CNY Hiking HOME PAGE Hiking in Central New York Catskill Park Adirondack Park

Hiking, Backpacking,
Camping & Bushcraft


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There is nothing more important than having the right gear before heading out on your outdoor adventure, whether it's a short dayhike, a long dayhike, an overnighter or a longer backpacking trip. It can be the difference from a great experience to an awful time. It also can be the difference between life and death.

It is tick season on the trails. Be sure to protect yourself from ticks when hiking! Wear gaiters such as Liberty Mountain Nylon Gaiters (Navy) on your hike. They will help keep ticks from getting under your pant legs. Also use Repel 100 Insect Repellent, 4 oz. Pump Spray, 1 Bottle or Repel 33801 6-1/2-Ounce Sportsmen Max Formula Insect Repellent Aerosol 40-Percent DEET Spray or REPEL Tick Defense Unscented Aerosol Spray, 6.5-Ounce and spray your socks, pants, gaiters, shirt, neck, hands, etc. Use sprays with at least 40% DEET!!! Wear light colors and check yourself for ticks after hiking!

We suggest the following two books to read and some to keep handy for reference:
Bushcraft 101: A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival (great book by Dave Canterbury) and SAS Survival Handbook, Third Edition: The Ultimate Guide to Surviving Anywhere (I keep the 2nd edition of this book in my pack). I also have a Holy Bible: KJV Mini Pocket Edition: Tan (King James Bible) in my pack that I carry with me. Dave Canterbury just released another Bushcrafting book, Advanced Bushcraft: An Expert Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival.

The pack I use for dayhikes is a Mil-Tec Military Army Patrol Molle Assault Pack Tactical Combat Rucksack Backpack Bag 36L Coyote Tan and I've gotten additional pouches to attach on the pack including Military Army USMC MOLLE Ammo Utility Side Pouch Pocket Coyote Brown Lot of 2 that fit perfect on the front of the pack.

I have a
TETON Sports Explorer 4000 Internal Frame Backpack that I used for backpacking trips. I recently purchased an Osprey Exos 58 Backpack that I am really happy with. It's lighter and a bit larger than the Teton. There are thousands of backpacks you can choose from. The best day packs in our opinion are the military backpacks. Look for a lighter backpack for long backpacking trips. You can pick them up on Amazon, eBay or at your local Miltary Surplus Store. Sometimes you can find them at garage sales, flea markets or at the local goodwill store.

Some people also like to carry a haversack, some use in place of a daypack, some use as well as with a pack. The most popular haversack is Duluth Pack Haversack with Cotton Web Trim, Tan, 11 x 8 x 4-Inch. The downside of the pack is the price. You can find much cheaper haversacks such as the Civil War Reproduction Haversack - Natural Canvas.

Cutting Tools (knives, axes, saws):
It is important to carry knives when you head out into the woods. I like to carry at least two knives. I carry a nice and sharp Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife with Carbon Steel Blade, Military Green, 4.1-Inch and one with a full tang like a Schrade SCHF9 Extreme Survival Knife with Fixed 1095 High Carbon Steel Blade and Black Kraton Handle and Sheath. A real nice knife to have is the Morakniv Bushcraft Carbon Steel Survival Knife with Fire Starter and Sheath. I also keep a folding knife in my pocket such as the Tac Force Tf-400Ca Assisted Opening Folding Knife 4.5-Inch Closed.

I really like many of the other Morakniv's such as the Light My Fire Swedish FireKnife with 9.5 cm (3.75 Inch) Sandvik Stainless Steel Blade and Swedish FireSteel Fire Starter, Red, Morakniv Craftline Q Allround Fixed Blade Utility Knife with Carbon Steel Blade, 3.8-Inch and Morakniv Craftline Basic 511 Fixed Utility Knife with Carbon Steel Blade and Combi Sheath, 3.6". I also like the many knives made by Schrade including the Schrade SCHF36 Frontier Full Tang Drop Point Fixed Blade Knife, Schrade IMP16S Imperial Stainless Steel 3 Blade Pocket Knife, Schrade SCHF28 Little Ricky Full Tang Drop Point Re-Curve Fixed Blade Knife and Schrade SCHF19 Small Boot Double Edge Fixed Blade Knife . They also have a nice machete in the Schrade SCHKM1 Large Full Tang Fixed Blade Kukri Machete.

