Top 10 Things to Carry With You

What you pack in with you can mean the difference from a successful journey and a bad day. Even though the crucible hike is a fully supported hike, you will still have to go hours between checkpoints so packing properly is vital. Below is a list of supplies that are easily carried and can be indispensable on the trail:

1) A good pair of wool socks / clothing
Wool is a fantastic material, it’s natural fiber properties suit you well on the trail. The hollow fibers wick moisture away from the skin allowing evaporation and aiding in cooling. The fabric dries very quickly as well unlike cotton that can stay damp for hours and cause you to lose too much heat and cause skin irritation on your feet. Wool fabric doesn’t retain odor, which after 3 days of hiking is appreciated. A thicker knit also aide in friction reduction so blisters are less likely to form. A light weigh rain jacket may be appropriate if storms are in the forecast to help keep you dry.

2) A supportive pair of boots
A good pair of hiking boots is going to keep you going. The stiff sole will help your stride be more efficient and help carry the extra weight from you pack. The grippe soles will help keep traction on the rugged terrain preventing slips and possible fall injuries. The high top boot will provide protection from brush and rocks as well as add support to your ankles.

3) Sandal/plastic camp shoe
As important as a good boot is a light weight airy shoe for the camp site. This allows your shoes and more importantly your feet to dry out while you get dinner and set up camp.

4) Bandana / camp towel
This is one of the most utilitarian items in my bag. It can be used as a hat to keep sweat out of your eyes. Wet it and put it around your neck and it can be used as a towel to help cool you off. Roll it up and it’s a bandage. Cover your water bottle opening with it and it’s a coarse filter prior to treating your water with iodine tablets.

5) Bug spray
Bugs are not only annoying, they can also spread diseases like Lyme and rocky mountain spotted fever. Think about saving space and get sun block with bug repellant in with it.

6) Multi tool
MacGyver could get out of any situation with his trusty Swiss Army knife a roll of string and a paper clip. While there was a lot of creative licensure taken with the plot lines of this show, the fact remains that a good multi tool can save your butt on the trail. From making tinder for a fire and cutting rope for a splint, to fixing gear and striking flint this tool has many uses.

7) Communication plan
If no one knows what is expected no one can come find you. Wile self rescue is still the best way to get to safety, making a plan, sticking to it, and letting others know your plan can aid in a bad situation before you head out on the trail make sure at least two people know your travel plans, when you will be back, the route you plan on taking and what you have packed for. In the case of an injury or getting lost this information will aid rescuers and speed along the search process.

8) Med supplies
Carry any meds you take regularly as well as any emergency medication that you may need like an inhaler or Epipen. Other medications like ibuprofen and antibiotics may be helpful as well depending on the demands of the hike.

9) Sanitary items
Some trails have facilities, others don’t. Be respectful of the environment and pack out what you pack in. A sanitary shovel is useful to take care of business. Remember to be at least 200 feet from a water source or trail.

10) Water
Water is important and carrying everything you kneed for an entire trip may not be practical. Have a refill plan, whether that is a cache drop or filtering as you go. Plan you water stops based on terrain and weather. A backpack with a bladder is large and convent, but can be difficult to refill where as water bottles can be cumbersome and not hold enough so plan carefully. Food is part of this as well. Make sure you have a snack along incase your energy drops. Granola bars and trail mixes offer good energy diversity and density.

Philip Hensler, MS, ATC, LAT. PES, EMT-B
UPMC Sports Medicine