Many people tend to wonder what they should carry for backcountry hiking and always wonder if they have enough or not enough. The following list is what we carry to get us through a day or night in the back country. You are more than welcome to add to it accommodate overnighters for whatever part you San Diego you are exploring. This list is what we would consider the bare minimal for being comfortable and staying alive if something should happen to you, Enjoy. (To oder any of these items please check out our outfitters at www.kitfoxoutfitters.com and use the code SDSOS for a 10% Discount)
1: Backpack. Mid sized bag will be fine.30-40 liters should be just fine. A little bigger if you plan on staying the night to fit sleeping gear. This is San Diego so you will want something rugged and durable to hold up to the scrub brush and sharp rocks. We find tactical bags work great but can be a bitheavy, and we aren’t creeping up on bad guys so it doesn’t have to be a “tactical” color. Think in terms of visibility for friends or Search & Rescue. I tend to lean towards Vanquest’s Ibex 30. It doesn’t have a lot of BS hanging off of it to get caught on branches or brush, and its durable and pretty light.
2: Water Bladder. No less than 3 liters!!! This is San Diego, its still in the desert and it’s still hot. Water is your life line and many many people are rescued every year for dehydration. So
please bring no less than 3 liters. “But it’s heavy!” Indeed, at first, but the more you drink, the lighter the pack becomes and the more hydrated you get!! I like the bladders made for military as they tend to be built a bit more tough to last longer and in harsher environments. To complement your hydration I would recommend having a wide mouth collapsible water bottle and Sawyer water filter. The Sawyer will come with a small bottle as well which you can fill and drink from with the sawyer as it filters it.
3. Tools & Knives: I tend to carry both fixed and folding. For the fixed blade I carry one personally made to my standards by Ardent knives Just ask for the the San Diego SOS model. I like bigger heavier knives that do the work for you and allows you the ability to save energy, calories and with minimal sweat. Make sure you can grip it well and maintain control of it while chopping. Stay way from knives that have a serrated edge, for wildness purposes there is no use for serrations, I like my blade to be full edge for carving, notching and batoning. I like to have the big knife in my pack. In my pocket, I carry a Spyderco Endure 4 with an Emerson Wave for quick one-handed opening. Its a good quick blade for skinning and cleaning animals, as well as general purpose use and quick access. Of course the Spyderco Endura can be used as a great quick weapon if you are caught off guard by a predator or human threat. I would also HIGHLY RECOMMEND a Multitool on hand or close by. It has saved my ass many times by pulling cactus out of my hands and ankles amongst many other of its uses. I tend to gravitate towards the Gerber Suspension for heavy duty, or the Crucial for light duty. One of my favorite tools on the Suspension are its scissors. They are actually really great and can be used as a great set of shears for a medical emergency.
4. Fire. One of the more important items to have in your pack is something to make a fire with. I am a bigger fan of Ferro Rods, I also carve antler handles for them as well. (I take orders for them) Fire is one of those things th
at is as essential to survival as breath. It boils your water, cooks your food, brings light the dark, increases morale, and
signals for help. Keep in mind the environmental conditions when you make a fire. San Diego is pretty much a giant brush fire waiting to happen so if its warm, dry, and high wind, I would advise against it unless you are on the verge of death. You could also carry matches as long as they are well protected and even a lighter will work after the fluid is gone as you can still spit sparks into heat sensitive tinder! Hack: bring hand sanitizer for hygiene, but alcohol makes it really flammable and useful for emergencies. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to learn how to make primitive fires for emergencies, should you have the time and patience.
5. Shelter/Protection: The elements can change rapidly in San Diego if you aren’t paying attention. So I like to carry an emergency blanket. Not just any kind, I like the thicker tarp like material to stand up to abuse in the rugged terrain bade by Grabber. not to mention it doesn’t crinkle as much as thin blankets do which keeps me up from the noise! There are many way you can utilize these blankets for shelter, shade, protection from the wind, fire reflector, litter for casualties, and signal for rescue. Get a bright colored material, there is no reason to be camouflaged while hiking, unless you are doing something you shouldn’t be doing. for these tarps I like to cut lengths of bungee cord at about 5ft per and pair it with Fish Bone Knotless. For added protection in the wilderness, having a plastic poncho or garbage bag that can be converted into one is beneficial, but trust me when I saw this, in the wildness, if you think something is waterproof, it’s not, EVER! That being said a plastic poncho can help keep you warmer when used in conjunction with the emergency blanket.
6.First Aid Kit. What to put into your first aid kit for your adventures its pretty tricky.You can build your won or buy one. What you put in yours will be based of your own medical training and knowledge. There are ton of pre packaged and are generally good kits. So if you don’t know much about first aid and what you need, buy a standard generic one. Side Note: unless you know how to sew yourself up, don’t bother with a suture kit, you will end up doing more damage to yourself than good! The goal of wilderness first aid is to patch yourself up or your buddy, enough for you to get to professional help. I have done some really dumb stuff in the backcountry and as such I know what to carry in my kit. I tend to cut my self while working so I carry the following in order of how to treat a cut: 1. Gauze or cotton balls to soak up and put pressure on the wound. 2. When it stops bleeding, inspect the wound and begin to clean it with water first, then hydrogen peroxide, then rubbing alcohol, before the next step you absolutely must clean the wound as best as you can, it is going to hurt, but it is imperative that you clean it really really well. 3. Superglue, depending on terrain and environment, I superglue the cut to keep from it bleeding again in rough terrain, especially if I still have a long way to go. 4. Medical tape is the final step. Make sure you put cotton over the dried wound and then tape it. worst feeling in there world is feeling the wound peel off with the tape. 5. Go see the doctor when you get off the trail for proper treatment. This is just a quick fix, they will give you the permanent fix. They will chew your ass for putting superglue on your wound so just prepare for that. I also carry an tourniquet for really really bad bleeds and incidents, as well as sheers, thermometer (heat stroke casualties), Ace bandages for breaks and sprains, Tylenol (stay away from aspirin and Motrin as it makes you bleed quicker), and a small First Aid Manual for lite reading.
List still in works 9/3/16