Jump to content

What is in your pack? A basic guide to the 10 essentials


Bilder
Followers 0

Recommended Posts

What's in Your Backpack?

A practical guide to the 10 essentials

 

"What should I take on a Geocaching adventure?"

 

That is a common question for Geocachers, both new and veteran. A hike out in the wild can be an extremely fun time for you and your family. It can also be very dangerous if something should happen. What if someone takes a fall? What about a storm? What if you find yourself lost? These are all possibilities you can face when in the backcountry.

 

The best way to prevent a good outing from turning bad is to be prepared. There are some things you can take with you that will come in handy in an emergency. They can even save your life or the life of a loved one. Many times these items are called the 10 essentials.

 

The 10 essentials are a list of items that no hiker or geocacher should be without. It does not matter if you are on a day trip or a multi week backpacking vacation. These are the basic items that can be essential to survival in an emergency. The 10 (or more) essentials for Geocaching are:

 

1. Map

2. Compass

3. Extra clothing

4. Extra food and water

5. First-aid kit

6. Whistle

7. Headlamp or flashlight (with extra batteries)

8. Matches

9. Fire starter

10. Knife

11. Signal mirror

12. Sunscreen

13. Water filter (or other method of water treatment)

14. Spare batteries

 

Map- Never, ever leave on a hike without a map! A good topographical map can make the difference between being lost and simply taking the scenic route back to the car. Your GPS is a fine piece of technology and can lead you back the way you came most of the time. But a GPS can break or the batteries can go dead on you. A map does not use batteries. A good topographical map is recommended because of the terrain detail given. When used with a compass, it is possible to identify landmarks and find a way back to the trailhead.

 

Compass- A basic compass costs a couple dollars and weighs next to nothing. No pack should be without one. Even if your GPS has a compass built in, it is no excuse to go without one in your pack.

 

Clothing- A rain poncho and space blanket are good things to have along with you. An extra pair of socks and some gloves is a good idea as well. If you are really cheap, you can use a couple big trash bags in place of the poncho. They may not look pretty, but you can use them for both a rain poncho and a make shift shelter. Space blankets are inexpensive and take little space. They too, can be used as a shelter if needed.

 

Food and Water- You cannot survive long without water. Pack what you think you will drink that day plus some extra in case your trip ends up being longer than you planned. Water is heavy, but you will need it. For food, you can simply take some energy bars. They are light and can stand the abuse of sitting at the bottom of your pack. Be sure and pick a bar that is both tasty and has some nutritional content.

 

First Aid Kit- This is one of the most important items you can carry. Whether it is a store bought kit or one you make yourself, be sure it is suited for hiking in the backcountry. A tiny kit with only a few band-aids will not cut it. An assortment of bandages, gauze, some tape, aspirin or other pain reliever, instant cold pack, and a space blanket are all good items to take. It is a very good idea to take a course in basic first aid and CPR as well.

 

Whistle- When lost in the trees, searchers can hear you before they see you. A good loud whistle can be a lifesaver. They are cheap and weigh practically nothing. There is no excuse for not packing a whistle.

 

Headlamp or Flashlight- Getting lost or injured can mean an unexpected stay overnight. A good flashlight or headlamp can be seen for miles. Be sure the batteries are changed regularly even if you do not use it.

 

Matches and Fire starter- Even in warm climates; hypothermia is a very real danger. Some waterproof matches and some fire starter (tinder) are essential. It can get very cold at night.

 

Knife- A good knife has hundreds of uses. You can make a shelter, hunt for game, sharpen a stick to roast marshmallows, and cut rope. The uses are endless and no hiker should be without one. Don't skimp on quality.

 

Signal mirror- Can be used to let aircraft know of your location. Very inexpensive and light. Again, there is no excuse not to carry one.

 

Sunscreen- Helps prevent sunburn. Which in turn helps prevent dehydration. Best to pack a waterproof sunscreen. Some even have bug repellant mixed in.

 

Water Filter- When you run out of water and have to drink from a pond or stream. Some bacterial infections that you can get from water in the backcountry are very dangerous. It is best to filter or boil your water before you drink. There are all kinds of water filters, choose the one that fits your needs. Be sure you get the best filtering available. Prices range from a few dollars to several hundred.

 

Spare Batteries- As technology advances, more and more items carried into the wilds depend on batteries to function. Be sure you carry enough spare batteries in the right size for all your gear. GPS, flashlight, FRS, and other gear are useless if the batteries are dead.

 

There are other items you can take with you, but the ones listed above will cover the basics to keep you safe in the event you loose your way or encounter an injury or clash with mother nature. The most important thing you can take with you is common sense. Always tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return. Be sure you have a basic knowledge of survival skills as well. Your brain is the best tool you have for survival. Be sure you equip it as well as your pack. Check with your local outdoors store or club about a class in first aid and survival.

