By Mel McDermot from Galz Gone Wild
I have been hiking and camping across Ireland for over 5 years and at some point or another, I have relied on these essentials to keep me or others safe on the trails.
When you get outdoors it’s all about planning and preparation. Having these 10 items with you while hiking will ensure that if there is an emergency, you are better prepared for it. These items are essential in keeping you confident and happy when out exploring Irelands trails and mountains this Summer.
Like the layering system for ‘hiking clothing’, there is also a system for choosing and packing your 10 hiking essentials. Remember, these 10 essentials can be broken down into simple systems and those systems can be altered depending on the nature of your adventure.
Your 10 hiking essential systems are:
Hydration: A 2-litre bottle or bladder is a good amount of water to bring with you. You may need to bring more water with you depending on factors like outside temperature, altitude and level of expert ion. Some method of treating water is also recommended: Sawyer water filter or chlorine tablets
Nutrition: Pack a full day’s worth of food for your hike – sandwich, fruit, jellies, chocolate, trail mix. Bring food you like that will keep you fuelled and happy. There is nothing worse than being hungry than a backpack full of snacks you don’t even enjoy. In addition to your food, pack energy bars, dried fruits and meats. These extra foods are for emergencies only and should be stored away in your dry bag with your other emergency items.
Protection: For hot Sunny hikes make sure to pack sunglasses, sunscreen & a peaked hat. Not doing so can result in sunburn, heat exhaustion, or even heat stroke, for cold, wet and windy hikes pack rain protection- water/windproof jacket and water/windproof pants.
Illumination: If you get lost on the trail and begin to lose light; being able to find your way at night is essential. You should always have a light source with you in addition to your phone, as your phone’s battery can die. A headlamp is the preferred choice as it frees up your hands to use your phone/map for navigation. Always carry extra batteries.
Insulation: conditions in Ireland aren’t always reliable or favourable so it’s necessary to carry extra clothing beyond those required for your trip. Carry an extra hat, socks, gloves and a layer of clothing.
Navigation: a map and compass is preferred but only if you are confident using them. I would recommend doing a Navigation Skills workshop or completing the Mountain Skills training course accredited by Mountaineering Ireland. A great Mountain Skills course provider is Fia Mountaineering based in Wicklow. Never venture out into the open mountains unless you have the navigation skills to do so. On a short day hike on a well posted forest trail or a trail you are familiar with you can choose to navigate with apps like ViewRanger and Hiiker. However, make sure to bring additional power sources like power banks.
Shelter: An emergency shelter will protect you from wind and rain in case you get stranded or injured on the trail. Popular options include a survival bag, an emergency space blanket(for additional warmth) and a group shelter.
First Aid: it’s vital to carry and know how to use the items in your first aid kit. Your first aid kit should include treatments for blisters, adhesive bandages of various sizes, gauze pads, tape, disinfecting ointment, scissors, your own pain and prescription medication(never administer medication to others), gloves, a mask and hand sanitizer
Repair kit/multi purpose knifes: knives are a handy tool for gear repair, food prep, first aid, making kindling or other emergency needs. Please adhere to Ireland’s knife safety laws
Repair kit: A small gear repair kit can get you out of a bind. Items can include duct tape(handy if a bootlace snaps or sole comes away from the upper. Use duct tape to wrap around the boot to keep in place until you return safely to your car) Cordage, safety pins. If you’re heading on a multi-day hike bring repair parts for your water filter, tent poles, stove and sleeping pad.
Fire: in case of an emergency it’s good to have reliable supplies with you to start and maintain a fire. A fire starter as the name implies is an element that helps you jump start a fire and is indispensable in wet conditions. The ideal fire starter- a gas lighter, flint, water/storm proof matches or matches homemade ones dipped in candle wax. In addition to your fire starter you want something that can ignite quickly and sustain heat for more than a few seconds: options include dry tinder and lint trappings from a household clothes drier.
Whenever you step into the mountains for a day hike or a camping trip it’s good to get into the habit of making sure that you have these items in your backpack at all times.
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Mel Goes Wild YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-1q3lNhvdj9k4qBIUH3JWQ/videos