Tailoring your Outdoor Essentials

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Welcome Hikers,

The most significant sign that you are carrying too much stuff in your backpack while out in the woods is that you focus more on how uncomfortable you feel than the beauty of your surroundings.

While it’s nice to be able to carry everything but the kitchen sink with you on a trip it might not be practical. Knowing what you need to bring, and what you can leave behind, is part of the planning process.

The main thing to remember is the farther you are away from emergency services the more self-reliant you’ll need to be. Always keep that in mind when considering what to bring or what not to bring.

Here Are the categories of gear I consider essential to pack in my bag on every trip:


This means a map, whether it’s a printed map or an offline map on your phone or GPS unit, and a compass to be able to navigate to and from your location safely.

I also include a red light source, whether it’s a headlamp or a flashlight, to make it easier to navigate in the early morning or late night hours. The reason I recommend a red light is to help preserve your night vision

Personal Health and Safety

**Disclaimer I am not a medical professional, and this is not professional medical advice. Please see your doctor or healthcare professional about what they recommend you bring with you on trips

A basic first aid kit for treating and protecting cuts, scrapes, stings, burns, and rashes.

Aspirin for pain and possible heart attack relief** (NOTE: Do not take aspirin for a heart attack unless advised to do so by medical professionals.)

Benadryl for any kind of allergies or allergic reactions.

Imodium for diarrhea relief

Personal medications that you require and, when possible, an extra day’s supply in case of emergencies.

Blister prevention and treatment, such as sticks, moleskin, and bandages,

Food and water for the trip plus an additional day. If there’s water available on the route I bring a water filtration system to refill along the way.

Additional personal items I bring will be sunscreen, trekking poles and compression sleeves for my knees and elbows, a mask with spare filters, and a mylar blanket for thermal protection.

Appropriate Clothing

You want to make sure that you are ready for the forecasted weather and conditions at the location. This includes appropriate foot and headwear.

Think of appropriate clothing in terms of the layers from the guide. A base, mid and outer layer. It would help if you also planned for temperature differences in altitude.

Make sure you have room to pack your layers in case you need to remove something along the way. When hiking it’s better to start a little chilly as your body will warm up as you move. Once you stop moving you can throw on an extra layer to stay comfortable.

Repair kit

Determine the items you can least afford to have break on you and decide how to repair them if needed.

A knife, zip ties, packing tape, parachute cord, safety pins, and a power bank with a charging cable can all come in handy while out hiking.


Cell Phones may be used for texting even with little service.

Headlights or flashlights with both white and red options, a signal mirror, and a whistle can be used to send a Universal distress signal.

I also carry brightly colored material to help signal or mark a location.

What to do next?

Get your essentials together, pack them in a bag, and go for a walk outdoors.

Next up in the series is Tailoring Your Mobile Studio in two weeks.

If you have any questions send me an email.

See you on the trail,


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