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And you, what do you carry in your backpack for trekking?

As we were approaching the bus, after having spent a beautiful day hiking, a friend asked me

What would you always put in your backpack if you went out on a mountain activity?

I looked at him and in a humorous way I answered him with a whole bunch of nonsense, which made us laugh for a while. I told him more calmly:

There are questions that are easy to answer but this is not one of them. It depends on the terrain where we are going to move, if it is winter or summer, if the departure is going to be one day or several, the technical difficulty of the route or activity chosen...

And you, what do you carry in your backpack for trekking?

We should not forget that we move in a changing environment, that what seems easy now can become difficult, heat, cold, light ..., in these circumstances is when what we carry in the backpack can make a difference. There was a little silence and I proposed a game of questions and answers, I asked the questions and he simply answered what he thought, applying as always common sense, as simple as that.

What do I carry in my backpack to...

Orientation?: Map of the area, altimeter, compass, GPS... can you use them?

Protect me from the sun?: Sunglasses, cream, cap, lip protection...​

Enlighten me?: Headlamp, flashlight... (don't forget spare batteries)

Repairing a defect?: Knife (multipurpose or not), cord, needle, duct tape, thread, safety pins, shoelaces...

To make a fire?: lighter, matches...

Being inactive? Clothes, to be chosen according to the season: gloves, balaclava, underwear to change your sweat, an extra pair of socks, warm jacket (feathers or fiber)

And you, what do you carry in your backpack for trekking?

Calming the hunger?: Energy bars, chocolate, cookies... (as an extra portion)

Quenching your thirst?: always carry some extra water, purifying tablets...

Emergency Shelter?: Reflective survival blanket, some large garbage bags, a bivouac cover...

Communicating and signaling?: Whistle, mirror, flares, cold lights, radios, battery-powered phone...

Solving Physical Incidents?: first aid kit (plasters, adhesive tape, antiseptics, bandages, dressings,...)

Protect me from the rain?: Waterproof jacket and pants...

We arrived at the recreation area where the bus was and there, seeing that we still had time before it started, I suggested that he empty his backpack so that he could see if what he had in it was what he himself had considered essential. As he emptied it and spread his belongings out on the table he realized that almost nothing of what he had proposed was there. He gathered everything up quietly and invited him to have a beer. As we approached the bar I uttered a phrase that a few years ago was said to me by a good person and better mountaineer:

"When you go out to do an activity in the mountains think rationally, if with what you carry in your backpack you could spend the night outdoors if things go wrong"

And my friend exclaimed: clever boy, yes sir!


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