Take the 10 Essentials

Be Prepared

Be prepared: 10 Essentials checklist and sound advice. Plan for the unusual experience. Think beyond just driving your car to the trailhead and jumping out to start hiking.  

The Washington Trails Association has searchable hike maps with driving directions and trail maps online. Trip reports on the site let you know about trail conditions, closures and other important information. The Mountaineers developed a list of the “10 Essentials” that every person — kids included — who ventures into the backcountry should have with them:


Navigation: Note that a GPS requires batteries; a compass does not.


Sun protection: sunglasses and sunscreen, even in the winter.


Insulation: an extra set of clothes to keep you warm in a worst-case scenario.


Illumination: a headlamp, flashlight, or lantern with extra batteries.


First-aid supplies: treatment for blisters, a few bandages, adhesive tape, pain relief, and disinfecting cream or spray.


Fire: waterproof matches stored in a watertight container — bring more than you think you’ll need. Some sort of fire starter, like dry tinder, lint, or any number of commercially available products.


Repair kit: duct tape and a knife or multitool.


Extra Nutrition: extra energy bars, trail mix, jerky, or freeze-dried meals.


Hydration: water bottles, and also a water filtration or purification system.


Shelter: depending on the length of your trip, this could range from a tarp (that could be used to make an emergency shelter) to a sleeping bag or tent.