I stopped by REI to get some new gear for mountaineering, mostly climbing 12ers, 13ers, and 14ers in Colorado. It was time to update some of my standard gear for one-day climbs, so I thought I would share my purchases with my readers. I bought $250 worth of gear that all fit into one small paper bag. As I can afford to, I update and modernize my climbing gear. Mostly, I look for lighter, more efficient gear. Things cost more and weigh less. Everything that I bought today, combined, weighs less than my jeans did when I first started climbing. The linked PDF only shows the four items I purchased with information on the gear and prices. I’m not pushing this specific gear or a particular brand. This is what I thought was best for me and my budget. The generic descriptions of what I bought are 1) base layer top, 2) wind protection shell, 3) multifunctional headwear, and 4) carabiners.
Have you ever thought to yourself: “I’m just going on a short hike so I don’t need to worry about taking anything with me. I’ll just do that 5-mile loop up and around the alpine lake. I’ll be back in two hours. Maybe I’ll take a bottle of water with me just in case I get thirsty.”
When preparing for a hike into the wilderness, thoughts like that are potentially fatal. People have died on shorter hikes than 5-miles because they entered the wild without the proper knowledge and equipment. I have attached a checklist that I use nearly every time I leave a trailhead to enter the wild. You should make your own checklist of essential gear commensurate with your abilities, needs, the environment, and the type of adventure you are embarking on. You can use my checklist as a starting point.
When packing for your hike, consider the following possibilities. Are you prepared to return in the dark if your hike takes longer than anticipated, or you just stay a little too long at that beautiful alpine lake with the crystal clear water. What if you break your ankle three miles into a moderately difficult route. What if you get lost, and have to stay overnight in the woods. If things don’t go as planned, you’ll be thankful you carried the extra 15-20 pounds of essential gear.
Plan to have a great time in the backcountry, but prepare yourself for potential mishaps.
Happy Trails . . . Best wishes on your adventures.