Food and Gear Checklist

  • Sturdy boots (a must). A twisted ankle is the easiest way to ruin a hike and cause you to need a rescue.
  • Extra socks. A welcome treat for the feet at mid-hike, or if you inadvertently step in a stream.
  • First-aid kit. You never know what can happen on a mountain. It is best to be ready for anything.
  • Guidebook, trail map, and compass. You should always make sure you have a way to find the trail if it is poorly marked or if you lose the trail.
  • High-energy food and snacks. Hiking uses up more energy than normal walking. If you start to get tired, this can give you the boost you need to finish the trip and get back.
  • Two to four quarts (per person) of water and/or treatment system if near water. You can never have too much water when hiking. Again, hiking is harder than walking and your body will use more fluid and you will sweat it out as well.
  • Sunscreen. When you are above the tree line and exposed to the sun, you can get burnt much quicker than you think. Especially with a layer of sweat.
  • Insect repellent. You don't want to spend all your energy swatting at flies and mosquitoes. In the trees the wind won't always keep them away.
  • Hat. On a mountain you can exposed to the elements longer than you normally would.
  • Flashlight or headlamp with fresh batteries. If you are still in the woods when the sun starts to set, these will help you make it back safely. It is much easier to trip over a rock or root when you can't see it.
  • Plastic trash bag. These serve many functions: Use them as pack liners to keep your gear dry, for carrying out trash, or as a makeshift rain poncho.
  • Bandanna or handkerchief. This can be used like a hat, made into a bandage, or protect you hands and legs from sharp rocks or plants.
  • Wind and rain gear (waterproof/breathable fabrics recommended). On there summit there can be no protection from the elements.
  • Gloves or mittens. The summit is often colder than the base of the mountain and with the wind it will feel even colder. Your fingers are one of the first things to go numb on your body.
  • Whistle. This will come in handy if you happen to get lost or off trail. When someone is looking for you, this can let them know where you are.
  • Waterproof matches. If you get lost on the mountain, you may need a way to keep warm when the sun goes down. Only light fires when needed though as in many places they are normally forbidden.