SOME THINGS YOU MAY
WANT AND NEED

A storm rolls into the Rockies near the Canadian border


Some creature comforts and necessities.

A good sharp camp knife, a candle lantern, camp ax, rain tarp and 50' of cord, a pocket first aid kit to augment the main one, a utility tool with pliers feature, an ace bandage for sprains, a compass (required) a synthetic towel, backpackers hammock, emergency blanket, toilet paper and trowel, whistles.

When using the bathroom in the wilderness find a location as far from water and camp as practicable. Remove the sod and dig to mineral earth. Fill the "cat hole" and burn toilet paper and deposit in the hole. Use the trowel only for returning the dirt and sod to its place atop the waste. Many hikers carry a bottle of hand disinfectant. MEN, if you find yourself "getting up nights" as you get older here is a solution for that late night bathroom trip that would necessitate donning boots etc. and climbing out into the cold night. Many men carry a very well marked smallish wide mouth bottle for this purpose. Make sure the lid is secured when finished and be sure to deposit the contents with your regular latrine trip in the morning.

As I said in the Safety chapter, the whistles are signaling devices. When someone leaves camp they can use the whistle in case of getting lost (which is VERY easy to do in wooded areas). When lost, blow the whistle 3 times. People in camp answer with the same signal and this continues until you find your way back by following the sound.

A small bag of safety pins have myriad repair uses.

 

An inflatable pillow, closed cell pad (I prefer the self inflating kind but these work well and are cheaper and lighter. A lightweight camp stool....this along with the bear box create a table and chair. A rain poncho is almost a must item.



I believe a walking staff is a necessity! I carry the longest and thickest I can manage. My current favorite is as tall as I am (6'3"). In addition to being useful in walking with a heavy pack, the staff is a defensive weapon of considerable value. In an emergency several staffs can make an impromptu stretcher when used along with a tarp or sleeping bag. A staff is needed to pull away campfire material where permitted and where snakes and rodents abound. It also can test the water when crossing a stream as well as provide great balance recovery in water. It can be an emergency crutch or splint. The list is limited only by your imagination...and your needs.


IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION
There are skills involved in backpacking. There is also a certain body of knowledge you need. This book was only intended to spark your interest and serve as a very basic introduction. Wilderness stores, junior colleges, the Sierra Club and other entities will often provide classes and programs you may find valuable. Orienteering classes are important if you plan to travel in the wilderness. First aid classes literally save lives. Backpacking classes will fill in the gaps I have left. There are great books on the subject. My favorite is Harvey Manning's Backpacking One Step At A Time. PRACTICE! PRACTICE! PRACTICE! Before heading for the wilderness for the first time, (or before heading there with new equipment, boots or food) try going to a local or state park with a campground and hiking trails. Load up your pack as you would for the backcountry and do not return to your car during the camping trip. You will quickly learn what you need and don't need. Load and unload your pack every day and set up and take down your tent daily. Hike wearing your full pack. This will help you learn about your tent. You will also discover what method of loading your pack works best for you. The conditioning will also help.

HERE IS A HANDY CHECKLIST YOU MAY PRINT OUT AND DUPLICATE.
SPACE IS LEFT FOR YOUR SPECIFIC NEEDS AND ADDITIONS.



A BAKER'S DOZEN OF GOOD SITES ABOUT CAMPING
AND EQUIPMENT

A COMPLETE GUIDE TO CAMPING AND BACKPACKING

COLEMAN EQUIPMENT
REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.)
MSR (Moutain Safety Research)
CAMPMOR CATALOG
KELTY
EUREKA TENTS
L.L.BEAN
MARMOT
THE NORTH FACE
WENZEL
BACKPACKER MAGAZINE
BACKPACKING


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