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Trip Preparation


Packing For Your Trip

Before you just take off and go there are a few things you should know about before you leave. Most importantly your destination and travel companions. But, without the right equipment even those basic things can be spoiled. First of all you'll need your basic fundamentals of boots, a tent and of course a backpack.


The right boots are an extremely important part of making your trip a success. Actually it might be the most important piece of equipment that you'll have. There are three different types to choose from:

  • Light Weight-These are generally for day hikes and defined trails. They are made of a leather and canvas combination. Not quite as sturdy as a completely leather boot. It's more of a laid back look good boot.
  • Medium Weight-These are made for the back country. They are usually a completely leather boot which adds more stability to your hike and adds more water resistance just in case.
  • Heavy Weight-These boots are made more for long intensive trips, heavy packs, and lots of banging around.

When finding the right boot make sure to bring along the appropriate attire. When you hike you wear hiking socks so when you try on hiking boots you should wear hiking socks. If you do try the boots on with light cotton socks you will pay for it later while you ron the trails. One final note that you must abide by, no matter how much you think you don't have to or how much you don't want to you must, I repeat you must, Break in your boots!


There are two different types of packs. You can either have an external back or an internal pack. They are both basically the same but external packs have the metal bars, the support of the bag, on the outside of the bag. Internal packs have the bars enclosed inside the material. So, what's the difference you ask. Well, the difference is that the external packs tend to make for easier packing of equipment. They tend to have a few more pockets. But, the internal packs on the other hand seem to be much more comfortable. This is a huge plus for long days of hiking.

Packs are measured in cubic inches and come in all different sizes. They usually range from 3,000 to 7,000 inches. 3,000 inches being the size for large day packs, which are good for no more then one night. The 4-5,000 range is a good weekend pack. For a over a week you will need at least a 6,000 inch pack. So, remember when picking out your bag, size does matter.


Tents come in a variety of shapes on sizes. Try not to be sucked into all the different colors and styles. Size should be the first thing your considering. The sizes are a 2-man, 3-man, 4-man, 6-man, and even go up to the family sizes of 10 and more. These are a little big for hiking purposes. Your tent should have the main tent, the rain fly(tarp), along with the support poles (these hold up your tent so i'd advise keeping a close watch on them and bringing a few extras.) You should also bring along a piece of ground cloth. This is a piece of plastic that goes under your tent. I prefer to call it a tent diaper. The point of your tent diaper is to keep your tent dry and clean from the ground. It works best when the edges are tucked neatly underneath the tent. If the diaper is sticking out the point of it has been slightly lost. Along with the proper essentials you should have a checklist of hiking gear to look at before you finally pack for you journey.

Day hikes

  • Water-at least 1 liter for short day hikes of 6 miles or more.
  • Compass/Map of area (you can get map at park's visitor center)
  • Day pack
  • Food
  • Extra clothing-layering is an essential part of comfort on your hike
  • Matches -I highly suggest using blue tip, strike anywhere matches.
  • First aid kit with the basics
  • Flashlight -extra batteries
  • Sunscreen/hat or bandana

Rain gear

Remember, pack everything in zip lock bags. Preparation means nothing if your stuff is unusable.

Back country

  • Clothes underwear (a few pairs)
  • thermal underwear-polypropelyne (pants and shirt)
  • cotton t-shirt
  • shorts
  • medium weight long pants
  • wool socks
  • medium weight hiking socks
  • a couple pairs of sock liners
  • boots
  • light weight outerwear
  • medium weight outerwear
  • waterproof outer-shell rain gear
  • warm gloves and hat
  • sunscreen along with a hat or bandana
  • always bring a bandana -it has over a thousand uses
  • depending on weather you might need another t-shirt or flannel shirt, possibly even sweater
  • Pack and Shelter backpack
  • pack cover
  • tent,fly,stakes and poles
  • tent diaper
  • sleeping bag, within a plastic bag, which is within your stuff sack
  • sleeping pad -makes for the best night sleep
  • Personal (always optional) toothbrush/toothpaste
  • soap
  • towel
  • toilet paper
  • glasses/contacts
  • lip balm
  • sunscreen
  • bowel trowel -yes a shovel
  • insect repellent
  • sunglasses -personally, a must
  • General Equipment water bottles
  • emergency kit
  • first aid kit
  • fire starter
  • space blanket
  • all purpose zip lock bags
  • water purification system or tablets
  • flashlight -extra batteries
  • pocket knife -should contain sharp blade, can opener, and a screw driver
  • repair kit -with extra stove parts, duct tape, wire, and some type of cord/light rope
  • compass
  • watch
  • maps
  • signal mirror
  • large stuff sack -for hanging your food
  • Cooking Equipment stove
  • fuel
  • matches -again, I highly recommend blue tip, strike anywhere matches
  • cooking pots
  • cup
  • bowl
  • spoon for cooking
  • spoon for eating
  • 1-gallon zip-lock bags for trash
  • Optional cards
  • games
  • thermometer
  • camera/film
  • binoculars
  • fanny pack
  • hammock

Again, always remember to keep your stuff dry you must safely secure everything in zip lock plastic bags. Now that you know everything there is to know about what to pack for your trip why don't you find more about what you do once your there.


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