10 Essentials

On the last day of September, the summit observatory atop 6,288-foot Mount Washington recorded sub-freezing temperatures (27 degrees Fahrenheit) and 0.3 inches of snow. It wasn’t the season’s first snow atop the Northeast’s highest point—that actually occurred a month earlier, on September 1—but it was a telling reminder that the creeping fingers of Old Man Winter have…

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Regardless of the length of your trip, from a three-hour hike to a three-day or three-week expedition, all hikers should carry the 10 essentials—a list developed by the New Hampshire Fish & Game Department, the public agency responsible for the majority of search and rescue operations in New Hampshire. In this outdoor skills video, AMC…

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Fall equinox is this Thursday, September 22. It occurs precisely at 10:21 a.m. EDT.  And it continues a current and rapid trend of diminishing daylight. So…all you hikers out there…it’s time for a friendly reminder to always hike with a light, no matter what time you head out. Remember, it only takes a small miscalculation or mishap—a wrong turn,…

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Carrying a first-aid kit is more than just a good idea. It’s one of the 10 essential items for safe backcountry travel. All kinds of prepackaged options are available, but do they really contain what you need? To better evaluate ready-made kits or to assemble your own, consider the following supplies. Common Injuries The majority…

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Carrying a first-aid kit is more than just a good idea. It’s one of the 10 essential items for safe backcountry travel. All kinds of prepackaged options are available, but do they really contain what you need? To better evaluate ready-made kits or to assemble your own, consider the following supplies. Common Injuries The majority…

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Anyone who has ever spent a night out under the stars with kids will know the “Mac and Cheese Principle”: a pot of mac and cheese cooked outdoors after a day outside hiking, kayaking, biking, or rock climbing will taste exponentially better than the same pot of mac and cheese cooked inside on your kitchen…

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I recently wrote about the Ten Essentials, which includes quite a few extremely, ahem, essential items. But which is the least useful? From my perspective, it’s the one I’ve carried for more than 20 years and barely ever used: a compass. Why do you need a compass? A compass allows you to very quickly orient…

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Invest in waterproof, tear-proof trail maps. Tyvek and plastic are significantly more durable than paper. If you do carry a paper map, fold it to highlight your area and place it inside a waterproof map case or a heavy-duty resealable freezer bag. Always use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both sunburn-inducing UVA and skin-damaging…

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The 10 Essentials are more than just a list. They are the basics of survival. Carry them and you will always be equipped for the unexpected. First developed in the 1930s by the Mountaineers, a Seattle-based nonprofit, the original 10 Essentials consisted of a list of specific items—knife, map, compass, matches, etc. Today, several different…

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You don’t have to stand on your head facing the sun, mouth agape, to accomplish this unusual (and highly undesirable) feat. You just have to spend enough time huffing and puffing in blistering sunshine on one of Nature’s most reflective surfaces: snow. Snow reflects up to 80 percent of UV radiation, which means that you’re…

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