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Backcountry Travel - Part 5


Other important stuff:


Knife - a jack knife with scissors is useful, leave the machete at home unless you are hiking through the jungle

Lighter or matches - mentioned again because it’s a good idea to have a back up

Hygiene kit - toothbrush, powder (cornstarch and baking soda work well), soap (optional but appreciated by others), rubbing alcohol (to keep your feet happy and fungal free), etc…

Bandana and/or small camp towel

Nylon cord or thin rope – 30 to 50 feet for bear bagging, drying clothes and tying down tent

Water purification - filter or chemical treatment

Two water bottles - usually one liter each

Water Bag – 1 to 2 gallon capacity saves extra trips to the water source and needed for waterless stretches

Flashlight or headlamp - don’t get caught in the dark

Spare batteries - see above

Bug dope - Citronella or deet combo, for your summer sanity

First aid Kit - see pre-packaged kits for ideas, make sure to have moleskin and duct tape

Snake Bite Kit - optional placebo for your peace of mind. Use the Extractor not old fashioned razor style that do more harm than good

Repair kit – Duct tape, thread, needles, patches for tent and air mattress, etc…

Whistle - For emergencies only please

Sunscreen - for those days when the sun isn’t hiding behind the trees and the clouds

Maps, compass and guide books - just in case you get tired of following someone else’s trail


Options for some necessities for others:


Walking stick or two - for those of us who are balance impaired, also helps to save sore knees and ford streams

Camp shoes – light weight sandals or cheap sneakers, handy for around town and stream crossings

Earplugs – for shelter use. There is always one snorer in the crowd

Book - for the nights when those snorers keep you awake, field guides are also good to have

Camera - worth the weight.

Cell phone and radio – if you truly believe you need these gadgets to survive in the wilderness then take them but PLEASE do not subject others to the

noise of your fancy toys


On the trail I would occasionally run into weekenders who would show me their big knives or occasionally firearms and ask what I carried for protection. I would have to resist the urge to say "That's not a knife, now this is a knife" before pulling out my micro swiss army knife with a one inch blade and tiny scissors. I really never felt threatened while on the trail. I had my walking sticks to ward of snakes and dogs and didn't feel the need for much else. I carry a slightly bigger folding knife today and would consider carrying some pepper spray if I was to thruhike again, but I still feel a lot more threatened in town than I do in the woods. Most bad people are lazy and do not wander far from roads. That might change in a melt down situation so if walking to avoid danger I would certainly recommend better protection.

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