A well-stocked survival kit while hiking can be the difference between life and death.
If you are planning a light day hike, there are certain essentials you should carry with you. The trick is to bring what you need without being overburdened. For starters, you'll need a day pack or large fanny pack; good, broken-in hiking boots or trail shoes; and socks that don't chafe (thin synthetic socks or liners under hiking socks are a good choice). You'll want to wear comfortable clothes, such as long pants with removable "legs" that can be transformed into shorts. Leave the cotton at home; it stays wet from sweat and rain, which can contribute to hypothermia.
Here is a list of other items you'll need in your survival kit:
A compass - this may seem unnecessary for a light day hike, but this small, lightweight item can help if you become lost or disoriented.
First aid kit - fill a small zippered, waterproof pouch, bag, or daypack pocket with band-aids, moleskin, first-aid tape and ointment, an ace bandage, mosquito repellent, a snake bite kit, and aspirin.
Flashlight or headlamp and extra bulbs/batteries - you may get caught on the trail after dark or need to signal for help.
Food - for an all day hike, you'll need a lunch, plus several snacks. Energy bars and gels are lightweight and keep you going. Other options that don't weigh a lot or take up a lot of room in your pack are tortillas or pita bread, dry salami or jerky, string cheese, fruit leather, small bags of baby carrots, and small boxes of raisins or other dried fruit.
A map - even if you know the trail, a map is a lightweight item that can help you locate water sources, and an exit route or place to camp in case of an emergency.
Rain gear and extra clothing - the weather can change rapidly, particularly at high elevations. Lightweight rain gear can be stuffed in a pack (the best folds up into itself to make a compact "package"). Long underwear (capilene or another high-tech, fast drying, sweat-wicking fabric) is lightweight but adds warmth. A fleece or other lightweight hat keeps body heat from escaping through your head.
Sunscreen, sunglasses, and a sun hat - again, the weather can change. Plus, you can get sunburned on a cloudy day - especially at high elevations and where there is snow. Sunglasses are especially important in snowy areas to prevent snowblindedness. A well-ventilated, lightweight sun hat with a brim can provide enough shade to keep you from overheating and provide further protection against sunburn.
A swiss army knife or multi-purpose tool - the best ones have scissors, tweezers, small screwdriver, can opener, and knives in various sizes.
Waterproof/windproof matches in a sealed container or ziploc bag - in an emergency, a fire can prevent hypothermia and can be used to signal for help.
Water/water filter - hiking guides recommend a minimum of one liter per person per day of hiking. However, the minimum is increased to up to one gallon per person in hot, dry areas and during the summer months. Carrying a gallon of water in heavy water bottles is cumbersome; options include a hydration system that you wear like a backpack with a tube that you drink from while walking, or you can carry a water filter if there are water sources on your route and purify drinking water along the way. Never drink untreated water even if it looks clean.
These other items are optional, but can be useful if you have room in your pack and/or don't mind the extra weight:
Extra socks - a fresh pair of socks can energize you for the return trip.
Field guides - bird books, wild edible plant guides, tree guides, etc.
Gaiters - these can be useful if your hike takes you through snow, especially on a warm day when you are wearing shorts.
Gloves - a pair of lightweight, capilene or wool gloves can come in handy if the weather turns cold.
Mosquito netting - a piece of netting to wear over your head and cover your face can mean the difference between a miserable day and a tolerable one.
Notebook and pen or pencil.
A tarp - this can be used to sit on if the ground is wet, to build a shelter to sleep under, and as additional protection from bad weather.
Trekking poles - these provide added stability and balance. Telescoping poles are fairly lightweight and can be stored in your pack when not needed.
Ziploc bags - a couple of these thrown into your pack always come in handy for packing out trash, storing leftover food, and a number of other uses.
Shoe Sizes of the World Why They Aren't the Same Everywhere
Shoe sizes are so different that some people probably think it is a conspiracy. However, it is only a simple marketing method that encourages customers to be loyal to a specific brand. This is one of the biggest reasons that shoe sizes vary from brand to brand. Shoe sizes also vary from country to country, too. Whenever you plan on purchasing a pair of shoes that were not made in your country, it is always a good idea to check the size of the shoe carefully. If you do not know or understand the differences between sizes you have several options. There is such a thing as an international shoe size conversion chart. This will tell you what size you wear in almost any country. Also, if you are still uncertain about converting your shoe size, you can always visit a reputable shoe store. Larger department stores and specialty shoe stores and boutiques, usually train their sales associates on converting shoe sizes. Most would be more than happy to help you find your correct size in the shoes you are searching for.
When shopping for shoes, there is no need to worry about variations in shoe sizes. Whether you are asking a sales associate for help, or looking at the size conversion chart, you can always find the correct size for your feet. One thing can make shoe shopping easier, especially if it is international shoe shopping is to make use of an international shoe size conversion chart. Some of the countries represented on shoe conversion charts are Mexico, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Brazil and the United States. Using the shoe size conversion chart can help you determine what size you will wear if you are purchasing shoes overseas.
Most businesses know that most people are not willing to pay international shipping for shoes that may not fit. Therefore, most companies reach the local shoe consumers within their region. However, there are many people that enjoy the luxury of a fine Italian shoe. Some people collect shoes from all over the world, especially during travel. If you are traveling and wish to purchase shoes while you are away, consider packing a shoe-sizing chart. This is especially helpful if you decide to enter a series of countries, such as an extended trip through Europe, where sizing will vary.
Shoe sizing also varies because many shoes are handmade to custom to fit a person's individual foot. This is especially true for very expensive shoes bought in other countries. Many people prefer the fit and feel of custom-made shoes. Most big shoe companies try to stay as close to the standard shoe sizes of their native country as possible. However, the sizes always vary slightly, because the shoe styles are different as well. An athletic shoe might vary by a half size or more in comparison to dress shoes or heels.
When looking at shoes, it is sometimes hard to see the difference in an 8 wide or a 9 narrow shoe. This, as well as the process of making shoes requires much time, patience and skill. In fact, there are many people go to school to earn four year degrees to learn the art of shoe design. Many of these people often go on to design their own line of shoes or work for large shoe companies.
Not everyone who designs shoes earn a degree in that field. There are many people who have a desire to design and construct shoes. These people often start out small, designing and making shoes for their own use and end up starting their own design business. Costume design is also a way that some shoe designers get their start.
New machines and new technology can cause other variances of shoe sizes. Businesses change too, causing shoe sizes to be different. Learn more about world shoe sizes by looking at an online search engine. Type in the phrase world shoe sizes to research shoe size difference and to find shoe-sizing conversion charts.
If you are ready to purchase a new pair of shoes made somewhere else other than your own country, be prepared for the differences in shoe sizes. Many different things including the type of machines that the company uses can cause the differences in shoe sizes. Before buying your next pair of shoes, check your size and compare it to the international shoe size conversion chart or ask a store associate for help in determining the correct size.
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