Hiking Essentials, First Aid & Electronics

Carry a few essential and first aid items to stay safe while hiking. And while hiking is a great way to unplug, there are a few electronics that can be useful on trips.

Electronics and Safety Essentials

I carry all of these items in a waterproof ditty bag.

backpacking essentials

  • headlamp: Princeton Tec Axis rechargeable headlamp (2.7 oz)
    This headlamp has high-power LEDs that are dimmable, a red lamp, and it’s rechargeable using a mini USB cable so there’s no need to carry spare batteries.
  • compass: Suunto MC-2 Pro
  • Personal Locator Device: DeLorme InReach SE (7 oz) no longer available – I recommend the Garmin InReach Mini instead.
    I added the InReach to my backpacking kit for the peace of mind that comes with an SOS device, but also so I could stay in touch with my husband when I’m out backpacking. The InReach SE is a two-way satellite communicator, so you can text back and forth as needed, which could be critical when an emergency requires it. The SOS button contacts emergency responders with your location and message. The device pairs with smartphones for use with the Earthmate app, adding mapping and the ability to type messages on a keyboard instead with the device’s clunky four-direction button. Annual or monthly service plans are required.
  • emergency fire starter: Bic Mini and cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly
  • repair kit: Gear Aid Tenacious Tape
    This tape can be used to repair just about everything. I also take the repair patches that came with my air mattress, and a small amount of duct tape. The orange pole segment is used to repair a tent pole.
  • battery backup: Anker Astro Ei 5200mAh + two connection cords (4.9 oz)
    For recharging my DeLorme InReach, rechargeable headlamp, camera battery, and iPhone.


backpacking essentials

I carry these essentials in my hip belt pocket so I can access them easily while hiking.

  • lip balm with sunscreen
  • multi-tool: Leatherman Squirt PS4 Multi-tool (2 oz)
    This multi-tool includes regular pliers, needle-nose pliers, scissors, 3 screwdrivers, wire cutters, wood/metal file, straight knife and a bottle opener. Of all the tools on it, I use the scissors the most.
  • hex tool for Peak Design camera clip, hair tie
  • stuff sack for mini essentials: Zpacks wallet/camera stuff sack (0.8 oz)
  • Salt Stick electrolytes
    I tend to sweat a lot when hiking, and replacing electrolytes is essential. I like the capsules better than adding a powder mix to water. This product contains the same breakdown of minerals as your sweat: sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium, plus vitamin D.

First Aid

my backpacking first aid gear

This is my basic first aid kit. I’ve taken the NOLS Wilderness First Aid certification course twice and it helped me discover what I needed. I highly recommend that every hiker take one of these courses.

  • antiseptic towlettes for cleaning wounds
  • first aid tape
  • stretch bandage
  • moleskin
  • tweezers
  • antibiotic ointment
  • syringe for cleaning wounds
  • disposable gloves
  • gauze pads
  • assorted bandages
  • Second Skin burn gel
  • semi-transparent bandage for large wounds
  • Wilderness first aid pocket guide
  • mini plastic bags for first aid pharmacy: Ezy Dose Pill Pouches
    Instead of purchasing various pills in travel packets, I use these tiny plastic bags to customize what I take based on medications from my home supplies.
  • stuff sack for first aid kit: Zpacks mini stuff sack (0.11 oz)


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