The Ten Essentials of Outdoor Gear is a list of items to carry with you on a day hike, a backpacking trip, a bikepacking trip, river trip, and even a road trip. These are the items that you can depend on to make an unexpected delay, unplanned overnight, or rescue situation more manageable.
I have been lost in the Three Sisters Wilderness in Oregon after we oriented our compass on what we assumed was our lake. I was once a bit overheated deep in the Yellowstone backcountry carrying a big pack and hiking a crazy fast pace. I became turned around one winter night on Rabbit Ears Pass when a snowstorm turned evening light into a black whiteout. I’ve handed out extra insulating layers and rainjackets to customers on my raft guiding on the Ark. All of these situations had successful outcomes because of what was in my pack and dry bag and keeping calm.
Do you carry the Ten Essentials? Luck is great but it is very hard to depend on.
Here are the Ten Essentials of Outdoor Gear and plenty of options that Ski Haus stocks for your benefit.
- Shelter. Shelter can be a huge family tent or an emergency blanket. The consideration is your trip duration, number of people, and the season. Two excellent lightweight tents we really like are the Nemo Hornet 1 and Hornet 2 and Big Agnes Fly Creek series of tents. We are completely sold on Adventure Medical’s Emergency Blankets and Bivvys. Lightweight and heat reflective these compact and ultralight options are water and wind proof, too.
- Fire. A super lightweight camp stove and cup (with waterproofmatches) or materials for a fire starter can be heaven sent. When all you need is maybe a hot drink a lightweight stove in your pack is wonderful. Or if you need to build a fire a magnesium striker with tender can suffice. Fire can create warmth, melt snow for water, dry out wet gear, and act as a signal. Ski Haus stocks fire starting kits from Light My Fire and we stock stoves from Jetboil, MSR, and Primus.
- Extra Clothing. A dunking at a creek crossing or a surprise monsoon above tree line can turn a quick trip into misery. Extra clothing to replace a wet t-shirt or an additional warm layer can make the difference between big goosbumps on your skin or big smiles on your lips. Ski Haus stocks great options from ArcTeryx, Patagonia, Smartwool, Icebreaker and more. Options include technical t-shirts that dry quick, a next-to-skin wool layer for warmth, or even a nice compressible down sweater for even more warmth… even in July and August!
- Hydration. You should always start out with plenty of water or bring along some kind of container to be able to filter and store water. Ski Haus stocks water filters from Katadyn, MSR, Sawyer, and Lifestraw. We stock purifiers from Grayl, Steripen, and Potable Aqua (tablets). Staying hydrated on the trail is key. Even under normal backcountry circumstance it is recommended you drink between 3 and 5 quarts of water a day.
- Food. Even on a short day hike carrying extra food that you might not need is good idea. Unplanned overnight? Extra food will get you through a long night and a hungry morning. Energy gels, bars, gummies, and jerky can give you the extra umpf to either keep hiking or silence an empty stomach. On multi day trips add a few extra meals as your “just in case.” Ski Haus stocks trail food from Kate’s, Skratch, Sweetwood, and Honey Stinger. We stock backcountry dehydrated meals from Mountain House, Backpacker’s Pantry, Good to Go, and Alpine Aire.
- Navigation. A simple compass and a map of the area that you are exploring should be in your pack before you leave home… not after your trip. You should also have at least a working knowledge of how to use your map and compass. Ski Haus offers Brunton and Silva compasses. We stock a wide variety of maps covering much of western USA. Maps include National Geographic/Trials Illustrated, Beartooth Publishing, Sky Terrain, USGS, Butler Maps, Latitude 40, and many more!
- Knife. Food prep, fire tender making, 1st aid, gear repair… MacGyver won’t leave home without one. Ski Haus stocks Spyderco, Helle, Victorinox, Opinel, Hultafors, Moraknil knives and Leatherman multi-tools.
- Illumination. A headlamp, a lantern, a candle… when it’s dark a little light can be comforting. Ski Haus stocks Petzl and Black Diamond headlamps. From 150 lumens to well over 300 lumens you’ll be able to far and wide.
- 1st Aid Kit. From blisters and minor burns to setting bones and stop bleeding… holy cow, the things we humans can do to ourselves and live to tell the tale… as long as there is a first aid kit. Ski Haus stocks first aid kits from Adventure Medical.
- Sun Protection. Whether it is winter or summer you can get burned. Sunscreen, sunglasses, and wide brimmed hats are a must to protect ski and eyes. Ski Haus has a huge selection of hats and sunscreen.
Ready. Set. Go. Be ready for anything with the 10 Essentials. Chances are if you have them with you won’t ever use them. Chances are if you don’t have them you’ll be wishing you did. It’s a Murphy’s Law world out there!