The outdoors is always trying to lure us out. Blue skies, sunshine, and great views can suck you out of doors before you know it. Just for a little while, not for long. Except that we know that can often turn into a few hours or a day out. And, on rare occasions, the night out because mistakes were made on directions. Because the unexpected does happen, the answer is a daypack that happens to have what you need for a more lengthy trip out.
I was given a new daypack, a Camelbak Helen 22, and I love it primarily because it has an internal water system so I can sip water easily as I hike. I have resisted trying one, but I learned that I stay hydrated better than having to stop and pull out a water bottle from my trusty old daypack, a Jansport Agave 32. My new daypack also has support that makes it comfortable and it lifts slightly off my back so it is cooler when hiking on a hot day. And because it is a woman’s pack, the straps are designed to fit the shape of a woman’s body. My pack is gray, but it comes in some pretty colors.
To be able to get outside quickly, we keep basic supplies in our daypack and add a few food items on our way out the door. Below is our standard list, and though it looks long, many items are small and not heavy. And while it may seem like a nuisance to accumulate them all, once you do, many of them just live in your pack.
- Water bottle (permanent, non bpf, with a cap that screws on and off so it doesn’t pop off or leak in your pack. All water bottles are not alike! Some exist to make a huge mess in your pack. Or use a pack with a water system like a Camelbak)
- Protein bar (a good one, not a vile one that you will resent eating if it’s a month old)
- Sunscreen and spf chapstick
- Whistle (in the event you are lost or hurt, you will eventually tire of yelling for assistance. A whistle is far more effective anyway)
- Water-resistant or water-proof jacket, or, if expense is an issue, your average large plastic bag can serve a variety of purposes (raincoat, garbage collection, sitting surface)
- Hat (which it’s just as well to park on your head since it will probably be sunny or chilly or otherwise help you out more than living in your pack)
- Small first-ad kit (bandaids, polysporin, tweezers, eye drops, all in a small ziplock bag)
- Pocket knife
- Flashlight (headlamps are best)
- Lighter or matches (if you take matches, put them in your first-aid kit inside the ziplock bag because if they get wet, they won’t work)
- Compass (Particularly if you’re in unfamiliar terrain but even if it’s semi-familiar since something like sideways snow can throw you off-course. And let’s just admit that smartphone cell coverage always disappears when there is the slightest danger of getting lost. Don’t get a tiny cheap compass.)
- Map (unless you’re quite familiar with where you are going, see above.)
- Cash and i.d.
- Phone (which hopefully gives you GPS and a camera!) – still, don’t count on it.
- Sketch pad with pen or pencils, perhaps watercolor supplies (okay, that’s just me, but it really is a great way to justify sitting someplace scenic)
- Thermos for coffee or tea, as well as chocolate (key supplies for sketching, but then again, it depends on what you view as essential. For me, art is essential and besides, if it turns to side-ways snow, you’ll be quite glad to have these for survival purposes).
- Small packets of tissues and wet wipes or a bandanna (I take bandannas)