Map and Compass
A map and compass are essential when plodding through the woods. They may never be needed, but when a hiker finds himself on an unfamiliar trail, he'll be glad he had them. Before venturing into the woods, study how to read a map and compass. Used correctly, a map and compass can orient even the most bewildered of hikers, and guide him back onto familiar terrain.
Along with a regular allotment of food, extra food should find its way into the hike's pack. Like the map and compass, the extra food may never be needed. When circumstances conspire to keep the hiker in the woods longer than intended, extra food can become essential to survival. The Backpacker's Field Manual recommends packing a combination of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. A well-rounded diet provides energy and warmth for the body to operate optimally.
Made of lightweight, breathable fabrics, rain gear adds little weight to a pack. Moreover, rain gear provides dryness and warmth in the event of foul weather. Choose a raincoat that is appropriate to the season. In warmer months, a thicker winter raincoat adds unnecessary bulk to the pack. In any event, choose a raincoat that has a hood.
Pack a multipurpose pocketknife. Depending on the design, pocketknives can do everything from saw small pieces of wood to open bottle tops. While a knife with a built-in toothpick may inspire chuckles, a multipurpose pocketknife will come in handy when least expected.
Matches and Lighter
Include at least two sources for lighting a fire. When one fails, the other will serve as a backup. Either one provides an instantaneous flame, and can be used to quickly get a fire started. A good fire provides warmth, cooks food and can act as a signal in the event of an emergency.
First Aid Kit
The most basic camping first aid kits will include such items as bandages, antibiotic ointment, insect sting relief pads, Aspirin, Ibuprofen and antiseptic wipes. Choose a kit commensurate with the duration of the trip. The largest portable kits can include as many as 205 pieces, providing a medical solution for just about any injury that might arise.