Ask ten people what is essential hiking gear equipment and you are likely to get ten different lists. Everyone has a different idea of what comprises a ‘necessity’ when you step outside the front door and head out. Experienced hikers, climbers, and various other outdoor loving types will have their own list down to a fine art. However, for those of us who would not consider themselves experts or those just venturing out for the first time a checklist would be extremely useful.

One list from the 1930s was as follows: Map, Compass, Sunglasses and sun cream, extra food and water, extra clothes, headlamp/flashlight, first aid kit, fire starter, matches, knife.

Considering this list is well over seventy years old it’s not far from what would a good list of items to carry if something unexpected happened while outdoors. You would be in a good position to of responding to any number of situations.

However, rather than being item specific another way of looking at it would be to think of ten areas or subjects to consider. This list is: Navigation, Sun Protection, Insulation, Illumination, First Aid, Fire, Repair Kit/ Tools, Nutrition, Hydration, Emergency Shelter. In this list you can make decisions with in each area depending on the type of hike or walk you are undertaking. As an example Navigation could be as simple as a good map of the route you are taking along with a compass, or a full feature GPS unit and spare batteries. If you are simply out on an afternoon hike than some of the areas might not be needed, after all we don’t want to be carrying a 45 litre rucksack on our backs for a 7 or 8 mile hike. But it is worth considering that the unexpected can and does occur.

When it comes to hiking gear equipment and what is needed and what can be left behind, lets borrow a famous line from a 1980 American cop show ”Let’s be careful out there”.