A Day Hike With A Butt Pack

mpThe other day I went on a small hike at a local state park.  To be honest it wasn’t really a whole day, it was more like an afternoon hike.  None-the-less as always, I went prepared and wore a small butt pack.

Since it was a state park it wasn’t like I was out in the middle of nowhere roughing it.  There are bathrooms with running water and soap at the sinks, but it is still a park and there were no paper towels, thank goodness there was toilet paper, but I digress.

As I was making a comfort visit to the ladies room there was another lady in there.  She had done her business, washed her hands and then discovered there were no paper towels.  She seemed very distrait over this until she saw the hand blower on the wall.  The relief on her face quickly faded when she discovered the hand dryer didn’t work.  She began pounding on the button, stating “oh no, it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.”  The bathroom door opened and one of her friends poked her head in and says “are you coming?”

At that point I figured she would just turn and go out.  She started complaining to her friend, that the hand blower didn’t work and there were not paper towels.  Her friend said, “so, wipe your hands on your pants” I then said “well, we are kind of out in the wilderness, you gotta do what you gotta do.”  This lady looked at me and her friend like we had just told her to wash her hands in toilet water.  She started complaining about how the park should be taking care of the bathrooms. Her and her friend left and went on their way.

Physically And Mentally Prepared

I stood there in amazement wondering how something as simple as no paper towels or a hand dryer could through someone into a tizzy.  Something so simple and not all that inconvenient caused her to carry on so.  I wondered what if the water had been turned off and she had to use a porta-potty, or worse, go behind a tree.  This poor lady was totally unprepared even for something as simple as no way to dry her hands.  She wasn’t physically prepared by having a tissue with her and she wasn’t mentally prepared for the “what if’s” of the world either.  She had a mindset that her needs would be provided for her even in a park.

Now, if her need was more serious than just drying clean wet hands, or if it was really cold out, which it wasn’t, and having wet hands could cause hypothermia, I certainly would have stepped in and assisted her. But this was a day in the mid ’70s and all she had to do was air dry her hands if she didn’t want to dry them on her pants.

That brings me to my butt pack.  Even though I was just doing a small hike for the afternoon, and I was in a park where there were facilities, I carried my butt pack, plus I had some things in my pockets as well, just in case.  I mean, what if the bathroom didn’t have toilet paper?

Here is what I was carrying:

My butt pack was a Maxpedition Proteus

Repel 100 Bug Spray, this was a little greasy going on but the greasiness went away, and this spray is fantastic!

H95 mask, I always have one of these with me when I am out and about, you never know when you will get into a lot of pollen, smoke, etc.

Bic Lighter, No I don’t smoke, but if I ever got caught outside all night I may need to start a fire. Better to have it then need it and not have it.

Firepuck, hiking is just once step shy of camping, if I got stuck out there at night, I want a way to start a fire, and I never rely on just one source.  You know what they say, one is none, two is one.  Redundancy is very important.

Knife with fire steel, part of the above two, plus a knife when hiking in the woods can always come in handy.

Gloves, I have tender hands, and if I ever needed to do something like move a large stick, or do something that required good grip, these are always good to have.

Flashlight, light is so very important, I usually have two small flashlights on me, and a couple of good flashlights in the car.

Small Survival Kit, this has some odds and ends that one might need when out.  I have included some bandaids, pain  meds.

Notepad, I keep a Rite in the Rain pad, I may need to leave a note or have an idea I want to write down.

Sharpie, paper isn’t much good unless you have something to write with.

Wet Ones Wipes, I have these things stashed all over, they come in handy for so many uses, being clean is part of keeping yourself healthy.

Headlamp, again, light is very important, if my hike when longer than expected, it is so much easier to wear a headlamp and have my hands free instead of holding a flashlight.

Purell, something else that I have stashed everywhere, all over the house, in the car, in every bag I have, goes back to staying clean.

Cliff Bar, this is something else I have stashed all over the place, for one, they taste great, are made of good ingredients and store well. Great energy bars.

Plastic grocery bag, to keep my trash and pick up others trash I may see along the way

Construction trash bag, can be used to sit on, as a rain puncho or even small shelter

In my pockets

Bandana, good for wiping my hands or face off with.

Blistex, for my lips

Small pocket knife, I started carrying a knife with me everywhere I go about a year ago and I can’t believe how much I use it, don’t know how I managed before I starting carrying it.

Small Flashlight, this goes with what I mentioned about the pocket knife, starting carrying this flashlight with me all the time about a year ago, I use it all the time.

Tissues – in case I need to blow my nose, or the bathroom doesn’t have any TP.

Car keys

Cell Phone

Plus, I was carrying a bottle of water, hydration is very important at all times.  It may sound like a lot, and it may seem like over kill for a few hours of hiking, but I actually used the bandana, Blistex, bug spray, Purell and sharpie pen.  One thing I forgot to take was a whistle, left that in one of my other packs

So let me know what you think, did I carry too much?  Too little?  What didn’t I take that I should have?  What to you take when you go out on a day or afternoon hike?