I suggest that you carry a hatchet and/or a folding saw on your adventures. A very popular folding saw is the Bahco 396-LAP Laplander Folding Saw, 9-Inch Blade, 7 TPI. I decided on purchasing a Corona RS 7265 Razor Tooth Folding Pruning Saw, 10" Curved Blade. I watched a video that showed how much faster the Corona cuts wood compared to the Bahco. I really like Corona after using it a number of times. It cuts through logs like a knife through a stick of butter.

The axes that I would choose for backpacking trips is the Fiskars X7 Hatchet, 14-Inch or Schrade Axe with Fire Starter and Rubber Handle, Small. For car camping trips we would use a Schrade SCAXE2L Survival 15.7-Inch Hatchet with Fire Starter. Another good lightweight backpacking axe is the Morakniv Boron Steel Camping Axe, Green. Schrade recently released a combo axe/folding saw with their Schrade SCAXE9 Large Axe 3Cr13 Stainless Steel Blade with Folding Saw. A good metal handle hatchet that is under two pounds is the Estwing E24A Sportsman's Hatchet Metal Handle. Another popular hatchet is the Gerber 22-41420 Gator Combo Axe II.

Although I use a regular bow saw such as the Bahco 10-30-23 30-Inch Ergo Bow Saw for Green Wood, some backpackers like to carry the Sven Saw 21". I don't bring the bow saw all the time, but it is a nice tool to have to process a lot of wood for those colder nights.

Fire Kit:
I have a kit for starting fires in my backpack. My kit includes multiple ways to start a fire as well as fire starters. Don't throw out your dryer lint! I keep dryer lint in a plastic back to use as tinder to start a fire. I also have some Cotton Balls coated (not soaked) with Vaseline 100% Pure Petroleum Jelly that I store in an old prescription drug bottle to use as a fire starter. I also am testing out putting cotton balls/dryer lint with vaseline in aluminum foil. The foil helps keep it drier and will let the tinder burn longer. I also try to carry natural tinder such as birch bark, dry plants, fat wood, etc.

To start your fire you should carry multiple items including the sure way BIC Disposable Classic Lighter. You should carry two, one in your pocket and one in your fire kit. I also carry Waterproof Survival Matches with waterproof holder, two Ferro Rods and a Magnesium Fire Starter. The last and most important fire starter to have in your kit is a Magnifying Glass or a 3-Pack Credit Card Size Pocket Fresnel Lens - Magnifier Lenses for Fire Starting (which are very lightweight).

Fire is one of the most important resource you can have if you find yourself in a survival situation. Some bushcraft enthusiest like to carry a Hudson Bay Tobacco Box Fire Kit, Polished Brass with Double Striker which includes a powerful magnifying glass as well as a place for storage of char cloth and other small kindling material.

Covers (tarps, tents, bivy, hammocks, sleeping bags):
Many hikers forget to pack some type of emergency shelter or cover when they go out on a day hike. You should always have something that can keep you warm and give you shelter in case you find yourself in a situation that you will need to spend a night in the woods. I always carry a SOL Survival Blanket, Two Person, 3.2 Ounce and a SOL Emergency Bivvy, 84" X 36". You should at least have those two items for a short day hike just in case!.

You may want to add a Olive Drab Green Warm Wool Fire Retardent Blanket, 66" x 90" (80% Wool)-US Military or Space All Weather Blanket if you are hiking in colder weather or in higher elevations. You should also carry a 55 gallon trash liner for your backpack, whether its a dayhike or a backpaking trip. The large trash bag can be used as a tarp, poncho, water catcher, etc. On some of our hikes we'll carry a 8' x 10' Camouflage 7-mil Poly Tarp, some prefer a Ultimate Survival Technologies BASE Hex Tarp, Orange or even a Kelty Noah's Tarp.

