- Bring a compass, GPS, or map (in water proof bag). Pay attention to the sky - know how to read the sun and the stars - I'm not referring to astrology here.
- Light - headlamp, or flashlight with extra batteries and bulb.
- Expect snow - even in the summer.
- Bring extra clothes - layer, get some waterproof clothing, invest in fibres that wick the moisture off your body. Waterproof clothing can be expensive. I've found quite a lot of it in thrift stores. Try there first. Water repellent and water proof are different. Extra socks and gloves in your bag.
- Pocketknife - I have the Victorinox Swiss Arm Camper knife. It's indispensable. I love this knife and never leave out on a trip without it.
- Extra water - yes, it can be heavy when you're hiking but it's paramount to your survival. I'll tote a few extra ounces if it could save my life. Make sure your companions have their own. You don't want to end up like a those dudes in the Western movies laying in the desert with only one canteen and the last drop.
- Extra food - energy bars, nuts, dried fruit
- Tell someone where you're going - leave a note in your car, on your Facebook status, voice mail
- Firestarter (flint) and candle
- Matches in a waterproof bag
- First aid - keep it stocked. You should have one in your car, one in your house and a compact one you carry with you. Even better - make a New Years Resolution to take a First Aid course.
- Cell phone - I only have a Pay As You Go and load it when I'm going on a road trip or hike.
- Set out early - in the winter months it gets dark as early as 3:30 - you'll get disoriented once the sun goes down.
- Never go down a gully - I was lost for hours after I stupidly went down a gully while snowboarding on Big White. I finally ended up on a logging road. Thankfully, it was still light out and the cougar tracking me was only in my mind - I hope.
15 tips that could save your life
Being somewhat of a conspiracy theorist I always expect the worst and am therefore prepared for the worst - it's really simple logic but that's another blog post. If you're heading out for an hour ramble in the car or a 12 hour hike in the back country be prepared. I've been known to turn around on hikes with friends that sporadically become a little longer than what we're prepared for. Better safe than sorry.
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