|CHS Essential Hiking Gear|
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The Ten Essential Systems
Illumination - Bring along that flashlight or headlamp (and extra batteries); you may be delayed getting off the trail, and it's a lot easier with a light source. The benefit of the headlamp is that it leaves your hands free to use to use trekking poles, see a compass or administer first aid in the dark. Navigation - Map and compass are required as well. If you don't know how to use them, take a class (see Go-Guide - Seattle Navigation or http://mountaineers.org/scriptcontent/default.cfm?insert=act_navigation) or ask some of your more experienced hiking companions to demonstrate. Hydration - Bring plenty of water - at least a quart of water for a five mile trip, more for a longer trip. Nutrition - Bring plenty of food to fuel those working muscles and keep your body warm and comfortable. Sun Protection - Sunglasses and sunscreen to protect your eyes from bright sunlight or reflection off of snow and glaciers. A broad-brimmed hat and loose-fitting lightweight clothing with long sleeves and long pants legs can also help prevent sunburn. First-aid Kit - Containing items for treating common trail injuries such as cuts, scrapes, blisters, etc. Repair Kit and Tools - A pocket knife is handy for many uses such as preparing lunch, cutting bandages, preparing a fire, etc. Extra shoelaces, a bit of duct tape wrapped around a water bottle or trekking ple and perhaps some safety pins. Fire - Waterproof matches and fire starter to start an emergency fire. Insulation - Bring along extra clothing. Remember you lose 3-5 degrees of temperature for every 1,000 feet of elevation gain. Remember the layering system for staying comfortable: base layer (against your skin to wick away moisture), insulation layer (to trap warm air near your body), and shell layer (when needed for protection against wind and/or rain).
The Ten Essentials are required on all trips, plus a pack, lunch, water, adequate clothing (jeans are inappropriate) and hiking footwear. It is Mountaineers' policy that leaders leave inadequately clothed or shod hikers, or unprepared hikers at the trail head.
You can wear trail runners or low hikers on CHS hikes. If over-the-ankle boots are required on a particular hike for whatever reason, this will be listed on the Hike Schedule and in the description. Leaders will use their judgment and their knowledge of the trail in requiring certain footwear. You risk being turned away from the hike if you do not arrive properly shod.
Plan for the unexpected. Bring rain gear; it will rain when you least expect it. Bring a pack big enough to carry all your gear comfortably. Wear waterproof boots; trails often have stream crossings or are muddy. Should someone get injured, or your return delayed, you'll be glad you are carrying all your essentials.
The case against jeans: Denim is a dense cotton fabric which retains moisture far beyond other types of fabric (what's the last item of clothing out of the clothes dryer?). Should your jeans get wet on a hike, they will take a very long time to dry and extract a lot of heat from your limbs while doing so. You could even become a victim of hypothermia. In the summer, they can chafe your legs. Jeans are considered unacceptable wear on Mountaineer hikes.