Northwest Pearls: The 10 Essentials

The 10, no, 11 Essentials for Hiking

I went to a talk by a Search and Rescue organization leader and he talked about what ten 10 essentials you should carry on you no matter the hike. Here’s what he said the ten (plus one) essentials are:

  1. Navigation: A map and compass
  2. Sun Protection: Sunglasses and sunscreen
  3. Extra clothing
  4. Headlamp
  5. First aid kit
  6. Fire starting gear
  7. Food/nutrition
  8. Water
  9. Tools
  10. Insulation and tarp (so you’re not sitting on the cold ground. And so you can stay warm.)
  11. Fully charged cell phone and a portable charger

I will admit, I don’t own a compass. But it’s on my list to get after this talk. And while I rarely have a physical map on hikes, I do usually take a screenshot of the map online before going out. I’ve always got sunglasses with me, but I don’t bring sunscreen. It’s something that I’ll start to store in my pack for when I go out.

I will bring my headlamp, and it’s a fine one for now, but at some point I’d like to invest in a better one. I don’t have a real first aid kit, I’ll usually just bring a few basics when I go out like chafing cream and bandages, but I’ve been looking around at REI and have been trying to decide between the Adventure Medical Kits UltraLight/Watertight .5 First-Aid Kit and the Adventure Medical Kits UltraLight/Watertight .7 First-Aid Kit.

For fire-starting gear I’ll either get a strike lighter or some waterproof matches. I always carry extra food and water, and my Swiss Army Knife, but I may also get a simple Swiss Army Knife to keep in the first-aid kit, just in case. And finally, I’m going to get this survival blanket for insulation.

I use my phone for pictures on hikes and can really run the battery down. I try to take a portable charger with me, but it keeps on getting misplaced, and on top of that, the battery doesn’t hold a charge like it used to.

I’m also going to get a mirror and a whistle for my pack.

All of this will add some weight and bulk to my pack, but it’ll completely be worth it if I need it.

What are your favorite hiking basics?

Northwest Pearls: Reading List: Wild

Reading List: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

I picked up Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed. I’m not sure exactly why I picked it up. Maybe to better understand some friends who have done, or want to do thru-hiking.

I understand grief. I’ve gone through it. I know it changes you as a person. There are moments when I kinda of consider doing what Strayed did. Heck, after reading that she did it, I realized that I could do it. But I shouldn’t. And I’d be slightly more moderate. And prepared.

Strayed makes poor decisions. She overpacks her pack. Doesn’t train.

She just gets her stuff and goes on a potentially deadly journey. A journey that’s deadly to even the prepared. She was extremely lucky and fortunate on the trail when if she hadn’t had good fortune, she wouldn’t have made it.

I’d heard that the book is polarizing but I don’t entirely see how you could love it. In some ways I can see how it’s empowering. But I don’t think that one should be empowered to go on a journey like that with so little preparation. It’d be an entirely different story if she’d prepared and trained through her grief to do it instead of choosing it and being lucky. I’d be a lot more impressed with her if that’s what had happened.

To be slightly fair, a coworker of mine attended a talk by Strayed and wasn’t expecting much based on the book. She was very pleasantly surprised by Strayed which encouraged me.

Even though I finished it, it’s not a book I’d recommend. She annoyed me as a character/person and made unwise decisions that exasperated me.

What are your opinions of the book?

How to Layer Clothes for Hiking

When you’re hiking, you want to layer so you can shed layers, or add them, as you need to. You don’t want to be stuck with one heavy layer that’s too warm as you’re going uphill.

You want to have a synthetic, moisture wicking base-layer. I have one from Costco that does the job, but I’m looking at getting something like this REI Co-op shirt when it’s time for a new one. In the summer I’m usually fine in a loose synthetic running tank top I have.

My next layer is a fleece mid-layer. I use my Patagonia Better Sweater, but there are lots of different types of fleece options out there. I looked at a few brands, Columbia, Arc’teryx, and The North Face, but Patagonia fit me best.

If it’s cold enough, I’ll even have another insulating layer. For now I’ve been using The North Face Summit Series jacket. I have a version that’s about four years old but here’s the current The North Face Summit L3 Down Jacket. I’d really like to get The North Face ThermoBall Insulated Full-Zip Jacket.

And on the outside, I have my water-resistant hard shell. This is usually my Arc’teryx Beta Lt. Hybrid Rain Jacket. It’s a pretty great jacket and I love it for backpacking and hiking. And it’s on sale as of this post being published! I really wanted my jacket to be made of Gore-Tex® and I loved that this had a detached collar so I could have the collar up but not the hood on, when I needed it. And you want to make sure you size this so you can fit your other layers under it.

For my other “layers” I have my wool running socks. I actually don’t think I’ve ever used them for running, but I use them for every hike I go on. While my favorite running socks are the Balega Hidden Comfort ones, they’re too short for me for hiking as mud and rocks will get in them. So my wool Smartwool and Feetures socks work better because they’re higher.

My next sock purchase will be these Darn Tough socks. A friend of mine raves about the brand and because I’d like a higher pair of wool socks, I’m planning on getting these next so I can try them out and see if they’re worth the hype.

You also want wool or synthetic underwear, and not cotton.

As you can tell, all of my technical layers are upperbody. I have some wool thermal pants I wear under a pair of running pants on cold days, but I do need a pair of water-resistant or waterproof hiking pants for winter and rainy hikes. When it’s warm enough, I’m usually just in running pants or capris.

And remember to size your layers so you can fit other things under them if you need to.

Do you have any layering suggestions?

Northwest Pearls: Guillemot Cove

Guillemot Cove and the Stump House

On The Outbound Collective website, I found a trail with a stump house at the Guillemot Cove Nature Preserve. A friend an I drove out there on what happened to be a sunny day to see the stump and the beautiful view of the Olympics.

It’s out near the town of Seabeck and situated on the water. It’s an easy trail but there were a few tight squeezes between trees. There was a family with a stroller in front of us and they ended up carrying the stroller because it couldn’t get down the trail. Also, when we went, it was incredibly wet. I wore my waterproof L.L. Bean Thinsulate boots which worked fine. I wouldn’t have been comfortable in anything that wasn’t waterproof; there were parts that were impassable without going through water.

But we made it to the stump house and it was so cool! Parts of the roof are made with newer wood, I had thought it would be all old, but either it’s a new stump house, or it’s been upkept with newer materials.

Northwest Pearls: Guillemot Cove

Northwest Pearls: Guillemot Cove

 

And I’d hoped to see the Olympics from the beach, but the clouds covered all but one or two peaks. While disappointing, the sun was still out for us and we had fun walking around the beach. I’d love to go back out some clear, sunny day and see the view then.

Northwest Pearls: Guillemot Cove

Northwest Pearls: Guillemot Cove

Northwest Pearls: Guillemot Cove

Northwest Pearls: Guillemot Cove

Northwest Pearls: Guillemot Cove

Northwest Pearls: Guillemot Cove

Do you have any unique local adventures to recommend?