New to Hiking? Here Are The Ten Essentials For The Modern Hiker.


The American publication “Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills” is used by many as the defining authority on outdoors, hiking and climbing. This is publication has  wide international recognition and is also widely used by climbers and hikers in Australia and New Zealand.

Whether you are on a day trip or out in the backcountry for a week, the ten essentials give you have a ready checklist for your pack so you’ll never leave anything behind again. Originally developed in the early 1930’s the list has recently been updated to a “systems” approach rather than listing individual items (for example, map and compass now fall into the Navigation “system”.)

Here is a summary of the ten essentials

    1. Navigation  – map, compass, hand held GPS
    2. Sun protection – hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, lip balm
    3. Insulation – extra clothing, thermals
    4. Illumination – headlamp, lantern, flashlight
    5. First-aid supplies – pre assembled kits
    6. Fire – waterproof matches, lighter, candles, fire starter
    7. Repair kit and tools – knife, multi tool, repair tape
    8. Nutrition – one extra days food,
    9. Hydration – bottled water, collapsible reservoir, water treatment tablets or filter
    10. Emergency shelter – lightweight tarp, tent or reflective blanket.

There are a few additional items that are worth considering – insect repellent, signaling mirror and whistle. All small items that can be extremely valuable if your trek takes an unexpected turn.

Generally speaking the amount of equipment carried will depend on season, terrain and length of hiking trip. The ten essentials has stood the test of time and is used as a base for educating outdoor enthusiast in wilderness survival and safety.

Make sure its included in preparation for your next hike and you won’t leave anything behind.

Adapted from Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills, published by Mountaineers Books
Main image credit: Skyline Hikers, Flickr

Cotswald Outdoor