 

Be safe, be prepared.

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I have never been lost. Been awful confused for a few days, but never lost!

N61.12.041 W149.43.734

Link to comment

Great thread. I live on an island so all I really need is my GPS, basic pack stuff like water a couple of power bars and whatever trade items for the cache. I most cases you can walk in any given direction and hit a main road within 10 miles or less. Very hard to get lost on LI. I'll definately check this list when venturing upstate.

 

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Because now I am Lost.

Link to comment

This has come up a number of times before. Those are great suggestions for caches that require a hike. The reality is, at least for the contiguous states, 98% of all caches are in a park and you’ll walk no more than 500 yards or so to find it. You don’t need any of those things for that.

 

Now, if you intend to go after the really fun caches that are miles into the National forest, you’ll need all that and maybe more.

 

Good tips Bilder!

 

This or this, or this, or this, or even this, for which I was slightly unprepared.

 

http://fp1.centurytel.net/Criminal_Page/

Link to comment

Here is an item I recently added to my pack and I consider it essential in a geocacher's pack (but, hey, that's just me).

 

It's a cache repair kit. It includes extra pencils, logbooks, micro-logs, info sheets, extra ziplocks, sharpies, silica gel packets, and several trade items all stuffed into a box that could be used to replace a damaged one (small). It fits easily in my pack and has come in handy several times.

 

repkit.jpg

Link to comment

When I was traipsin across the tundra (fishing) in AK, I carried a shorty 12 gauge loaded with slugs...the last round being 00 buckshot (for shooting over your shoulder as you hightail it outta there). Of course, if you are using the buddy system, a .22 pistol is plenty firepower for protection against bears. One shot in yer buddies knee should slow him down enough to allow your scotfree escape.

 

"Me transmitte sursum, Caledoni!"

Link to comment

Thanks BadAndy, you've ruined my professional career. Here I sit in my office reading your post, and burst out laughing. You should see the looks I get now from my co-workers when I try and explain what's so funny...

 

"You're doing what when you shoot who?..."

 

Respect is now a fond memory thanks to you [icon_wink.gif]

 

CacheCreatures are spreading... They can hide, but they can't run!

Link to comment

quote:
Originally posted by BadAndy:

When I was traipsin across the tundra (fishing) in AK, I carried a shorty 12 gauge loaded with slugs...the last round being 00 buckshot (for shooting over your shoulder as you hightail it outta there). Of course, if you are using the buddy system, a .22 pistol is plenty firepower for protection against bears. One shot in yer buddies knee should slow him down enough to allow your scotfree escape.

 

"Me transmitte sursum, Caledoni!"


 

LOL! I think even a good hiking stick would do the job if used properly icon_smile.gif

Link to comment

How about something useful...

 

Like a printout of the cache page and all of the log entries and photos of the cache container & location.

 

A cellphone so you can give your coords to the rescue team searching for you!

 

An FRS radio so you can talk to your partner (if you cache with one) when you get seperated.

Two GPS's with the waypoint can save you from going back to get your family after you bushwack it to a cache and find the easy (long) way in for them.

 

ziplock bags to put the log in or to replace worn out ones. Thick freezer types (you can get them in a small size that is narrower an longer than the sandwich type).

 

A towel to dry out a cache that got soaked and to wipe the seal on ammo boxes and other gasket seal type containers.

 

Extra pens to put in the logbook ziplock if there isn't one, or it isn't working. (standard med. pt ballpoints work best... waterproof ink, and won't scratch holes in slightly damp paper like a fine point).

 

Garbage bags... to put a cache in if it isn't watertight, and to haul away litter.

 

A stick to poke around and look for the cache with.

 

A bright colored lanyard to wrap around your GPS to tie it on a branch in an orientation that will allow it to continue receiving and averaging while you hunt for the cache, and also to help you find the GPS after you set it down! (I plan to make a walking stick with a GPS mound at the butt of the handle and a spike at the bottom so I can stick it in the ground to hold my GPS for me).

 

A machete to make it easier to get to the cache where appropriate.

 

A compass is good to get to the cache if you have to walk out to a clear area to get good GPS reception and use a bearing/distance (dead reckoning) to find the cache.

 

A good map, with the cache marked on it is helpful, but not always necessary.

 

But as mentioned above, most geocaching is done within 500 ft of the car. A backup GPS and writing down the coordinates for the car might be a good idea, but I don't need a tent, blanket, MRE's and field artillery to go into the city park.

 

I do carry a whistle, but that's because I Hash with my dog, so he's used to following whistles to find me.

 

I do intend to get my kids some of the Referee Whistles that use three tones (phase shifting) to create the warble tone rather than a pea. They are by far the loudest I've heard... louder than the Big Ones that claim to be the world's loudest (and easier to carry when running). I did convince my wife to carry one as well.

