A Rewilder’s Dayhiking Checklist

When it comes to wilderness preparedness, the phrase “think positive” doesn’t apply. Actually this is one time the best practice is to think negative. That is, consider all the possibilities of what could go wrong on a hike. Then using a checklist, make sure you have covered all the bases. Then you can hit the trail with confidence because you know you are ready for anything.

The 10 Commandments of Hiking

As early as the 1930’s the mountaineering community of Seattle dubbed “The Mountaineers” created an outdoor ethic’s system. The Ten Essentials is their list of must-have things on any wilderness trip even if just a day hike. To this day The Ten Essentials has stuck and might well have been called “The Ten Commandments of Outdoor Treks”.

The idea is to think through the trip and ask, “Can I prevent emergencies and respond if I need to?” If the answer is yes, then the next question is, “Can I safely spend a night outside if I have to?”

Don’t fool yourself. Hiking in wilderness is not a walk through the park. Wishful thinking is a product of over-domestication where we aren’t used to fending for ourselves. Out beyond the trailhead it is just you up against nature. How can you think through every possible scenario of an emergency? It is well established what they are: cold and wet (hypothermia, frostbite), sun (heat stroke, sunburns, glare), sprains, fractures, burns, cuts, bites, blisters, bugs, bruises, stomach upsets. There are established ways to approach all of these situations and the standard protocols are a good place to start. However there are also a few more effective things which I have added using herbal first aid, energy medicine devices, and clothing/shelter which follow the principles of Rewilding. 

These carefully selected items should be considered and gathered ahead of time and kept together in a place which is ready-to-go. Because to be essentially prepared, it is quite more extensive than simply throwing a few things in a bag and taking off. I haven’t always followed these guidelines. I have had several life-threatening outings without being properly prepared. One of these I ended up bivouacking (spending the night without a tent) in a pile of leaves on the edge of Mount Mitchell in temperatures which dropped to near freezing. I have learned from experience to make sure I have the Ten Essentials and don’t worry about the extra weight of items which may be rarely used. Consider it your survival insurance policy.


  1. Navigation: map, altimeter, compass, [GPS device], [PLB, satellite communicator, or satellite phone], [extra batteries or battery pack]
  2. Headlamp: plus extra batteries
  3. Sun protection: sunglasses, sun-protective clothes, and sunscreen
  4. First aid: including foot care and insect repellent (if required)
  5. Knife: plus repair kit
  6. Fire: matches, lighter and tinder, or stove as appropriate
  7. Shelter: carried at all times (can be a lightweight emergency bivy)
  8. Extra food: beyond minimum expectation
  9. Extra water: beyond minimum expectation, or the means to purify
  10. Extra clothes: sufficient to survive an emergency overnight

Here is a List of everything I carry on a dayhike


  • Phone with GPS software for navigation (covered in ziplock bag)
  • Paper map and real compass (phone may not always work)

2–Headlamp with extra batteries

3–Sun Protection:

  • sun protective clothing
  • wide brimmed crushable wool hat
  • coconut oil based sunscreen with zinc oxide

4–First Aid Kit

  • Waterproof wrapping tape
  • Gauze (pieces of wool or linen fabric)
  • Oreganol (a few drops on your skin will keep most bugs away)
  • Hempanol (for wound care)
  • Slippery Elm Powder mixed with ground flax seed 50/50
  • Activated Charcoal
  • Bentonite Clay
  • Castor Oil
  • Vitamin C
  • Aspirin
  • Band aids
  • Moleskin for blisters
  • Butterfly bandages
  • Needle with silk thread for stitches
  • Tweezers
  • Lugol’s Solution
  • Avazzia (with spare batteries)
  • Cloth wipes (in ziplock)
  • Paper and pen

5–Knife (use it to make kindling as well as other things)

Flint and Steel with cotton in waterproof container, or lighter or matches

Silnylon Tarp/groundcloth  (2 pounds)

8–Extra Food
Carnivore Bars (not taken for the trip but for backup only

9–Water Treatment
Lugol’s Solution (potassium iodide) which takes only 2 drops per liter to sterilize)

10–Extra Clothes:
merino base layer (top and bottom)
wool socks 

Stuff I take for the hike not included in the extra preparedness list:

  • what I am wearing: shoes, socks, shirt (varies with time of year)
  • lunch and snacks
  • water
  • rain parka
  • wide brimmed wool felt hat
  • sometimes an umbrella
  • Winter: I would include mittens, hat, crampons, and often a stove to heat water

By the way, these same things also belong on a multi-day backpacking trip. It is only a short step from packing for a real emergency preparedness day hike to a backpacking trip. The main difference is that there would be more food, cooking utensils, clothing and a Lucky Sheep Rewilder backpack as well!.

Further Tips

The same first aid kit can be used at home, kept in the car for trips. For a short hike I take a watered down version in a small pouch. Avazzia without the attachments, Hempanol, Oreganol, waterproof tape, cloth gauze.

The Avazzia takes the place of many other herbs and medications, thus making the load lighter. For instance, no need for ice or heat  Also there’s really no need for arnica cream or homeopathic because the Avazzia takes the place of each of these. Of course you can still use these and from experience you will learn just how to combine the different treatments. 

It’s easier to keep one first aid kit because keeping one in good order is about the only practical thing that works. Batteries run out and supplements expire. 

I save empty pill bottles to use for holding small amounts of remedies. Also it is important to label everything.

It’s a good idea to take some wilderness first aid training.

Shopping Cart