Trip Preparation Ten Essentials Tenkara Styleby Graham Moran January 31, 2017 0 comments
What are the ten essentials and why are they important to tenkara trip preparation? As I discussed in Trip Preparation Tenkara Style Part 1, I looked at the equipment needed for good tenkara trip preparation. In this post I want to look at the ten essentials that an angler should carry with them on every trip.
The Ten Essentials
The goal behind the ten essentials is to provide the outdoor recreationalist with a basic survival kit if something goes wrong. The following is my personal “Ten Essentials” list. I carry these items when I am fishing on my own or with clients. The items I am going to suggest are those that I use everyday. I would suggest doing some of your own research on what might be the best decision for you.
Clothing tends to be considered a no-brainer to most, but there are things that need to be considered and remembered. By selecting the appropriate clothing an angler can remain comfortable no matter the weather conditions. Apparel and insulation choices will vary depending on the season of course.
Warmth is considered to be paramount as a human being. Unlike fish, humans can suffer from conditions like hypothermia so we need to layer properly. Staying warm during the winter fishing season is easier than you might think. I covered this in the Winter Tenkara: Staying Warm post.
In a future post I will be covering the specific apparel I wear in warm conditions. For now just be aware that you do need extra clothing no matter the time of year.
Map and Compass
Both a map and compass are two very important items to carry at all times. Of course, both items are nothing more than extra weight in your pack if you don’t know how to use them. Some might suggest replacing these items with a GPS (Global Positioning System) but there are dangers with electronics in the backcountry.
Maps are printed representations of a part of the earth. The maps can be printed by the USGS (United States Geological Survey) or by companies like National Geographic who produce the Trails Illustrated Topographic Map Series. Each map producer uses different scales or mileage representations for their maps. The most common scale from the USGS would be the 7.5 minute series with a scale of 1:24,000 or an equivalent of 1 inch equalling 2,000 feet. Trails Illustrated use different approximate scales like 1:63,360 or an equivalent of 1 inch equaling 1 mile.
Learning to read and use a map is something that takes time and patience. With proficiency comes safety so taking the time to understand a map is very important. Know and understand the map of the area you will be fishing and there will be another layer of safety for you and others.
A compass is a precision device used to show direction in relation to the cardinal directions of geography. Compasses are built to point to Magnetic North with the East, West, and South also marked on the body of the compass.
Learning how to use a compass along with a map will help any angler locate where they are in the backcountry at any given time. Also becoming familiar with strictly using a compass to find a way home can be very useful as well.
I am not qualified to teach the proper use of a map and compass here but there are plenty of printed and online resources available to those who wish to learn.
First Aid Kit
A first aid kit is an imperative piece of equipment every angler should carry. First aid kits are filled with medical grade items that will help in an emergency. Emergencies that will require a first aid kit can range from a cut finger to a broken leg or ankle.
Most kits available to the consumer range in size and scope of supplies. I personally have a few different sizes for different length excursions. Some trips it might be myself and one other person, while others are with larger groups.
Sun Glasses (Preferably Polarized)
Polarized sunglasses are of vital importance for a number or reasons.
First off, sunglasses will protect your eyes from randomly flying hooks. You may think that this is an over-exaggeration, but you would be surprised by the number of times anglers get hit in the eye with a hook! Additionally, sunglasses will protect your eyes from harmful rays of the sun. A person’s eyeballs can actually get sunburned and if it happens to you, you will not soon forget the experience.
Polarized lens make seeing the fish in the water significantly easier. They also allow you to see where you are putting your feet when walking in the river and hopefully saving you from a potential dunking you will not soon forget either.
Sunscreen is a no-brainer for those of us with fair skin or a potentially higher risk of skin cancer. The higher the SPF (Sun Protection Factor) the longer you can stay in the sun without protection.
I am currently using an SPF 50 from Sawyer Products that gives me the needed protection for an extended day on the water. I will say that no matter the SPF, the only way sunscreen works is when it is applied to exposed skin. Carry it and don’t apply it and it means nothing.
Extra Food and Water
As a guide, I have more than a few clients who come unprepared food wise. Extra food is not just something that you want to eat during the day. Extra food is something that will hold you over for at least one 24 hour period if necessary. Having high quality foods will help you maintain your strength if and when things go bad. I find having a couple PROBAR Meal Bars are a great way to have extra food that will help me maintain if needed.
Along with extra food I always carry some extra water or a way to treat water in an emergency situation. I have carried a Life Straw in the past and I have also carried a bottle of Potable Aqua in my first aid kit. I find that having and extra empty water bottle can come in handy. Water bottles have many functions besides holding water. I carry an extra one just in case I lose the original or if the water bladder I am carrying blows a leak.
Having extra food and water do more than save you in bad situations. If you happen to need extra energy having these items can really make a difference.
Headlamp or Flashlight
I always carry a headlamp just in case in get lost in the backcountry or it gets darker quicker than I expected. I have been using the Black Diamond Spot Headlamp as it has an extremely bright beam of light. At a whopping 200 lumens I can see just about anything I might want to see. The Spot also has a red light which will allow a person to maintain their night vision. And in an emergency situation the Spot also has a strobe function which will help rescuers locate you in the dark quicker.
I find having an extra set of batteries is never a horrible idea either.
I don’t like flashlights when I am in the backcountry because they take up a hand that could be used for something more important.
Fire Starter or Matches
Seldom does one think about the need for a fire on a warm summer day, but if you get stuck in the mountains at night this can become a necessity. Having a good fire starter can help you maintain your body heat and also maybe even make you a bit easier to locate in the dark.
Learning to use a fire starter is of huge importance to maintaining your safety if and when things go bad. If you want to keep things simple you can use storm proof matches.
Knife or Multitool
I never leave home without a pocket knife thanks to my grandfather. It simply amazes me how useful a good pocket knife can be in the hands of a competent user. Even with a straight blade in an emergency situation it can be used as a saw.
I have also been known to carry a Leatherman Super Tool. Having a multi-tool like this really helps out not just in a survival situation but also in equipment failure situations as well.
Having a few basic items on your person when going fishing will save you a world of hurt later on. Hopefully you never have to use any of these items in an emergency situation. But it is always better to prepare for the unexpected and thwart total disaster. I hope that the items you have read about will help you in creating your own ten essentials.
Please be aware that these are the items I carry and this is nothing more than a suggested list. Modify and create as you see fit.
Please feel free to share your own thoughts on this list and maybe even add or suggest other pieces of gear you would include in your ten essentials for your trip preparation.
Links in this post lead to retailers where these items may be purchased as you see fit.