famous hiker who rates hills by the number of Snickers it takes him to make the top.

    about the Other Essentials

    These are also essential items, esp. for longer hikes and solo hikes.

    I take a small waterproof (Tyvek or plastic) sheet large enough to sit on. This is for breaks or rest stops. It's great to have something large enough to lie down on for those longer breaks. Even for sitting on rocks, this is a good thing to have. It can be uncomfortable to have the seat of the pants wet. It looks funny, too.

    I'm a big believer in hiking poles. I use two. They really save my knees. They are great. At least take one hiking stick.

    about Extras

    These are fun and comfort items. I'm really careful about weight on the major items to I can take a few of these.

    about Winter Hiking

    The "Extra Clothes" item in the 14 Essentials turns into extra warmth items in cold weather. Plan for a cold snap or an emergency overnight. Extra food and fuel is essential if weather keeps you in the backcountry longer than expected.

    First-Aid & Emergency Kit

    This is my personal list. I use ibrupophen (Motrin) on camping trips, to keep aches and pains from interfering with getting a good nights' sleep. The Immodium is so gastric upset does not keep me from walking out of the backcountry. I combine the first aid items with other little items for repairing tears in pack or tent, etc. Another item I always add is a medical data card. I put any medication allergies and daily medications on it. I also sign and date it, with a statement that it is okay to treat me if I'm unconcious. A copy of my medical insurance card goes here too. On the back, I have a list of people to contact in an emergency. I would not bother with some of this, but I like to solo hike, and it just seems to be a good idea.

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