Monday, March 10, 2014

The "Go Bag" - Day Hike Ready, Willing and Able!

Having a day hike “Go Bag” ready to grab at a moment's notice is a good idea, especially with the onset of longer daylight-filled afternoons.  This weekend, the Go Bag was cleaned up and a few perishables were restocked. In addition to the contents of what's carried in the pack, I've started to bring along a few toiletries that could best be described as “post-hike-clean-up-enough-to-grab-some-food” supplies. Of course, this is in addition to a separate small duffle that holds hiking clothes which includes: Hiking shoes/boots, socks, shorts, tech shirt, scarf, ballcap and windbreaker.

These two bags are carried in the back of the car and on business trips in the event that the opportunity to take in a short, afternoon hike of a few miles before sunset presents itself. When traveling by air, I often leave the toiletries home and replace my preferred, standard trekking pole for a collapsible one which fits into luggage more easily. Though it's likely obvious from the top photo, I always, always carry a hat. Carried generally on the outside of the bag is my trusty Tilley hat. I consider Tilley to be the best outdoor adventure hat available. The extra ballcap that's kept in the clothing bag is worn after the hike is over and the Tilley is sweat soaked.

Nothing special here and all of the "10 Essentials" are covered in some fashion, but here’s the contents of the day pack:

A. Mountain Smith Tour lumbar pack. It’s been accessorized with shoulder straps. The yellow interior makes it easy to find things inside without having to search through a normally dark interior.

B. Aluminum Emergency Whistle.

C. I’ve added a waist strap zippered pocket to carry lip balm, extra sunscreen and a few Jolly Rancher candies to suck on while hiking. This one was picked up at a running supply outlet and I like its small size. Similar zippered pouches can be found at outdoor gear stores but they're generally larger in size.

D. Trail Snacks which include fun size Payday candy bars. Quick sugar, a little protein and they don’t melt. Probably not the best option, but they’re inexpensive compared to some pricey energy bars which generally aren’t that different overall.

E. Compass, notepad, pen (and generally a pencil stub) and a trail guide and/or map, folded and glued into the notepad.

F. First Aid Kit, supplemented with blister pads, NSAID pain relievers, tick removal tool, tweezers and emergency sutures. Headlamp and sometimes a separate small handheld LED flashlight. Matches that have been waterproofed and an extra mini-carabiner for reasons I’ve not determined yet. An alternative to matches is a small butane cigarette lighter.

G. Duct tape, emergency blanket, moist towelettes and an ACE bandage secured with safety pins.

H. Collapsible trekking pole (packed when there’s air travel involved).

Not shown is a folding knife (it was in my pocket) and signal mirror (it was in a separate pocket of the pack that I forgot to look in at the time), extra batteries (carried if it is going to be a long hike), some cash and a photo copy of my driver’s license and emergency contact information.

Additional items that I sometimes carry in the Go Bag include a lighweight poncho, extra water, face towel and a clean shirt.

Every few months, take some time to replenish the trail snacks, medicines and moist towelettes. Check the expiration dates on insect repellent and sunscreen. Also, clean the items if they've been used frequently as well as their condition. Not a pleasant experience to find that your pack has a frayed strap or that your water bottles leak during a hike.