Lightweight and Ultralightweight Backpacking

The View from Here
Panoramic view from a mountain top in Glacier National Park, Montana
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The 10 Essentials - The Systems Approach




  • Shelter -- For protection from wind, rain, insects and sun.

  • Water -- Carry water. Carry provision for water filtration and purification.

  • Food -- Have what you expect to eat.

  • Extra Food -- For warmth and strength. For unexpected delays.

  • Extra Clothing -- For covering an injured hiker to prevent shock, as well as for keeping yourself warm, dry and comfortable.

  • Cooking Fire -- Be able to make a cooking fire. A knife can be used to make small shavings to start a cooking fire. Keep matches in a waterproof container.

  • Warming Fire -- A fire starter, such as a candle, kindling or chemical accelerant, increases your odds of successfully getting a warming fire going.

  • First aid supplies -- A ready-made, store bought kit may prove inadequate. It is best to add to a kit or construct your own, based on expert advice.

  • Compass and map, and gps -- Have, and know how to use.

  • Signal -- Whistle, signal mirror, orange smoke. A cellular phone can be helpful, if you have telephone numbers and you know where you are or the cellular phone has a GPS locator. However, in the backcountry, a cellular phone often will not work.

It is necessary to understand, you are on your own.

There is no reason to think you will be rescued: the helicopter will swoop in and snatch you away from danger.

The weather may change all your plans. There may be an unexpected closure and no way to back out, due to avalanche or rockslide or sudden storm flooding making the stream crossings too dangerous. Nightfall is much earlier in deep canyons and in mountains. It is better to bivouac, than be injured trying to hike out in the dark.

Have minimum essentials for staying out overnight. If you are going for a short walk, have a waistpack, rucksack or small pack with what you need for an overnight bivouac.

Even a short paddle on the lake may require you run for the nearest shore.

I have selected the best information that I know to put on this website.

I have never been hurt. I have rescued others.

Here is good advice.

How will you rescue yourself?

If someone more knowledgeable does not happen to come along, rescue really is all about self rescue.

Think things through as much as possible in advance, utilizing the abundant information available here and elsewhere.

If you haven't thought this through, The 10 Essentials - The Systems Approach, helps with understanding proven essentials for this kind of independent recreation.





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