Day hike is one of the known practice today in mountaineering. Mountaineering is highly promoted today in metropolis like in Manila, Cebu and Davao due to growing number of curious individuals coming from BPO companies. The few known advantages of day hike is its itinerary friendly approach because the participants need only few hours to finish friendly elevation of a mountain. The second known advantage of day hike is that the participants is not expected to have to carry long inventory of equipment. In a day hike setting the participants needs only few equipment and more stamina.
This post is intended to encourage and remind everyone regarding some neglected stuffs along with the ten essentials. The thin line between bringing and leaving few stuffs will bring us to emergency incidents. It is better to answer the following questions before setting the stuffs for day hike:
- Will it last for more seven hours?
- What is the elevation of the mountain and what will be the possible altitude gain?
- What is the day's weather forecast?
- Is there any river crossing?
- Will there be source of potable water?
- Who will be my companions?
- Is the place known for having network signal?
From this set of questions we can now start assessing the list of the equipment.
Beyond the daypack, water bottle, trail food, wind breaker jacket, whistle, first aid kit, survival kit, charged cellphone, garbage bag, extra clothes, extra money and the expected ten outdoor essentials, it is good idea to bring the following stuffs to ensure safety and enjoyable outdoor experience:
1. Tarptent with guy lines. This piece of tarpaulin, a plastic or nylon sheet will be the reliable lightweight shelters for sunny day rest stop or even in emergency situations. Beside its lighter weight, one of the main advantages of tarp tent is that it can be set up very quickly.
2. Rain poncho. Due to unpredictability of the weather pattern today, it is a good habit to bring lightweight but watertight material inside the day pack. Even the cheap plastic-made rain poncho will keep the body dry from the rain and most especially preventing one self from hypothermia. Good size of rain poncho is that fits over a daypack. Carrying a military-sized poncho is another means of bringing improvised emergency shelter.
3. Powder fruit juice. This concentrated inside the sachet will give additional sugar to the body. In some incident, powdered juice can also be used to enhance the taste of the water.
4. Pocket knife. This is the most neglected stuff by some "mountaineers." Bringing pocket knife for a lawful activity like mountaineering is allowed by the law of the land. Knife is the only reliable cutting tool for everyone and also good size of this piece of metal will give us flexible tool that can be used for nearly anything. A knife can give anyone extra confidence and at the same time gives comfort in doing some task. This could also enhances ones ability to survive in any emergency situation. Good knife could enhance the survival skills like cordage making, snares making, and shaping sticks to create new tools.
5. Paracord. Real paracord can carry load up to 550 pounds because of its seven strong nylon cord that each cord is made of several smaller woven stands, which all wrapped in a flexible outer braided nylon wrapper. Carrying ten feet or more of paracord could be used for guide rope, replacement for a broken shoestring and reliable tool for lashing in building temporary shelter to sleep over in case of emergency. As an advise, if you will buy paracord bracelet, make it as of emergency tool and not just an accessory or "pangporma." Thus, the paracord should be quick deploy/ release and the buckle is made of a whistle.
6. Packed Lunch. The nutrients of this food prepared at home should not be compromised to trail food or energy bars. Keeping this food safe in a plastic container will give us sufficient nutrients to finish the trek. Also, having this inside the backpack will give us the assurance of surviving a day without foraging.
7. Alcohol. This is one of the items inside the first aid kit but bring at least 100ml. More of this volatile liquid could be a fuel for aluminum can alcohol stove which eliminates need for denatured alcohol. Some brands of isopropyl and ethyl alcohol in 70 percent concentration burns but not that like with denatured alcohol, this is because of the water content.
8. Piece of Paper and Pencil. In the absence of the battery life of our camera and cellphone this two items will be the best partner for documentation.
As conclusion, it is better for us mountaineers to be reminded with Al Alvarez quote, which states that, "The pleasure of risk is in the control needed to ride it with assurance so that what appears dangerous to the outsider is, to the participant, simply a matter of intelligence, skill, intuition, coordination... in a word, experience. Climbing in particular, is a paradoxically intellectual pastime, but with this difference: you have to think with your body. Every move has to be worked out in terms of playing chess with your body. If I make a mistake the consequences are immediate, obvious, embarrassing, and possibly painful. For a brief period I am directly responsible for my actions. In that beautiful, silent, world of mountains, it seems to me worth a little risk."