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#16929 - 07/31/11 04:03 PM What's In Your Pack?
Bulldog34 Offline

Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
After reading and reflecting on the reports of the events on Whitney, and elsewhere in the Eastern Sierra, it got me wondering what other folks carry with them on a day-long hike. Not your neighborhood mountain, necessarily, or Whitney in particular, but a hike that takes you several miles away from any immediate help and into potentially changing weather conditions.

The tried-and-true Ten Essentials from Freedom of the Hills have been the standard for dozens of years, and I used to be religious about ensuring I had all of them. Several thousand miles of hiking in the rearview mirror later, I find that I'm not as detailed as I used to be in some things, and maybe more fussy about others.

For me, a dayhike usually includes:

Trekking poles (I may not always use them, but when you need them you really need them)
Camelbak water bladder (and water filter if necessary)
Extra bottle of water and one Gatorade/Powerade
Varied snacks
Cellphone (you can never tell . . .)
Headlamp and ultra-light emergency flashlight (and spare batteries)
First aid kit (somewhat stripped down to essentials)
Ace bandage (for a sprained ankle or makeshift sling)
Map (but not always, if I'm very comfortable with the area or trail)
Whistle and signal mirror on a lanyard (often in my pack, though)
Multi-tool or Swiss Army knife
Disposable rain poncho
Emergency thermal blanket (you know - the UL Reynolds Wrap version)
Small spiral notebook and pen
Butane lighter
Vitamin I (Ibuprofin)
Extra socks/liners
3 bandanas (minimum)
Extra base layer shirt
Wind/rain shell, ski cap and gloves (when weather is iffy)

Generally speaking, though, most of these items take up surprisingly little space in my daypack. Many items are incorporated into two very small stuff sacks that fit snugly in the main compartment of my aged-but-dependable REI Traverse 30-liter daypack. Minimum gear comes in at about 10 pounds, maximum at about 16. When I want more weight for a heavier workout I drop in a couple of 5-pound ziplok bags of birdseed (can't take credit for that - it was catpappy's idea), or load up my overnight pack with a bunch of birdseed.

So, what's in your pack?

#16930 - 07/31/11 04:22 PM Re: What's In Your Pack? [Re: Bulldog34]
Akichow Offline

Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
Great list. I also carry
-Emergency bivy sack(fancy space blanket),
-Tinder (may or may not carry; depends where I am)
-Windproof matches (butane lighter has problems in cold, so I carry both)

Now that I've had the fun experience of getting a fishhook stuck in my thumb, am thinking of adding a needle to my first aid kit....

Wazzu just reminded me of the 11th essential -- duct tape! I always carry it. Oh yeah, a couple of water purification tablets as backup to my beloved steripen.

#16932 - 07/31/11 04:48 PM Re: What's In Your Pack? [Re: Akichow]
wbtravis Offline

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
What in my pack is predicated on the weather, distance and high point, I always carry enough clothing to make it through night at the highest point in case of illness or injury. When I go for exercise...7 to 9 miles RT, to 8,300', I carry a very light small pack. Most of the weight is water and electrolytes.

When I go out in the winter my day pack can be in excess of 30 pounds on extremely cold days when I am carrying snowshoes, crampons, trekking poles and axe.

A date hike to Mt. Whitney during the summer can get a bit heavy because I will have rain gear, a few extra pieces of gear and enough clothing to survive a night on the summit.

Bulldog, your list is very similar to what I take out during the summer. The bandana thingy is a bit excessive for mostly humidity free SoCal...this weekend being an exception. Also, I stopped carrying an emergency blanket ages ago.

#16935 - 07/31/11 05:05 PM Re: What's In Your Pack? [Re: Akichow]
wazzu Offline

Registered: 06/20/10
Posts: 319
Loc: Orange County, CA
The gear in my pack would look very much like Bulldogs, with the addition of:
rain pants
sierra cup (multiple use item)
lighter & windproof matches
2 ESBIT fuel cubes
trowel (required in some local SoCal mtns to dig cat hole & easier to just leave it in the pack then try to remember where it's optional)
Set of hand warmers
Heat Shield emergency bivy
Light glow stick
Bug net
Small roll of duct tape
Set of extra boot laces (multiple use items)

The first aid kit sometimes includes an instant cold pack.

#16937 - 07/31/11 05:36 PM Re: What's In Your Pack? [Re: Bulldog34]
catpappy Offline

Registered: 03/06/10
Posts: 120
Loc: acworth, ga
Don't forget your TP and camera.


