Top Ten Essentials

9 Jun

In outdoor stores across the country they provide a list of 10 “essentials” for an outdoor adventure. These usually include a compass, map, sunscreen, etc. After 2,000 miles we have decided to create our own list- Carrot and Lucky’s 10 Thru-Hiker Essentials. Here it is:

1) Ear plugs- After many a sleepless night in the shelters with snoring hikers and loud early morning risers, We realized the importance of ear plugs. Lucky and I pop them in early and enjoy the blissful peace of muffled noises we can’t quite decipher. Our quality of sleep in shelters went through the roof.

2) Eye mask- This one closely follows #1, this time allowing us to get to sleep before sunset and stay asleep after sunrise. I use a bandana and Lucky uses a Buff.

3) Fruit snacks- We eat these constantly throughout the day. They provide quick bursts of energy while our bodies digest the protein bars, and they are delicious. Also, they have 100% of your vitamin C-bonus!

4) Visor- This one provides a duel purpose- it not only protects from the sun (so you can send expensive sunglasses home), but keeps the rain out of your eyes as well. Love it.

5) Benedryl/melatonin- These have become begrudging essentials to our trail life. While we would love to be able to sleep well without them, after years of nightshift it just isn’t possible. The extra help these sleep aids provide is priceless!

6) Thermarest Neoair- This is the last sleep essential, but a huge one. It is expensive ($160) and worth every single penny. It provides warmth and an incredible 2+ inch barrier from the ground. We have slept the whole night on huge roots and not even noticed!

7) Platypus- While the name brand isn’t necessarily important, Platypus is making a great hydration bladder with a zip closure. Having a straw available with water at all times makes hydration a lot simpler when you are hiking all day long.

8) Drink mixes/Coffee- While we try to drink as much water as we can, eventually we need some extra energy or electrolytes. I have tried to go caffeine free in the backcountry in the past and it was not worth it. Instant coffee in the morning and caffeinated energy drinks in the afternoon improve our quality of life tremendously!

9) Compactor bag- After many weeks of rain, keeping the inside of our backpacks dry has become key. We line our packs with heavy duty trash/compactor bags and it keeps everything inside completely dry. Amazing!

10) Dry sleep clothes- This one goes along with #9. After being soaked to the bone for 8-12 hours in the rain, putting on dry clothes to sleep at night makes all the difference. Essential!!!

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