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Stay on track with a topographical map and compass. A GPS is a great additional tool, but always pack extra batteries, and carry the map and compass as backup.
Stash a few spare trail bars or other shelf-stable snacks in your pack in case you’re stuck out longer than you planned.
Get shades with UVA/UVB protection, a hat, and broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30.
Carry waterproof matches and/or an extra lighter, plus emergency tinder (dryer lint or petroleum jelly-dipped cotton balls work well).
Pack the following for a two-person weekend trip: 4 sterile gauze pads, 5 adhesive bandages, moleskin/blister treatment, first-aid tape, 6 ibuprofen tablets, 2 antibiotic ointment packets, 3 antimicrobial hand wipes, 2 safety pins.
Pack extra layers, including a hat and gloves if conditions warrant. For most backpacking trips, you’ll need a fleece midlayer or a down or synthetic puffy, and a waterproof shell.
Hands-free illumination is a must for camp tasks, reading, and night bathroom trips (pack extra batteries).
Pack a multitool and duct tape (wrap several yards around your water bottle or trekking pole for easy storage).
Take bottles and/or a bladder, plus a treatment method.
Pack a space blanket or bivy (if you don’t have a tent).