Thought I'd publish my husband's check list that he uses when packing our backpacks for day hikes. Some items, we haven't had to use yet, but you never know when you may need them in case of an emergency. And it always smart to be prepared for anything when hiking in the back country! The following list is a good place to start:
1. Water bottles and water purifiers.
2. Fire starting kit with matches, vaseline soaked cotton balls, lighter, and magnesium flint striker.
3. Snacks such as fresh fruit, trail mix, fruit bars, salami, cheese. and lots of beef jerky! Starburst chews for low blood sugar.
4. Extra 3 days worth of light weight food packs such as instant oatmeal, ramen, rice, etc. for emergency use.
5. Wet wipes and/or toilet tissue. I store several water saturated wet wipes in a zip lock bag. They are so refreshing if it gets a little too hot on the trail.
6. Suntan lotion, sunglasses, and chapstick.
7. Mosquito repellent.
8. Cell phone and walkie talkies.
9. ID, permits, and fishing license if applicable.
10. Map and compass. We don't use GPS, but its a great idea if you're tech savvy!
11. Bright neon orange flagging tape (several 12 inch strips) to mark low visibility trails. Very helpful since I very rarely stick to established hiking trails. Most of the time I follow game or elk trails when hiking in the mountains.
12. Airhorn. (see below)
13. Knife, small hatchet, hand spade, pliers, fingernail clippers, and multi-use tool.
14. Plastic bowls, spoons, cooking tongs, small aluminum pot, and or foil.
15. First-aid kit, and prescription meds (if needed).
16. Sewing kit!
17. Fishing kit with hooks, fishing line, plastic grubs (Worms) , and bobber.
18. Head lamps or flash light! (I prefer the LED head lamp by far!)
19. Light weight thermal emergency blanket. Pretty cheap at Walmart!
20. Extra batteries.
21. Duck tape, cord, wire, and small tarp.
22. Hat, or baseball cap.
23. Rain jacket, wool cap, sweater, and extra socks.
24. Neoprene deck slippers for crossing streams. Keeps shoes and socks dry.
25. Hiking poles and gloves. I have found that hiking poles are helpful on super steep trails! I use my gloves mostly when climbing in rocky dessert terrain where there are a lot of cacti, and chances of getting stuck by thorns are high.
26. Camera with extra memory cards.
28. Dog leashes with 2 on 1 splitter, nitrofurazone powder, super glue, treats, and dog boots. Super glue can be used to close and cover cuts on sensitive dog pads.
29. Trash Bags
I'm sure there are other things people may want to add to this list depending on hiking conditions, and terrain. This list works for us and it just serves as a basic starting point! Anyway, hope it helps!
Something to think seriously about: Some National Parks, etc. sell "Rescue Insurance" cards, that can help offset "some" rescue expenses if you get into serious trouble. For example, New Hampshire has one of the best coverage plans in the US.
Info found here > hikesafe.com/index.php?page=the-nh-hike-safe-card
Also, be sure to check in at a local ranger station, and file a "Hiking Plan" on extended hikes, in case something goes wrong on your hike. We also always leave a "visible" Trail Plan in the windshield of the Blue Goose for rangers just in case!
Found an excellent video by Ranger Mike that summarizes some of the essential items needed for Day Hiking in the back country. He has several videos on outdoor survival basics, so be sure to visit his You Tube channel!