Certain gear deserves space in every pack. A climber may not need every item on every trip, but essential gear can be a lifesaver in an emergency. When venturing into the outdoors, plan for the worse and always be prepared.
The best known list that is essential to any outdoor trip is know as The 10 essentials. The point of the 10 essentials list has always been to help answer two basic questions: First, can you respond positively to an accident or emergency? Second, can you safely spend the night out (or more)? A more detailed look at the 10 essentials should put things into perspective.
Climbers must carry the tools and posses the skills required to know where they are and how to get to the objective and back. Reading a map is a skill that requires practice. For beginner with limited experience venturing on a marked trail and lack experience in map navigation and reading, it is suggested to do some homework beforehand.
You can use google maps to understand the terrain and trail ahead of you. Make a print out of the area you are hiking in and mark the trail on paper along with land marks for simple navigation. Mark the the printed map with compass direction to know North and West and navigate accordingly. More importantly note down closest hospital and police station should you run into emergency. Alternatively with a little practice best practice would be using a global positioning system (GPS) receiver and simply follow the marked route.
2. Sun Protection
Always carry and wear sunglasses, sunscreen for skin and lips and clothing for sun protection and clothing for sun protection.
A. Sun glasses. Ultraviolet rays can penetrate cloud layers to do not let a cloudy condition fool you into leaving your eyes unprotected. It is advisable to wear sunglasses when ever you use sunscreen. Both are necessary to wear in snow, ice, water and high altitude. In our local rocky region it is mostly advisable to use as sun is strong. In a rocky environment most of the walls look the same so it is advisable to use sun glasses to have a better vision when look for a trail on a sunny day. For everyday adventure is advisable to use Category 3 sunglasses and for high altitude and snow it is advisable to use category 4.
B. Sunscreen. Skin products containing sunscreen are vital to climbers’ well being in mountains. The penalty for underestimating the protection needed is so severe and could cause high degree burns. To protect your skin from UV rays, use sunscreen with sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. It is preferable to use a sunscreen that blocks both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB).
Apply sunscreen to all exposed skin, including the undersides of your chin and nose and the inside of nostrils and ears. Even if you are wearing a hat, apply sunscreen to all exposed parts of your face and neck to protect against reflection. Apply sunscreen had an hour before exposure to sun, because they usually take time to start working.
Lips burn too and require protection from to prevent peeling and blisters. Reapply lip protection frequently, especially after eating and drinking.
Offers more sun protection than sunscreen. Wind garments are frequently worn on sunny glaciar climbs the same way long breathable garments are frequently worn in the desert. Some UPF rated garments are designed to maximise ventilation are meant for use in hot weather. Columbia Sports Wear offers some of best garment technologies to keep outdoor enthusiast well protected.
Omni-Shade offers ultimate protection through a breathable moisture-wicking fabric and reflective dots that deflect sunlight so you feel cooler and stay protected. It also blocks UVA and UVB rays to help prevent sunburn and long-term skin damage.
How much extra clothing is necessary for an emergency? Besides the basic climbing outfit required for a certain outdoor activity, the term “Extra Clothing” refer to additional layers that would be needed for surviving the long, inactive hours of an unplanned bivouac or emergency shelter.
The best way to find out what “extra clothing’ to pack is by answer the following question: What is needed to survive the worst conditions that could realistically be encountered on this trip?
For colder conditions, an extra base layer can add much warmth while adding little weight to a pack. Also, packing an extra hat or balaclava can provide more warmth for their weight than any other article of clothing.
One of the best outdoor practice is to always carry a headlight or flashlight whenever venturing into the outdoors even if the climbing party plan to return to their cars before dark. It is a safety precaution as you never know what you might run into and it is always better to be prepared.
Lights very greatly in their brightness. In general, brighter illumination consumes more battery power. So keep that in mind when planning your next climb and make sure you carry extra batteries. Most climbers prefer headlight over flash lights as they allow more freedom of both hands making it a more convenient choice. Best choice for a flash light is the one that offers durable switch that cannot turn on accidentally in the pack, moisture/rain proof and adjustable light beam.
5. First Aid Kit
Never venture into the outdoors without a first aid kit. More importantly one must know how to use it. However the best course of action is to always take steps necessary to avoid injury or sickness in the first place. The first aid kit should be compact and sturdy. At minimum, a first aid kit should include gauze pads in various sizes, roller gauze, small adhesive bandages, butterfly and triangular bandages, adhesive tape, scissors, cleanser or soap, latex cloves and paper and a pencil – to note down the injury situation and hand it to paramedics upon their arrival.
Carry the means to start and sustain an emergency fire. Fire starters are indispensable for igniting wet wood quickly to make an emergency campfire. A popular trick is to dip cotton balls in petroleum based oils such as Vaseline. When lighting the dipped cotton balls the petroleum lists longer giving time to start a small fire then feeding it with twigs and light a bigger fire.
7. Repair Kit and Tools
Knives are so useful in first aid kit, food preparation, repair and climbing that it is almost essential for every party to carry one. Other tools like screwdrivers, scissors etc can be part of a multi pocket tool. Other useful repair items such as shoelaces, needle and thread, duck tape, cable ties etc can come in handy as a temporarily solution to repair gear.
For shorter trips, a one day supply of extra food is reasonable emergency stockpile incase of delay in return caused by foul weather, faulty navigation, injury etc. Best practice is packing food that requires no cooking, be easily digestible and store well for long periods. A combination of jerky, nuts, candy, dried fruits and granola bars work well. Energy gels are also very common and useful to give you that added boost when needed.
Perhaps the most important necessity when venturing into the outdoors in this region. The harsh conditions of being exposed to the sun in a rocky terrain with almost not shade highly affects a climbers performance and can cause serious injury such as heat stroke. This hajjar/rocky mountains hold no water source meaning climbers have to carry enough water to last them the whole journey. In hot weather or at altitude, 5L of water may not be enough. It helps to carry electrolights/hydration drink tablets which keep you hydrated and magnesium tablets to deal with cramps and give muscle support and energy metabolism.
10. Emergency Shelter
Always carry some sort of extra shelter from rain or wind such as a jumbo plastic trash bag or reflective emergency blanket can also be used in administering first aid to an injured or hyperthermic person.