Call it “Ten Essentials” or whatever you want. Anyone that hikes regularly tends to accumulate a go to set of gear, I sure have. I’ve been hiking regularly for a while now and have built a list of “Essentials” of my own. Most of the items on my list are from trial and error on my part and from researching what other hikers and backpackers use. Something that helps me have an enjoyable hike is security and comfort. I get both of these by carrying the proper gear. I like knowing that if there’s an emergency or if I just chose to extend my hike I’ve got what I need to stay overnight. Also having the proper gear for unexpected weather makes a big difference. I don’t want to have to cut my day short just because it starts raining unexpectedly. Having what I need with me gives me a real sense of freedom while hiking. It gives me choices while on the trail. If I want to go exploring or just want to take my time I can.

Gear List from left to right:

  1. Osprey Hydraulics LT Reservoir – 2.5 Liters
  2. Smartwool Merino Sport 150 Beanie
  3. Buff CoolNet UV+ Insect Shield Multifunctional Headwear
  4. Smart Water Bottle
  5. Gear Aid 325 Paracord – 50′
  6. Element Solo Tarp
  7. Men’s Versaliner Gloves
  8. R1 Fleece from Patagonia
  9. Leki MICRO VARIO COR-TEC TA trekking poles
  10. Water filtration kit, Sawyer Mini Vecto 2L Water Container
  11. Pedco UltraPod Lightweight Camera Tripod
  12. Toiletries kit, wet wipes and tissue paper.
  13. Ben’s Insect Repellent
  14. Suunto M-3 D Leader Compass and maps
  15. Men’s Silver Ridge™ 2.0 Long Sleeve Shirt
  16. Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight/Watertight .5 Medical Kit
  17. Trowel
  18. Sun screen
  19. Petzl Tikka Headlamp 
  20. Water proof matches
  21. PackTowl Personal Towel
  22. Outdoor Research Men’s Apollo Jacket
  23. Osprey Hikelite 32
  24. Water (2.5 liters) and minimum 2 days food. Not shown.

Having a set list of items also helps reduce the chance of forgetting things. I used to pack based on the hike I was taking but that led to getting out there and realizing I forgot something. Yes, there plenty of items on my list that I carry hike after hike without ever using but these items weigh so little that it doesn’t matter.

My day pack weighs in at 7 pounds and 5 ounces without water or food.