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Essential Gear


Everyone who travels in the mountains has heard of the ten essentials. The classic list has given way to a few more options, but the advice remains the same: never go anywhere without sufficient gear to get you through two or more days in the mountains. As recently as November 2011, a local hiker wandered for almost a week before being rescued. He survived because he had some gear, but not enough to get himself out of the bush. A lucky guy.  Here are the ten essentials:

  1. and compass

  2. 2.sunglasses and sunscreen

  3. 3.extra clothing

  4. 4.headlamp or flashlight

  5. 5.first aid supplies

  6. 6.matches or lighter


  8. 8.knife

  9. 9. extra food

  10. 10. extra water

It is a good list, but not hardly enough for mountain travel in winter. Heading anywhere in the Coast Range is serious business. A slip into a gully without the means of climbing out is more apt to be fatal than not. It won’t happen if your prepared with a few more  important “essentials”:

  1. axe

  2. 2.crampons

  3. 3.snowshoes

  4. 4.collapsable trekking poles

  5. 5.insulated pad

  6. 6.signaling device

  7. 7.emergency shelter

  8. 8.canister fuel stove and pot

  9. 9.waterproof breathable or resistant outer shells

Get the gear and learn how to use it - it’s fun. Local hills are the best place to practice. Don’t head out on an aerobic workout with an empty pack just to go fast. Do that at the track, not in the hills. Carrying gear ups training intensity as much as increasing pace and speed over the ground. You can achieve the same fitness goals by carrying weight in the form of the 19-essentials or at least most of them. Make your goal to have fun and come home safely.