Be Prepared

Aside from carrying the ten basics (plus boots), which are absolutely fundamental to any expedition, it is important to think about the variable conditions and terrains you may be hiking through. An obvious form of preparation is to check the weather. However, here’s a more extended list of equipment to cater for any eventualities:

  • Pocket knife/Swiss Army knife – Can act as tin opener.
  • Spare batteries – For your essential torch.
  • Tinder – More importantly, knowledge of how to start a fire. Campfires are real life savers. They can keep a lost traveler warm and act as a signal for help. Not so many ‘modern folk’ know how to make a campfire, so check out the article on Essortment to get clued up.
  • Candles – Useful for starting fire as well as providing backup light.
  • Water purification tablets and/or filter – You never know quite what’s up stream from where you’re drinking so use these to avoid illness.
  • Food – This should be low in water content to keep the weight of your pack down. If you have ready access to water on a long hike, just bring dried food.
  • Plastic bags – Bags have multiple uses. They can keep your food dry and line your pack and even your shoes when it rains. Bring plenty for all eventualities.
  • Insect repellent
  • Mat – If you’re camping, this can help smooth out the bumpy ground. It will make a big difference!
  • Sleeping bag
  • Clothes – It’s best to go for the layered approach so you can adapt to the weather. Bring a spare set of clothes in case you get wet during the day, and something loose and warm for the evenings. Having dry clothes can often make the difference between misery and comfort during the hike!
  • Hat – Whatever the weather, you still may need to keep your head warm. The body loses most of its heat through the head.
  • Big handkerchief – Can act as a makeshift water filter or bandanna.
  • Kagool or Parka – This should be able to fit over you and as much of your pack as possible. Storm has a good range of outdoor clothing:
  • Toilet paper or tissues – Also useful as kindling.
  • Tent – Essential for any kind of overnight camping. Bring instructions with you or at least practice putting it up first before you travel!
  • Extra Blankets
  • Hammock – Good idea if you’re in the tropics; will keep you away from all the insects and curious animals.
  • Pillow – Choose an inflatable pillow to save on space.
  • Mosquito net – Again, highly recommended in the tropics.
  • String – for all sorts of purposes, such as a clothes line.
  • Rope – Useful, for climbing, fastening tents etc and in rescue situations.
  • Fishing line and fishing hooks – These tools are lightweight and versatile. They can be used to catch fish, repair boots, and hang up supplies at night…
  • Cooking pot and/or frying pan
  • Stove and fuel – You can buy reasonably priced camping stoves from this site.
  • Cutlery and cooking utensils
  • Scarf
  • Gloves
  • Flip-flops or sandals – These are essential for the evenings or late night toilet trips. Boots are very fiddly to take on and off!
  • Towel
  • Soap and shampoo – Preferably choose biodegradable products. Remember to respect your surroundings at all times.
  • Sewing kit
  • Walking stick
  • Notebook
  • Earplugs – Nature is noisy, particularly at night!
  • Elastic bands
  • Gaffer tape
  • Condoms – Not for the reasons you might think: a condom can hold up to a litre of water. Naturally, bring ones without spermicide though!
  • Radio – Not just for entertainment; you may need to radio for help if you’re injured or in danger. It’s sometimes hard to get a mobile phone signal in the middle of nowhere, so be prepared.
  • Tweezers – Useful for removing thorns.
  • Spade
  • Lots of snacks – To keep up your energy levels.
  • Shoe Polish – Great for camouflage, the smell can repel animals and it’s also a useful source of fuel.
  • Snow shoes and hiking poles – if you are going over snow or ice.