For overnighters I started to use an Eagles Nest Outfitters (ENO) Jungle Nest Hammock for my sleeping shelter on trips without Kyra. The jungle nest comes with a built in bug net. I recoomend getting the Eagles Nest Outfitters Atlas Hammock Hanging Straps for easier hanging of your hammock. You can also check out the Eagles Nest Outfitters SingleNest Hammock and Eagles Nest Outfitters DoubleNest Hammock. Both come without bug nets as well as a rain fly, so be sure to bring a tarp or get the Eagles Nest Outfitters DryFly Raintarp or the xx. Watch a video by WildernessOutfitters on how to winterize your hammock without spending a ton of money.

I recently purchased a Yukon Outfitters MG-rainfly1 Hammock Rain Fly Tarp. I am very pleased on it's quality and how lightweight it is. They also sell great hammocks including the Yukon Outdoors MG10502 Double Parachute Hammock and Yukon Outfitters MG-10501e Mosquito Hammock. They are a bit cheaper than the ENO hammocks and tarps. I also got a Grand Trunk Ultralight Hammock and am happy on the quality of this very low priced hammock. I use this hammock as a camp chair or just lounging in my backyard.

I have a Eureka! Spitfire - Tent (sleeps 1), which is a real nice lightweight tent for backpacking trips. Eureka is a company based out of Binghamton, NY. They have a whole line of great tents available for backpackers and campers such as the Eureka! Solitaire - Tent (sleeps 1), Eureka! Midori Solo Backcountry Tent , Eureka! Apex 2XT - Tent (sleeps 2), Eureka! Tetragon 4 person Tent and Eureka! Tetragon 5 Person Tent to name a few tents from this Central New York company. They also offer a four season tent for those winter campers called the Eureka! Alpenlite 2XT - Tent (sleeps 2) . Eureka makes tents for the US Military, so you know you are buying a quality tent.

A very popular car camping tent at a descent price is the Coleman Sundome® 4-Person Tent. What we mean by car camping is pulling your car up to your campsite, so there is little or no carrying equipment involved. These are not tents you want to carry with you for any backpacking trip (unless you split up the weight with your party). They are heavy.

I have a few sleeping bags to cover the wide range of temperatures we are graced with here in upstate New York. After a lot of research, I am planning to purchase a Military Modular Sleep System 4 Piece with Goretex Bivy Cover and Carry Sack. This sleep system should cover all the temperatures in the area. It is a military surplus item, so you know it has passed the toughest tests that mother nature has to offer.

I right now own a TETON Sports TrailHead +20 Degree F Ultralight Sleeping Bag (2.9 lbs, 87"x 32"x 22", Orange/Grey). It worked fine in the Adirondacks for me last fall. I also had a Suisse Sport Adventurer Mummy Ultra-Compactable Sleeping Bag, Left Zipper (Blue), but the zipper broke after five years of use. I also have a couple of zero degree bags that I bought from for less than $20 each. I am looking forward to using the MMS System and a wool blanket.

Containers (water bottles, cookware, stoves):
My main pot that I used on overnighters and backpacking trips was a MSR Alpine Stowaway Pot 1.1-Liter. Inside of the pot I carried my Etekcity E-gear Ultralight Portable Outdoor Backpacking Camping Stoves with Piezo Ignition and spices (which I carry in individual Round Clear Plastic (Dime) Size Coin Storage Tube Holders with Screw on Lids). These coin storage cases work real well in safely storing spices and other items for your camping trip. I also keep some Nescafe Taster's Choice House Blend Instant Coffee, 7 Count Single Serve Sticks (Pack of 12), some Lipton Tea Bags, Cup Size 100 Countand most importantly Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa Mix 60-0.73 oz Envelopes in the pot. I need my chocolate!

I also keep a Columbia River Knife And Tool's Eat N Tool 9100Kc Black Oxide Multi Tool in the pot as well. Another very popular eating utensil is the Light My Fire Titanium Spork.

