Compact and Convenient Hiking Essentials

Hiking BierdstadtHikers love to chant, “every ounces counts” as if that somehow justifies not packing certain items. Extra batteries?! We might as well just carry dumbbells in our packs! Sure, the more your packs weighs the more difficult your hike will be, but sometimes the added weight is negligible when you consider the benefits of having the right gear.

This is especially true in emergency situations. Here are a few items that are so lightweight and compact that they should make it into your pack any time you hit the trail.

A water filter is nice to have, but they often take up a lot of room and add unnecessary pack weight. Water purification tablets or water purifying drops, on the other hand, weigh very little and take up practically no space. Of course, you want to bring enough water for your trip, but carrying water purification helps make sure that you don’t run out of water and get dehydrated in case of an emergency.

An emergency blanket is anotherĀ  item that should have a permanent place in your pack. Also known as space blankets or mylar blankets, emergency blankets can save your life. These blankets can retain as much as 90% of your body heat, and can help prevent hypothermia and treat shock.

Storms can roll in without warning, especially at higher altitudes. Bluebird skies can turn into tempests by the afternoon. Carrying an emergency poncho will keep you dry if you get caught in an unexpected shower.

If you get lost and have to camp over night, you will be glad that you carried matches to start a fire. Matches can provide you with warmth, light, and a means to cook food and they take up next to no space.

A knife is arguably one the most important survival tools there is. A knife can be used for first aid, building shelters, and preparing food. Knives can be incredibly lightweight, and incredibly useful.

Bandanas have nearly as many uses as a Swiss Army knife. You can use a bandana as a sling, a water filter, or use it for sun protection. With all of the uses for bandanas, you won’t want to be caught without one.

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