Hiking season is well under way, with summer camping just weeks away. What should every Hiker, Backpacker, or Camper, carry? At least the 10 essentials. The “official” 10 essentials list is different depending on what resource you use (Backpacker Magazine; The Boy Scout Handbook, etc)…don’t get caught up on which “official” list is the right one…in fact it might be fun to give your Den or Patrol a bag of 15-20 items and let them determine what would be in their 10 essentials from the items given. Let them discuss the pros and cons of each item.
For fun, here is a list from a Boy Scout Handbook
- A Pocketknife (presumably more than just a knife, a Swiss Army knife for example). In order to use a knife in Scouting, you must have your Totin’ Chip award.
- A first aid kit. A basic kit for first aid might include adhesive bandages, medical tape, sterile gauze, moleskin, soap, antiseptic, a mouth-barrier device for CPR, scissors and band-aids.
- Extra clothing to match the weather. Multiple layers are superior to a single massive jacket, because layered clothing is adaptable to a wide range of temperatures.
- Rain gear.
- A flashlight.
- Trail food such as trail mix and granola bars, etc.
- Water Portable water purifiers and water stills may be used to obtain potable water from virtually any source. If a water-source is unavailable the use of a dromedary bag should be considered. Also bring bottled water.
- Matches and/or a firestarter may be used to light fires for heat, or for signalling purposes. (Publicly owned forests in the United States often have lookout stations for forest fires and signal fires.)
- Sun protection may include sunblock, sunglasses, lip balm and a wide-brimmed hat.
- Trail maps and compass.
Of course, many of the items are not helpful if a hiker/camper doesn’t know how to use them. Plan a Den/Patrol/Troop meeting around training on the use of these items. Don’t assume all Scouts know how to use these items. Have older Scouts use the EDGE method in facilitating a Training.