#16939 - 07/31/11 05:53 PM Re: What's In Your Pack? [Re: catpappy]
Brent N Offline

Registered: 01/20/11
Posts: 278
Loc: Orange County, CA
first aid kit (with snall notebook, pencil, needle and painkillers)
duct tape on my trekking poles
about 30 feet of rope
water bladder
empty gatorade bottle
spacy bivy
if possibility of rain DriDucks (lightweight waterproof pants and jacket)
small pocket knife
signal mirror
bug net/deet
map, compass and maybe GPS
lightweight skull cap (think beanie)
if gaining a lot of elevation, I might bring along a lightweight down jacket and pants which could double as a bag with my space bivy

#16940 - 07/31/11 06:11 PM Re: What's In Your Pack? [Re: catpappy]
wazzu Offline

Registered: 06/20/10
Posts: 319
Loc: Orange County, CA
TP - the 11th essential...goes along with the trowel

#16946 - 07/31/11 08:54 PM Re: What's In Your Pack? [Re: wazzu]
quillansculpture Offline

Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 562
Loc: Murrieta, CA
candy.....especially SNICKERS
"Turtles, Frogs & other Environmental Sculpture"
twitter: @josephquillan

If less is more, imagine how much more, more is -Frasier

#16949 - 08/01/11 04:37 AM Re: What's In Your Pack? [Re: quillansculpture]
CMC2 Offline

Registered: 11/04/09
Posts: 160
Loc: CO
PeanutButter or Regular Snickers Joe?

#16973 - 08/01/11 10:38 AM Re: What's In Your Pack? [Re: CMC2]
frediver Offline

Registered: 07/31/11
Posts: 5
Loc: Ca. N.Cal
Other than general stuff others will carry
Food, water, Map if needed, etc.

A metal cup that fits my water bottle.
A contractor trash bag or two. Can be used as a shelter, poncho, bath tub, etc. etc. as good as and more useful than a space blanket.
A means to start a fire and tinder of some sort.
SAK RuckSak model, Bigger blade and has a saw.
Water purification method, iodine.
Para Cord wrapped on my Wooden walking stick.
If I know I will be walking at night, a headlamp but as a spare
I have a couple photon lights on zippers.
Small 1st. aid kit.
Needle and thread, hooks, safety pins, Sp. Shot.
Duct tape.
Small compass.

This sounds like a lot of crap but really is not.
Other than water & cup it will all easily fit into a small belt bag
weighting less than one pound.
I do not count my knife, something sharp goes with me everywhere.

IMO the best deals going for all these items right now is a Doug Ritter
Pocket kit or the new version of SOL kit ( $25.00 +/-) and a AMK 1st. aid kit if you just want to buy and go.
No connection to either Company.

#16980 - 08/01/11 12:56 PM Re: What's In Your Pack? [Re: Bulldog34]
RichardK Offline

Registered: 11/06/09
Posts: 92
Loc: East Coast Florida
I carry pretty much what everyone else does. But, I also carry 2 SAM splits and 3 rolls of adhesive tape. If I injure an ankle or knee, I can immobilize the joint and hobble out. Hiking poles would double as crutches. I do carry a standard first aid kit, but I probably won't die from a cut or scrape. It's an injury that impedes walking that is scary.

#16983 - 08/01/11 01:06 PM Re: What's In Your Pack? [Re: RichardK]
tdtz Offline

Registered: 08/26/10
Posts: 511
Loc: CA
The one unique thing that I carry is a backscratcher.

Of course I carry the standard stuff that was listed above too. Also add my SPOT II, spare petzl headlamp in case I have problems with my BD headlamp. And I do pack two of the cheapy rain panchos....just in case.

I will be adding the trail cup for dipping and sipping

Edited by tdtz (08/01/11 01:06 PM)

#16984 - 08/01/11 01:40 PM Re: What's In Your Pack? [Re: Bulldog34]

Heading up to tackle Williamson/Tyndall this weekend ( weather permitting )

Normally I carry a heavy pack, going light as possible this time.

Osprey Variant 52 stripped down ( no framestay, hip belt, or top compartment)

z-lite sleeping pad ( inside pack to give more rigidity to back panel )

BD Spot headlamp

cell phone for pictures/possible emergency ( airplane mode rocks for battery saving)

extra pair wool socks

skull cap

softshell gloves

latok alpine shell

meltdown jacket

spyderco tasman salt

2 1-liter bottles ( carry only a liter at a time except for summit attempts)

sil-nylon shelter, basically a tarp with a foot


small bottle of sunscreen

small bottle of mosq repellant


200 weight icebreaker pants for sleeping

minimal food in an odorproof sack- dried fruits/nuts/etc. espresso beans for chomping on in the morning

On my person -
200 weight icebreaker shirt
softshell pants ( no gaiters, pants have holes for running cord under your instep)
stout approach shoes

Sleep system is wool baselayer/down jacket with hood up top, wool base layer with softshell pants over them...legs shoved in my empty pack. Wrapped up like a burrito in my silshelter on top of my z-lite pad.

