Doug Goodman

Texas Horror Writer. Cadaver Dog Handler.

Doug's Blog

Ten Essentials and Daypacks

Posted by douggoodman on March 1, 2010 at 7:17 PM

In a few weeks I am going camping with some families.  It is an annual activity, and is a great way to expand comfort zones.  (No pun intended.) 


I was thinking that this time of year when people begin to think of teh outdoors (especially after such a harsh winter) is a good time to go back through our kids' daypacks and see what is in there.  If you are like me, you tell your child to carry some bug repellent and maybe a flashlight and a candy bar or gatorade.  While that is better than nothing, there are many scenarios that could happen to a couple of kids hiking in the woods, and that meager list only helps with a couple of them. 


I have found some websites that provide what are called "ten essentials" lists - the top ten things they believe everybody should take with them in the woods.  The problem I run into is that, like most things search and rescue, the focus is mountain terrain.  There is a good reason for that, but I think people in non-mountainous areas need to just as diligent in evaluating the lists and determining what works best for their region.  So I took the lists I have seen and modified them some to correlate for southeast Texas:  often hot, very humid, often raining. 


Some of these items are more “parental” in my mind – for the amount of camping we are doing, I’m not sure every child needs a space blanket, multi-tool, and iodine tablet in their daypack.  But that's not to say it wouldn't hurt, or mine won't. 


1. Clothing:

– Appopriate to the weather/activity

– Poncho


2. First Aid Kit: Band-aids, Neosporin, Epinephrine shot for people allergic to bees, etc.


3. Nutrition/Hydration:

– Don’t underestimate water needs in Texas.  Stay hydrated.

– Iodine tablets

– Snack


4. Flashlight


5. Navigation:

– GPS and/or maps

– Compass*

(*When you are lost in the woods is not the time to learn to use a compass.)


6. Skin Protection: SPF 30/45 or higher; hat; bug repellant (with DEET*)

(*I have used as high as 100% DEET.  My word of caution is that it will put temporary stain marks on your clothes.  However, I also one time was doing some compass work in a backwoods area.  The place was swarming with mosquitoes, and I had 100% DEET on.  The Mosquitoes were still getting at me, but they wouldn't touch the DEET.)


7. Fire-starting materials*

– Lighter

– Waterproof matches/firestarter

(*There is a lot of controversy over fire starting materials.  Some people advocate lighters.  Others believe lighters are destined to fail, so take matches instead.  Me, I fall between.  Take the lighter, but always have a backup.)


8. Repair Kits

– Multi-tool

– Duct tape


9. Emergency Shelter: Space blanket


10. Signal– Whistle

Categories: Camping/Hiking

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