It's not all coding and Jui-Jitsu for me. I'll be spending the first two weeks of June traveling around Alaska. The plan is for a few days exploring Seward and the Kenai peninsula, then 4 days camping in the backcountry of Denali National Park. Thankfully, this will be one of my first trips unrelated to work in some time. So, packing will be limited to essential gear only.
Given that the Denali backcountry is unmarked, remote, and full of wildlife that can eat you, I'm preparing a little more than I have for previous treks where I've relied on blazed trails, guides, and being the biggest carnivore in the area. (The picture on the left is from the Salkantay Pass at 4,600 meters/15,000 feet on route to Macchu Picchu.)
My daypack kit (a.k.a go bag, ready bag, emergency kit, survival kit, etc.) was already based on the assumption that every day hike can become an unplanned overnight. (I learned that lesson the hard way during my younger days in the Boy Scouts.) To that end, it carried (most of) the Ten Essentials. However upon reviewing my kit, I noticed that my first aid kit had picked clean over the years (only a few band-aids, alcohol wipes, and some Benedryl left), I almost never carried extra food, and — most importantly — I only carried one. Generally, I hike with my wife. So, sharing a single (and deficiently supplied) kit between us may not be the best idea if we where to get separated.
So, based on experience, some research (listed below), and a few of the ready-made kits available through REI, EMS and a few other suppliers, I've complied a list of items for my DIY Backcountry Emergency Kit. It's probably cheaper to buy a ready made kit and add to it. However, building from individual components let me control the quantities and quality of each component and, in some cases, was more cost effective since some items came in packages of two already. Plus, the majority of items are non-perishable and can be used for refills. Really, it's not a big deal if you end up with extra band-aids around the house, is it?
Here's what I came up with. Collectively, it weighs between 1.8 – 2 pounds so, it's a bit on the heavy side for a day hike. I tried figuring out what could be removed without comprimise, but I really couldn't. If you have suggestions, please add comments below.
- Headlamp – with extra batteries (wrap them in electrical tap so they don't touch together and loose their charge)
- Multi-function Tool (with Knife)
- Matches - (in a waterproof case)
- Tinder – (in a waterproof case) dryer lint, cotton balls soaked in petroleum, or store-bought
- Signal Mirror
- Emergency Solar Blanket
- Water Purification (10 Chlorine Dioxide tablets)
- Duct Tape – 50" x 2"
- 550 Parachute Cord (aka Paracord) – 50 ft.
- Insect Repellent w/ DEET – wipes are easier to pack
- Aluminum Foil (Heavy Duty) – 18" x 12"
- Marker (Sharpie)
- Fishing line (30lb) – 100 ft.
- Wire Saw
- Extra Food – Cliff bars or pop-top Tuna cans
- First Aid
- Antibiotic Ointment – CVS sells a box of one-time use packets
- Ibuprofen tablets (10) – look for travel size containers)
- Antihistamine tablets (6) – i.e. Benedryl
- Anti-Diarrhea tablets (4) – i.e. Imodium AD
- Hand salve
- Antiseptic towelettes (10)
- Wound Closure Strips (6) – aka Butterfly bandages
- Band-aids (15)
- 2" gauze pads (5)
- 3" gauze pads (5)
- 2" roller bandage
- 4" roller bandage
- Ace Bandage
- Bandana – can be a tourniquet, sling, water filter (for silt only), sun protection.
- Athletic tape
- Hemostatic Agent/Sponge – QuickClot
- SAM splint
- Latex gloves
- Safety Pins (4)
- Needle and thread
- Fresnel Magnifier
- Fishing kit – 4 hooks, bobber, 2 sinkers
- Brass Wire (22 gauge) 8 ft. – for snares, repairs, etc.
- Camp Stove – this Esbit pocket stove with solid fuel is really small and light
This list assumes you're also carrying
- Topographic map
- Sun Protection – Sunscreen/Sunglasses
- Extra clothing (assume coldest weather for your area, water resistant)
- Water ( 2 liters per person per day)
Hopefully, you find this useful. Again, if you have any question or suggestions, please add to the comments below.
- REI – Ten Essentials - start here
- SAS Survial Handbook – knowledge is a essential part of your "kit"
- Oregon Outside - The 24 Essentials You Need in The Backcountry: The Ready Bag
- Backpacker.com – Homemade First Aid Kit - nice suggestions in the comments
- Backpacker.com – The Ultimate First Aid Manual: What to Pack - also come good ideas in the comments
- REI – Navigation Basics: Map and Compass – no trails means triangulation
- How to Build a Trip Wire Snare - One of the kits mentioned wire snares and I Googled it. Facinating stuff. They didn't teach this when I was a Scout.