All mountain climbers know that a well-packed backpack can mean the difference between an amazing climb and a disastrous event. Before going on any mountain climbing excursion, climbers should have a solid checklist of essentials from which to organize supplies. It is easy to forget “the little things,” though some of those things may prove extraordinarily vital to a trip. Here are the top six essential items for mountain climbing adventures.
1. Food and hydration. Whether you are going on a weeklong expedition or a day hike, it is best to have with you high calorie foods such as nuts, fruit, and dried meats. Water is extremely important to have. Always make sure you bring a bit more than what you think is “enough.”
2. Footwear and clothing. Always bring boots made especially for mountaineering, and make sure your boots are water-resistant and provide good traction. Important clothing items include weather-repellent jacket and pants.
3. Shelter. Shelter is an obvious necessity for those going on expeditions, but even some day hikers like to pack some shelter materials, just in case you do end up in a situation when spending the night in the woods is the only option. Shelter items include quality tents and sleeping bags.
4. Technical gear. This includes things like helmets, ropes, and other safety and climbing utility items.
5. Emergency kit. This often includes basic things like large and small bandages, matches, anti-septic ointments, anti-inflammatory medication, allergy relief remedies, tweezers, and tools like a Swiss army knife. If you are unsure of what all to include in your kit, it is easy to buy pre-packed emergency kits, which come with all the essentials.
6. Backpack. A comfortable, quality backpack is an absolute essential. Most climbers today prefer internal frame backpacks which allow for more unencumbered movement while climbing. Aside from holding all your other essential items, backpacks can help with some convenience issues, such as easy access to your water supply.
Jason Hanold is a mountain climbing enthusiast as well as a member of the Board of Directors of Big City Mountaineers, a non-profit organization that offers mentoring to urban youth in the form of outdoor education.