10 Essentials to Take on Day Hikes

Warm day hikes can turn into frigid overnight ordeals when emergencies strike, so be prepared with this National Parks Service advice for staying safe on your next adventure.

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Photo By: Steve Larese

Compass, Map and GPS

In this age of cell phones and GPS, navigation is often considered a given by novice hikers. But what happens when batteries die, and has the time been taken to properly learn how to use these devices? Experienced hikers recommend having a topographical map and a compass, at least as a backup to electronics. They are straightforward to use and orient, and don’t depend on batteries. Hikers should frequently check where they are to create a "breadcrumb trail" of their route and know exactly where they are and how long it will take to get back to their vehicle. Cell phone apps such as Gaia turn your phone into a GPS unit even when offline, but make sure to download the maps before you lose coverage.

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