On any trip into the bush...I don't care how short there is a very short list of the absolute essential things you should bring with you EVERY TIME.
Everything would be contained in a small rucksack:
1.) Knife - I like a good multifunction knife like a Victorinox Swiss Army Rucksack or a Leatherman Multitoolfor day hikes.
2.) Extra Clothes - Carry some sort of jacket (water resistant would be nice) or fleece and at least an extra pair of socks at a minimum.
3.) Water - Throw a few bottles of water in your bag and a few purification tablets or a filter. If you run out of water make sure you won't be lost for more than three days because you'll be dead.
4.) Food - Throw a few energy bars or some jerky in the bag...you never know and it beats eating grasshoppers (at least until you REALLY have to).
5.) Matches/lighter/firesteel- I would carry all three. They weigh almost nothing, keep them in separate locations (not all in the bag for instance).
6.) Map/compass/GPS - Have a compass at a minimum and know which direction will eventually lead to civilization at the very least. Having a map of the area would be fantastic. GPS is good but batteries are the weakness.
7.) Flashlight- If walking around in the pitch black night sounds good to you...go ahead and you can leave this home.
8.) Sunglasses - Protect your eyes and keep yourself alert, squinting is work and actually makes you tired. This can help prevent the sun or glare off of the snow or sand from burning your corneas.
9.) Sunscreen and bug dope - I use a bug dope that is a sun screen as well, multi-use is the way to go. Sun burn sucks and so does getting eaten alive by mosquitos.
10.) Small First Aid Kit - should contain bandaids, gauze, antispetic, etc. This is a must, dealing with injuries no matter how small is not optional.
These items could save your life if you get lost, yet they are small and light enough that there really is no excuse to not carry them.
...that is all.
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