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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Backpacking Gear List: 27 Items You May Not Have Thought Of

Dental floss
Image via Wikipedia
It is helpful to consult backpacking gear lists of “essential” items. And these lists are all over the web. Well, I’ve run across a number of items that I wouldn’t perhaps consider essential but possibly useful. So, I went searching for more.
I googled “backpacking gear checklist” and poked around looking for items that people recommend but that don’t appear on very many other gear lists. Some of these could easily go on an “essentials” list. Others may incite a response like “Hmmm. I wonder what that’s good for?”
I can’t vouch for or speculate about the usefulness of each item, so I will list them simply and make comments where I can think of something to say.
1. Duct tape. People have found all sorts of uses for this ubiquitous item from repairing equipment to preventing blisters.
2. Tie-wraps. These are tough plastic strips that electricians use for bundling wires. Using your imagination, I’ll bet you can think of all sorts uses for them. They are also very light.
3. Paperclips. If I took the time, I’m sure I could find all sorts of ways to use these handy little strips of wire that are easily bendable.
4. Waterproof bandages. For waterproofing whatever needs it.
5. Safety pins. Different sizes would come in handy for a variety of repair jobs.
6. Gorilla glue.
7. Dental floss. These nylon strings are very strong for their size and can do a yeoman’s job in a number of repair or creative situations.
8. Kite string.
9. Parachute cord.
10. Garbage bags. Very useful for many things, especially the big black ones made for gathering leaves that fall on your lawn. For instance, you can make an emergency poncho with one.
11. Earplugs.
12. Altimeter.
13. Waterproof chocolate. Who would have guessed?
14. Deck of cards. Actually this appeared on more lists than I would have thought.
15. Rubber bands.
16. Sewing kit.
17. Swimsuit.
18. Baby powder. Dust your boots and socks with it to help prevent blisters.
19. Sleeping hat. For those who sleep cold.
20. Pee bottle. Especially for old dudes like me who have to get up in the middle of nearly every night.
21. Bodyglide. A personal product used to prevent chafing. Not for everyone but perhaps essential for some.
22. Hand warmers.
23. Insulated water bottle blanket. Say what?
24. Music player with headphones. You can scratch that one, in my opinion. But, my opinion doesn’t count with everybody.
25. S’mores ingredients. Oh, sorry. I got that from the wrong list: family camping. Oh well.
26. Bandanna.
27. Baby wipes.
Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not insinuating that every one of these items needs to go into every backpack. These are just suggestions for you to consider. After trying one or more of these, they might end up on your personal essentials list. Who knows?
by Richard Davidian, Ph.D.
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