While we continue to work, learn and play from home, there is still room for adventure! Here is part two of our backyard adventure series!

“Preparing for Adventure… from the backyard”

Part II: The Big 10…

(and we’re not talking college basketball)


One of the key ingredients in adventure is the unknown. Can you imagine how much less exciting watching a championship game would be if we always knew who the winner would be…and no I am not a New England Patriots fan! Though the unknown is part of what gives adventure meaning, so is being prepared with the right stuff to deal it. In outdoor adventure circles we call the right stuff “the ten essentials.” The ten essentials are the ten things you should always have with you on your adventure, whether it be a day hike, a fishing outing, a mountain bike ride, or even a bird watching outing. The ten essentials are the items that will keep you safe and alive if things do not go as planned.

  • Activity 

      1. Scenario: A friend has asked you to go hiking at a state park about an hour away. He didn’t say how far or where exactly the hike would be, but you know it will take most of the afternoon, and you have to leave in ten minutes!
      2. Without reading the list below and based on your knowledge of what the day will look like, in ten minutes or less grab from the resources available to you, the ten most essential things you will need for the day hike. Think about the potential hazards and risks involved with a day hike in your area, what considerations do you need to make?
  • The 10 essentials

    1. Navigation: Depending on what your trip will be, this will look different. For a two week backpacking trip you’re going to want multiple maps, a compass, and probably some kind of GPS locator. For an afternoon hike, a single map or print out from the park might be the way to go.
    2. Headlamp: You might think that you will be back before dark, but things happen. A headlamp is crucial to finding your way in the dark, and don’t forget extra batteries!
    3. Sun protection: Even on cloudy and snowy days, you can get badly sunburned. It is always smart to bring proper layers to protect yourself from the sun exposure, even on an afternoon hike, a hat might be the difference between getting burned or not.
    4. First aid: Whether you are on a month long expedition or small nature walk, you should have some kind of first aid. For a small hike it might only be a small mesh bag with a few bare essentials like benadryl, ibuprofen, an ace bandage, and an emergency blanket. For larger and longer trips, it should be a larger bag that has everything from moleskin bandages for blisters to trauma shears and epinephrine.
    5. Knife: It doesn’t need to be a large Crocodile Dundee style knife, just a small pocket knife or multitool can help repair gear, prepare food, get fires started, and do countless other things.
    6. Fire: Even on a day trip, it is smart to pack something to start fires with, like a small box of matches. You never know when something might happen that keeps you out longer than expected, and potentially overnight. Fire allows you to be warm, cook, and boil water.
    7. Shelter: For smaller trips this might mean a rain jacket. Hypothermia can set in fast when it is cold, wet, and windy. A rain jacket, a foil space blanket, or a contractor garbage bag can eliminate two of those things. On larger trips it is important to know the area you are going into and what kind of shelter is warranted. Even on summer nights in North Carolina, an Eno hammock gets very cold, and rain can be unpredictable.
    8. Extra food: You should plan accordingly for food needs on any trip, but it is always smart to have a backup snack ready. A cliff bar or jello packet will help you stay warm during those unforeseen cold and rainy days.
    9. Extra water: Bring more than you think you will need. Remember, even on cold days you can easily become dehydrated.
    10. Extra clothes: The forecast said it wouldn’t rain and the low was 45 degrees, but all too often it ends up raining and 35 degrees. Bring enough clothes that you will be alright if the forecast does not end up the way you had expected. Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
  • Final Assignment

    1. Revise your 10 essentials and lay them out like this:
    2. Post on your FB, insta, etc. and tag @merri-mac and/or @camptimberlake and #mmtlbme10essentials.
    3. #mmtlbmeSocialDistancingAdventure
      1. Do your research for a nearby hike, bike, run or even  yoga session in a local trail system, river, lake, river, state or national park.
      2. Grab a sibling or parent, your 10 essentials and go have an ADVENTURE!
      3. Don’t forget to take a photo to share with your tribe!