Could prove to be the worst night of my life, but I like trying new things. Going to test at 9200 the night before the climb, spend one night at Shepherds Pass (~12,000ish).


#16985 - 08/01/11 02:15 PM Re: What's In Your Pack? [Re: ]
Mtn Dreamer Offline

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 2
Loc: Santa Maria, Ca.

Skittles (extra sour). Discovered these this year from my 9yr old grandson. I think they are better than trailmix. Along with snickers gave us energy when we needed it.


#16986 - 08/01/11 04:05 PM Re: What's In Your Pack? [Re: Bulldog34]
Kokopelli Offline

Registered: 04/07/11
Posts: 8
Loc: Ohio
It never hurts to carry a spare shoelace. It's virtually weightless and has many potential uses.

So far nobody has mentioned a bear bell. Does anybody use these at Whitney, or anywhere else for that matter?

I'd like to get a veteran opinion because I've heard mixed reviews. Sure, bear bells are designed to keep you from accidentally sneaking up on unsuspecting wildlife. But I've also heard them called "dinner bells" because some bears get curious about the ringing noise and might even start to follow you.

I'm planning my first attempt at the summit September 14 and wouldn't mind leaving the bear bell behind!

#16987 - 08/01/11 04:27 PM Re: What's In Your Pack? [Re: Kokopelli]
tdtz Offline

Registered: 08/26/10
Posts: 511
Loc: CA
There have been three deaths attributed to bears in California. Two of these were bears in captivity and one was a wild grizzly bear in the 1870s. None were from black bears. (though black bears have killed humans in other locations).

I'd venture a guess that the bears in the Mt Whitney area are very much aware of your location, with or without bells.

Until you have an actual face to face encounter, you will probably not truly believe this, but any sign of assertiveness from a human will cause the black bears in california to retreat.

I know that I was apprehensive on the trail at night until I actually saw how a bear responds to simply walking toward it.

In other words, no, I don't carry a bear bell.

#16992 - 08/01/11 05:18 PM Re: What's In Your Pack? [Re: tdtz]
Mike Condron Offline

Registered: 11/05/09
Posts: 215
Loc: Now Manteca, CA
Originally Posted By: tdtz

In other words, no, I don't carry a bear bell.

Did a day hike toward Warren Lake by Castle Peak Sunday. Passed a lady with bear bells on her shoes. The I-80 black bears need help to detect hikers due to the noise from the freeway.

#16994 - 08/01/11 05:34 PM Re: What's In Your Pack? [Re: Mike Condron]
wagga Offline

Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 2243
Loc: Humbug Reach (Pop. 3)
Some years ago, I led a SC outing up Yosemite Falls. Two of the regular hikers were very fond of discussing words/meanings/etymology whilst on the trail. Knowing they were coming, I packed my Webster's New World, 2nd. College edition along, as it only weighs 4 lbs., as opposed to my 20 lb. OED.

We reached the top, pulled up a rock with a view - I silently handed the dictionary to Kathy, and they, without a word, started looking up words. One of the other hikers carried a large back pack. He pulled out a guitar & started playing.

Some young ladies staggered up, clearly exhausted, and one said "what's with the guitar and damn! is that a dictionary?"

Later on, as it became cooler, our group was pleased to loan the ladies some extra warm clothing...
Verum audaces non gerunt indusia alba. - Ipsi dixit MCMLXXII

#16995 - 08/01/11 05:42 PM Re: What's In Your Pack? [Re: Kokopelli]
wazzu Offline

Registered: 06/20/10
Posts: 319
Loc: Orange County, CA

Leave the bear bell at home. The Whitney bears are not impressed with bells.

#17000 - 08/01/11 09:42 PM Re: What's In Your Pack? [Re: ]
GandC Offline

Registered: 03/21/11
Posts: 252
Loc: SoCal
Originally Posted By: Burchey

spyderco tasman salt



Best knife I ever owned. Let my Pop use it to clean fish ONE NIGHT, and he left it at the fish cleaning station, never to be seen again.

Thanks for reminding me I need to get me a new one.
One day I'd like to hike the entire John Muir Trail and not leave a single footprint. -Randy Morgenson

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