In addition to our 12 Trails of Christmas this holiday season, we are giving you bonus blog posts to accompany videos from our Ambassadors and Staff. Today Ambassador Lori shows us what’s in her pack.

That question always comes up when I’m hiking. I take my big pack with me even on the shortest hikes. It changes from spring/summer season to fall/winter season slightly. I always make sure that I have the required ten essentials.

What are those, you might be thinking? If you google it, most will tell you:

1. Headlamp/flashlight
2. Signaling Device
3. Extra clothing
4. Fire starter
5. Pocket Knife
6. Shelter
7. Water and food
8. First Aid
9. Navigation
10. Communications

Let’s look at these ten essentials a little more.

1. Headlamp/flashlight – I carry both and extra batteries. I also check them before heading out on my trip to make sure they are working. Glow-sticks are good to have as well.

2. Signaling device – a Fox 40 whistle is good. When in trouble blow three short consecutive blows as this means SOS.

3. Extra clothing – I have an extra puffy jacket that folds very small. I also have an extra pair of socks and something to layer. These items can tuck away inside your puffy jacket to fold up small. I also would put them in a dry sack or zip lock bag to keep them dry.

4. Matches/flint – make sure they’re waterproof. If you’re bring flint practice using it prior to going out so you know how to.

5. Knife – get a very good quality knife and keep it on the outside of your pack.

6. Shelter – you can get a large orange garbage bag and cut a hole in the top for your face. If you must spend the night in the wilderness put this over yourself and tuck your pants into your socks. This will keep you warm and dry and keep the bugs from crawling inside your pants.

7. Water and extra food – I carry lots of extra bars, nuts, seeds…You can carry water purifier pills as well.

8. First-aid supplies – add blister band aids, duct tape, Advil and Benadryl (in case of severe bug bites).

9. Navigation – A compass is great but make sure you know how to use it. Maps, GPS or phone apps that track for you. I also take pictures of the trail along the way to help me find my way back.

10. Communication and cell phone – Consider SPOT or InReach. Keep everything in a dry sack. Carry extra battery phone chargers. You can also put it on airplane mode to save the charge. Try walking around to see if you get a signal if you’re in trouble.

Some other must have’s in my pack are rope, trekking poles (I have the ones that fold up real small), gaiters (if not wearing them), MICROspikes (I have Kahtoola’s; it’s the best money spent), camera, gloves, extra hat, sunscreen and bug spray.

You may want or think of some other comforts from home but remember you have to carry it so keep it on the light side so you’ll be happy while staying safe.

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