Be prepared! This means bringing more layers of clothing than you think you might need in cool weather, and more water than you think you might need in warm weather.
Pack the "10 Essentials" and be prepared for minor injuries and/or sudden weather changes. The following items are recommended when hiking alone, though some are not absolutely necessary when hiking with a group:
- A map of the area (hike leader)
- A compass (hike leader)
- A flashlight with extra batteries/bulb
- Extra food
- Extra clothing, including rain gear
- Sunglasses and sunscreen
- A pocketknife
- Matches in a waterproof container
- A candle or other fire starter
- A first aid kit, with a "blister kit", tweezers for splinters, and aspirin or other for pain relief medicine.
On TrailBlazer hikes to date, what people have been most happy to have with them is extra water, rain gear, an extra layer of clothes, sunscreen, and a blister kit. Or rather, people have been unhappy campers when these were needed and not there.
After the '10 Essentials', there are some items that are just nice to have. We could call the '10 Almost-Essentials.'
- ID - Don't leave home without carrying some identification. If you have an accident or medical emergency, it can save a lot of grief. It is a very good idea to carry a health information card listing your name, address, phone, emergency contacts, important health conditions, blood type, organ donation preferences and religious restrictions.
- Keys - Keep them zipped in a pocket in your jacket or pack. You don't want to get back to the trailhead to find your keys missing.
- Whistle - just in case you wander off from the group, or the group wanders off from you.
- Insect repellant - More useful at the beginning or end of the hiking season than in the dead of winter, but you'll want it then. This can frequently be applied at the trailhead and left in the car.
- Facial tissue - It doesn't happen to everyone, so it's not a true essential. But the majority of hikers find facial tissue to be indispensable. Something about hiking contributes to dripping noses. Facial tissue also comes in handy for restroom stops at facilities with no toilet paper.
- Zip-lock plastic bags for disposing of tissue and other trash. We will practice Leave no trace.
- Comb - if you want to remove your hat!
- A walking stick - or two. They provide stability and support on rough and up/down trails.
- Money! If you ride with someone else to trailhead, please contribute towards gas.
- Last, but certainly not the least important: a camera! We will be seeing and exploring some of the most beautiful places in Arkansas.