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A Hiking Checklist - What you bring

When you are hiking, some critical and essential items are the insurance against the unexpected. Although you may not use all the essentials every day, they can be life savers in an emergency.

What you take will depend on where you are going and how long you plan to be away, but any backpack should include the following:

    ' Candle and matches
    ' Cell phone
    ' Clothing (always bring something warm, extra socks and rain gear)
    ' Compass
    ' First aid kit
    ' Food (bring extra)
    ' Flashlight
    ' Foil (to use as a cup or signaling device)
    ' Hat
    ' Insect repellent
    ' Map
    ' Nylon filament
    ' Pocket knife
    ' Pocket mirror (to use as a signaling device)
    ' Prescription glasses (an extra pair)
    ' Prescription medications for ongoing medical conditions
    ' Radio with batteries
    ' Space blanket or a piece of plastic (to use for warmth or shelter)
    ' Sunglasses
    ' Sunscreen
    ' Trash bag (makes an adequate poncho)
    ' Water
    ' Waterproof matches or matches in a waterproof tin
    ' Water purification tablets
    ' Whistle (to scare off animals or to use as a signaling device)

Always allow for bad weather and for the possibility that you may be forced to spend a night outdoors unexpectedly.

It's a good idea to assemble a separate "survival pack" for each hiker to have at all times. In a small waterproof container, place a pocket knife, compass, whistle, space blanket, nylon filament, water purification tablets, matches and candle. With these items, the chances of being able to survive in the wild are greatly improved.