Hiking/Traveling Survival Guide

Nearly every item here has saved my life. These are highly recommended. Suggestions? mike@bakemed.com

Disclaimer: You may need additional items to survive or avoid severe injury in your travels and no attempt has been made for this list to be inclusive. These items are not deemed suitable for any particular purpose and you are at your own risk using them. You should see your medical doctor prior to any hiking trip to make sure you are healthy enough for that level of exertion.

Fitness. I would recommend working out twice a week, at the gym, aerobics class, martial arts or whatever you prefer. Planet Fitness is only $10/mo.

Auto. The weak spots in a car are the battery and tires. Use the best tires available for your car - steel-belted, all-weather tires. I use Bridgestone. Perform any needed maintenance.
  • Smart Phone & good cellular service. iPhone and Verizon are a powerful combination.
  • AAA towing & emergency auto service. $50/year. AAA also offers travel & auto registration services.

Trail Safety
  • Stay on the trail. Don’t go off-trail unless you are an expert hiker and have strong experience with GPS units and a satellite phone.
  • Bring enough water. If you have used just over half your water, its time to turn around.
  • Know the exact time you started the trail and the exact time of sunset. The halfway point in your hike must occur early enough in the day so that you can reach the car before full-dark. I would not recommend an after-dark hike for a solo or inexperienced hiker.
  • Bring snacks on the trail. For longer hikes, you need some carbs mid-way. I usually bring a small bag of nuts & raisons.
  • Hiking poles are great on sand, show, ice, rivers and any trail.

Foot Gear
  • Tennis shoes are ok for short hikes. For longer hikes, I recommend Merrell and New Balance shoes or mid-tops.
  • Orthotics support. These provide additional cushion and support and are much better than the manufacturer provided insole.

Cold Weather Gear
Use Smartwool brand for the base layer for cold weather.  Be careful to wash these with cool or cold water.  Either hang dry or dry them at the very lowest heat setting. Also available on Amazon.

Base Layer Tops

Base Layer Bottoms

Medium weight


Medium Weight
Heavy Weight

Glove Liners (for use with or without gloves)

Strech Hiking Pants

Outermost Layer

Keep this lightweight and carry it as an "add-on" for when the above is not enough. The description, at least on REI, should say things like "full range of motion", "articulated knees", and the like (same goes for the above hiking pants).

Top for Wind or Rain
Bottom for Wind or Rain
Neck Gaiter (more practical than a scarf)
Adding Boot Traction
Less Expensive Alternative for Adding Boot Traction

. Know the weather at your target location - for highs/lows and storms rain/snow. I recommend wunderground.com. You will need extra water when it is hot or may need to bring hiking boots for snow. If you are on a peak, you must turn around if you see storm clouds or risk a lightning strike. I also recommend always carrying additional water in your trunk.

Internet Forums. There is a great-deal of information about every hiking location. Just google it. You can find up to the minute information or just read about other’s experiences at these places.

Emergency Supplies
  • Long-term food & water in your car in case you are stranded.

Satellite Phone
. The Garmin Inreach Explorer will enable you to get emergency help from locations without cellular reception. Emergencies can happen in any age group and someone may need Search and Rescue and an ambulance.

Stay Awake! Will-power is not enough for long drives. Pullover when you are sleepy or bring coffee. Some people recommend 5 Hour energy.