I also carry a GSI Outdoors 75242 Blue Mountain Infinity Backpacker Mug as well as a One Quart Canteen with Aluminum Cup. The Self Reliance Outfitters website has a great canteen cookset and other items worth checking out for your adventure. They talk a lot about the 10 C's of survival that everyone should understand before heading into the woods. I also have a GSI Outdoors Glacier Stainless Kettle that I use on occasion, depending on what I want to cook or carry. Sometimes I'll take it on a day hike, or a camping trip.

As far as a stove, I listed what I bring however; for backpacking trips some folks just use a fire. Using just a fire is great, except when it is pouring rain. I like my little stove, but the downside is the butane/propane fuel that I have to carry. A couple of very popular backpacking stoves are the Jetboil Zip Cooking System and MSR Reactor Stove. A lot of ultralightweight backpackers like alcohol stoves and many construct their own stoves that are better than the ones that you can outright purchase. Watch a video from BackpackingAdventures on YouTube that features construction of two types of alcohol stoves. You can utilize coffee cans for some old fashioned "hobo pots".

We have also switched to alcohol stoves. I now own a Trangia Alcohol Burner but also got a Esbit CS985HA 5-Piece Lightweight Trekking Cook Set with Brass Alcohol Burner Stove and 2 Anodized Aluminum Pots to use on backpacking trips. I already like the difference in weight. The cookset I purchased also uses Esbit 1300 Degree Smokeless Solid Fuel Cubes for Backpacking, Camping and Hobby - 12 Pieces Each 14g as fuel besides alcohol.

You'll need to make sure that your drinking water is clean. The best way to ensure there are no bad germs in your water is by boiling your water. For those of us who do not have the time to wait around boiling water to drink, then we recommend getting a Sawyer Products SP131 PointOne Squeeze Water Filter System with 3 Pouches.

Cordage (Ropes):
I carry at least 50 feet of Paracord Planet Nylon Core 550lb Type III 7 Strand Paracord Made in the USA like just about every other hiker and backpacker in the USA. However, I also follow the Pathfinder School suggestion and carry a roll of #36 Tarred Braided Nylon Twine (Bank Line).

Candles (Flashlights):
Most of the flashlights that I use are the ones you can pick up for FREE (with coupon/purhcase) from Harbor Frieght. They are lightweight, come with batteries and are durable. I also have a Energizer Pro 3 LED Headlamp, although the LE LED Headlamp, 18 White LED and 2 Red LED, 4 Brightness Level Choice, LED Headlamp is a very popular seller. I also carry some Tealight Candles for emergency and sometimes for fun I'll cut open an aluminum can to create a home made lamp.

Cotton (Cloths or bandanas):
I always carry and/or wear a cloth bandana like the Bandanas By The Dozen 100% Cotton 12-Pack 22" x 22". A cloth bandana can be used to cool yourself off, filtering water, cloth bandages, cut strips to use as a wick or fire starter. They do come in handy and are lightweight. Make sure that at least one of your bandanas is bright orange so it can be used for signaling. I just got a Coyote Brown Military Shemagh Arab Tactical Desert Keffiyeh Scarf that I am planning on carrying this year to try it out.

Navagation (GPS, compass, maps):
I personally own a Garmin eTrex Legend HCx Personal Navigator. I am very happy with it, however there many Garmin GPS devises to choose from. The most popular ones include the Garmin eTrex 20 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator, Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator and Garmin GPSMAP 64 Worldwide with High-Sensitivity GPS and GLONASS Receiver. We also suggest a good compass like the Coghlans Map Compass.

Cargo Tape (Duct Tape):
You should always carry some duct tape either in your back pack or wrap some on your hiking sticks. Duct tape can be used as an emergency bandade, a fire starter, to cover blisters, to repair rips in your tarp or tent, etc. We recommend getting 3M Utility Duct Tape 50 yards or Gorilla Tape To-Go.

You should add a couple of heavy duty needles to your kit. The only place that I have found that sells heavy duty needles like a sail or canvas needle is the Self Reliance Outfitters website.

Please check out the page on a regular basis as we will be adding new popular items as we are made aware of them. Be safe out on the trail and happy hiking!
CNY Hiking HOME PAGE Hiking in Central New York Catskill Park Adirondack Park

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