Day 1

Going Backpacking? Bring the right gear and supplies with you to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip

It’s my birthday next week so a couple of my buddies and I are going on a backpacking trip this weekend. I thought I could take this opportunity to talk about the gear that I will need. We could possibly find ourselves in weather as cold as 15°F so I want to make sure I have the right equipment, or else things can go south really fast.

With it being so cold, I want to make sure I bring plenty of clothing that will keep me warm through the night. First and foremost, I need a good sleeping bag, one that is at least rated for 0°F. Luckily, I already have one of those so step one is out of the way. Next on the list would be to pack a reliable tent. A tent can help in the retention of heat, which any little bit will help in this case. I have an old tent but it’s not designed for backpacking, so it’ll take a lot of room in my pack. I think for a trip like this though, I will be fine because we plan not to hike too far, so we plan on making a couple of trips to the car.

Next would be to dress warmly. Wear layers, thicker clothing, headwear, and good boots. A lot of heat is lost from your head, so it is important to cover your head with something like a beenie. Wear 2 large coats or at least have 2 for sleeping at night just in case. I plan to also pack a couple of blankets as insurance.

The last thing I need to prepare to keep myself warm is to be able to have a fire, this includes being able to get one started and maintain the fire. It’s springtime so we’ll likely encounter mostly wet wood and kindling, so we’ll need to find dry fuel for the fire. For that, I found that looking in well-covered areas and elevated off the ground is the best chance to find dry wood. Bonus points for dead trees. So long as we find a spot with plenty of vegetation, we shouldn’t have too much of a problem. I made some homemade firestarters some time ago, basically just egg carton cells with wax and paper in them. They’ll burn for several minutes and produce a decent flame. I also have a ferrocerium rod but I can never get those damn things to work.