 

Having spent a lot of time out in the woods listening for whistles, I can say that the Fox pea-less whistles are easier to hear at a distance... perhaps the shrill tone is more important than the Db level alone is.

 

I also keep a small spherical pin-on type compass on my whistle lanyard as a backup just in case mine gets taken out of my fanny pack. I hate getting to the cache and having to deal with missing equipment that I thought I had with me!

 

[This message was edited by Mark 42 on October 14, 2003 at 02:53 PM.]

Link to comment

I wrote this for hiking in the backcountry. That is why cell phones, GPS, and FRS are not on the list.

 

There are many places that have no cell coverage once you leave pavement. Electronics can break or the batteries can die. Better safe than sorry while hiking in the wild.

 

People vanish while hiking every year, even in the lower 48. Geocachers need not be one of them.

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I have never been lost. Been awful confused for a few days, but never lost!

N61.12.041 W149.43.734

Link to comment

What is my geocaching gear?

 

Medium Alice Pack in Olive Green (No Frame)

Lowrance GM 100 GPS

Stocker & Yale Military Tritium Compass

Petzl Arctic Headlamp

Extra AA Batteries

Small 10x25 Camo Bushnell Binoculars

Small Spiral Log Book to log my finds for my own records.

Trade items. From small inexpensive to larger moderately priced items.

Canteen with water.

Leather work gloves for reaching into stuff with thorns etc.

Couple of Power Bars.

 

For bushwhacking:

Swedish Military wool pants. These have leather straps to draw the pants legs tight against your boots. The burrs literally brush off of these pants with no problems.

 

US Military camo top. Good protection in the thickets.

 

10" Tall Matterhorn Gore-Tex combat boots. All leather and tough as nails.

Link to comment

sure hope you don't ask me to go caching with ya, lol

quote:
Originally posted by ChiefPig:

quote:
Originally posted by BadAndy:

When I was traipsin across the tundra (fishing) in AK, I carried a shorty 12 gauge loaded with slugs...the last round being 00 buckshot (for shooting over your shoulder as you hightail it outta there). Of course, if you are using the buddy system, a .22 pistol is plenty firepower for protection against bears. One shot in yer buddies knee should slow him down enough to allow your scotfree escape.

 

"Me transmitte sursum, Caledoni!"


 

LOL! I think even a good hiking stick would do the job if used properly icon_smile.gif


Link to comment

1 .45 automatic.

2 boxes of ammunition.

4 days' concentrated emergency rations.

1 drug issue containing antibiotics, morphine, vitamin pills, pep pills, sleeping pills, tranquilizer pills.

1 miniature combination Russian phrase book and Bible.

100 dollars in rubles.

100 dollars in gold.

9 packs of chewing gum.

1 issue of prophylactics.

3 lipsticks.

3 pairs of nylon stockings.

Oops, wrong list icon_wink.gif

 

____________________________

- Team Og Rof A Klaw

All who wander are not lost.

Link to comment
When I was traipsin across the tundra (fishing) in AK, I carried a shorty 12 gauge loaded with slugs...the last round being 00 buckshot (for shooting over your shoulder as you hightail it outta there). Of course, if you are using the buddy system, a .22 pistol is plenty firepower for protection against bears. One shot in yer buddies knee should slow him down enough to allow your scotfree escape.<BR><BR>"Me transmitte sursum, Caledoni!"

I always wondered what that extra handgun was for when we went hunting. :D

Link to comment
When I was traipsin across the tundra (fishing) in AK, I carried a shorty 12 gauge loaded with slugs...the last round being 00 buckshot (for shooting over your shoulder as you hightail it outta there). Of course, if you are using the buddy system, a .22 pistol is plenty firepower for protection against bears. One shot in yer buddies knee should slow him down enough to allow your scotfree escape.<BR><BR>"Me transmitte sursum, Caledoni!"

ROFLMAO - Was just talking to someone else about not outrunning the bear, just the buddy you're with. :D

Link to comment

Alot of funny posts here.. but to be serious always have water, extra batteries and a flashlight at a minimum. My son and I went on a 1.5 mile hike on a well marked trait (at first) .. it got very faint towards the end and we were depending on the GPS. Then the sky opened up on us and it was very dark under thick cover. About this time of course the GPS died and we spent almost 3 hrs in those woods. He's 7 and still a tad frightened of the dark. It was very unpleasant. Thankfully the rain lighted up before it was totally dark, dusk was coming on and we got back out ok. A flashlight would have really been a help. I like an idiot had forgotten it in the car. We did have water, munchies and some garbage bags in the pack thank god!

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Followers 0
×
×
  • Create New...