Here is the 2nd most popular post of 2012 on the Hiking North/Central Michigan BLOG. Mark wrote many useful and informative articles this last year. This is an extra Cool one. Thanks for another great Post, Mark!
I’ve had people question me in the past, and again just recently as to what all I have in that pack I always carry. After seeing the “Anatomy of a Backpacker” picture a couple of weeks back I thought I would put something together on what all I carry around in my daypack, that I never leave home without.
I’ll attempt here to give a basic run-down of the things I carry. Naturally depending on the time of the year and where you are going as well as what you’re doing, the items in your daypack will vary. I have however found that I have some essentials in there that always seem to remain, regardless of where I am or what I’m doing. Those are the items that I would like to focus on.
I have to first say that my daypack exists primarily to house my water which leads me to item number one. I always carry a 2 liter hydration bag filled with water regardless of the length of hike that I plan to take. I don’t show it here as a separate item because it is always a part of my daypack. Always … Period … I’ll consider more water but never less. It’s just one of those quirky little things about me that no one is going to change, I like water, and water is good, and 2 liters is what I always carry.
The next thing you will find in there is a bag filled with protein bars.
I’ve shared these with a lot of people on the trail and I’ve yet to hear anyone complain about them. I also think in the right situation they could be a real life saver.
Rain gear will be the next item.
Again this is an item that is always there. I could make this a seasonal item but I don’t. I use the lightweight stuff so it really doesn’t add a lot of weight, and in a pinch it can be used during the winter months as an extra layer if needed.
I carry two of these zippered stuff bags.
The larger one contains items that I just don’t want floating around loose in my daypack, and the smaller one contains my first aid kit.
In the larger bag I have the following items:
- Weather proof notepad(You can find these at military surplus stores, and it’s great stuff. You can toss this in the lake pull it out an hour later and write on it just fine.)
- Mylar emergency sleeping bag ( this is really just a back up if I don’t have the emergency bivy along, and I don’t think I would count on this to do much)
- Ibuprofen (I’m cursed with bad knees)
- Elastic wrap (these have come in handy in the past and are worth the weight to carry)
- Insect repellent
- Bottle of hand sanitizer with a few wraps of extra Para-cord
- Some light weight clips. (I could go into the 10,000 uses that I’ve found but that’s for another day.)
- A toilet kit with antibacterial wipes, a trowel, a full roll of toilet paper flattened in a heavy-duty plastic bag with a neck lanyard. (If you have ever had the pleasure of mother nature calling while in the woods … in the pouring rain, or snow, you will know the importance of a neck lanyard on your t.p. bag. If you haven’t had this pleasure, please just take my word for it, nothing makes life any less enjoyable than a roll of wet toilet paper.)
In the smaller bag I have a first aid kit.
I’ve put this kit together myself rather than buy one as a pre-packaged kit. Again this is a daypack, and I’m not a field medic, I just want what I may need, that I know how to use, and I want it in as small a package as I can make it. Everything in this kit I have used or have had a need for in the past. I may add more to it in the future but I don’t see myself removing anything.
- Anti diarrhea tablets
- Antibacterial wipes
- A bag with various sized bandages and gauze pads
- Benadryl capsules, I’m mildly allergic to bee stings.
- Moleskin and a small utility tool that has a good pair of scissors
- Alcohol pads
- Antibiotic ointment packs and iodine wipes
- Plastic toothpicks with floss
- Cotton balls, small roll of medical tape, and rubber gloves
- Tablets for various ailments
- Lip balm
- Super glue
- Female sanitary napkins vacuum sealed
I also carry a dry bag with an extra pair of socks, and a head net for bugs. I’ve used the extra pair of socks on more than one occasion this summer already.
In the picture above there is also this small 5’x7’ nylon tarp, which I have come to love. It’s made from tent type nylon and it’s not a big pain to fold up and get back into the bag. It’s great to set on, it’s makes a quick shelter to get under in a rain storm, and it would make a great emergency shelter if you found yourself spending a night in the woods unexpectedly.
There are a couple other items that have spent a lot of time in my daypack this summer while I have been out on the Manitou Island’s. .
One is my water purification system, and the other is this Emergency bivy bag made by Adventure Medical Kits. This bivy bag is lightweight yet very warm, I’ve tried it out and I’m convinced that it would provide a very comfortable night spent unexpectedly in the woods. I think it could be a real life saver for keeping an injured person warm in the winter as well.
Well those are my basic essentials, and like I said there are a litany of other items that make their way in and out of this pack depending on the situation, but these are the items that have taken up permanent residence in my daypack.
Update: Well i just noticed that I left off one very important item that I just found in the front pouch of my pack, and that’s a headlamp. One more item that is always in there.