What’s in Your Backpack?
Before you lace up your boots, knowwhere you’re going.“Where you go andwhat you can find out about the area is a big factor in howwell you can prepare,”says Bruce Damon, owner and president of NomadVentures. Knowing the terrain andweather, for example,might changewhat you pack.To get started, consider these essentials:
BY ELENA GOMEZ
Water “In Southern California, the biggest thing is to make sure you stay hydrated,” Damon says. An REI guide on hydration suggests that you’ll need about a half liter of water per hour of moderate activity in moderate temperatures. If you use additional water from along your route—even running, seemingly clear sources—you must properly filter and sterilize it. Food If there aren’t many water sources, you’ll need to bring more ready-to-eat foods (nuts, protein bars) instead of freeze-dried meals that need water to cook. Sun Protection Be sure to pack a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to pro- tect yourself from full days in the sun and extra exposure in higher elevations. Navigation Bring a topographic map and compass (and know how to use them). Consider downloading a hiking app as a backup to help you navigate, too. First Aid Kit Prepare for potential injuries with a basic first aid kit—think bandages, gauze, gloves, tweezers, antibiotic ointment, and aspirin. Warm Clothing Bring layers to stay warm when temperatures drop. Consider bringing a puy jacket, a thermal layer, a beanie, and gloves. Fire Source Overnighters will want to bring waterproof matches or a lighter, both for cooking with a camping stove and to stay warm, if campfires are allowed. Shelter A tent or lightweight tarp are good options for campers—or forgo these to sleep under the stars!
Baby Rattlesnakes Aren’t Necessarily More Dangerous This can be a complex one. “Venom composition changes over a ra ler’s life, as do other factors. However, a large snake will have many times more venom than a baby, and more venom equals more problems.”
Safety First! Even “easy” hikes carry inherent risks. Heed all
posted advisories, stay on clearly marked trails, and consider hiking with a buddy, especially if you’re a beginner.
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