I have noticed that the topic of “what should go in my pack” is coming up a lot lately. It’s a valid question for someone just starting out. But the answer is old as the hills... The Ten Essentials were first described in the 1930s by The Mountaineers, a hiking and mountain climbing club. Since then the list has been popularized by the Boy Scouts and recently modernized by REI.
For me the 10 Essentials is a good starting point and by expanding it
just a little you have a well stocked day pack that is designed to get
you out of trouble. It’s not meant to be a 3-4 day trip pack list but a
list of items that covers all the needs of a stranded day hiker.
Think of the list not as individual items but a systems of kits. Each
“kit” addresses a specific need in your comfort or needs when in the
Here is the list with my own twists added:
The 10 Essentials (+2)
Soft shell jacket
First Aid Kit
Repair and tools
Hydration (extra water)
100 oz Bladder
Sil Nylon 5x7 MEST
Water purification tabs
MSR titan kettle
By having the basics from the list the kit can be very small by adding
redundancy you can make the kit bigger. It’s really up to you. It
doesn’t matter if you are using a day pack from the Goodwill or an
expensive Mystery Ranch pack. The contents are what is important and
having all your bases covered.
I hope this helps someone on their quest for the proper gear.