An Easy Eight for your Forest Hike.
J. Zimmerman, Ph.D.
What eight items are on the must-carry checklist for a forest hike? And
what would you especially want to greet you when you got back to the trailhead
where you stashed some goodies?
For a day hike in a forest in California, these are important to carry with you.
What are important to carry in your part of the world?
Are the same items on your list? Or different ones?
- Water. Carry 2 or more quarts of drinking water.
- Food. Include iron rations (like extra raisins and peanuts) that you
don’t plan to eat, but would use in an emergency.
- Map and compass - stay found.
- Insect repellent - especially for protection against ticks.
See also other
strategies against ticks.
- First aid kit - put your own together or buy an inexpensive compact kit;
include fabric bandages, butterfly closures, iodine preparation pads,
- Knife - even a miniature key-ring-sized knife can be invaluable.
- ID - A Xerox of your driver’s license or other identification.
- Sun protection - sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat, if weather could be
sunny. Even on a hike in shaded forest, there can be parts of your route in
bright chaparral or meadow.
- Rain gear - waterproof jacket and rain pants, if you are hiking in cold, wet
- Flashlight - essential, unless you have a safety window of at least 2 hours
of daylight planned after your return to your trailhead.
- Leash for your pet, if the forest permits a pet. Minimize (and preferably
prevent) its impact on the wildlife.
- Coins for a phone call, in case you need to contact family or friends
- If you can retain your courage to have a peaceful forest experience, do
not carry a cell phone (or at least turn off its ringer).
Optional items to store at trailhead.
You don’t have to carry these with
you. Leave them out-of-sight in your vehicle, or at your campsite, etc.
- Change of socks and shoes - your feet will thank you!
- Extra water - rehydrate, cool off, wash.
- Wash cloth and towel - clean off the sweat; dry off the rain.
- Change of clothes - be sure to have a dry shirt to change for one that gets
wet with rain or sweat.
- Refreshments - cool drinks on a hot day, a thermos of soup on a cold day,
and some fruit or other snack that will refresh you.
Forest and Tree Home,