What's In My Bag?

by Naomy Ramirez, Girls Who Hike Inland Empire Ambassasdor


I find preparing for hikes, or backpacking is an art in and of itself. I, by no means, am
an expert, but I have come to love the process of getting together my gear and picking
through what makes the final cut. I use to get high anxiety about what to take, how much to
take, and how to pack it and luckily, I slowly am getting use to the process.
There are a couple of things that every hiker should take which include an
appropriate sized pack, water, snacks, maps/GPS, among others things listed in the 10
Essentials (https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/ten- essentials.html). However,
instead of reiterating the importance of these items, I wish to share a couple of random
things that I, personally, cannot leave without. It has been with a little trial and error, and
some advice, but here are my own personal list of essentials:

1. Sports Tape

No matter what kind of blister treatment I purchase for myself, I find that they
always fall off. Maybe I have sweaty feet, or I pick the wrong kind of product, but I
have found that sports tape is my go-to when it comes to blisters or “hot-spots” I get
from my shoes. It can definitely be used for quick fixes for other gear as well!

2. Extra Socks

One of my first 10+ mile hikes was at Mt. Lukens and I was testing out new boots. It
was a hot day and I was getting some rubbing on the back of my ankles and decided
to switch out my socks. The tape helped with these sore spots, but I realized that my
feet felt like brand new with some dry, clean socks. I now forever take an extra pair
with me on every hike.

3. Bandana or Buff, maybe both, or four or five.

This is one of those items I freak out about if I do not take with me. I must admit, I
first purchased a buff because I thought it would be cool for my first backpacking
trip. However, it is now one of my favorite multi-use items! I have asthma, so when
the trail is especially dusty, I will use it for a face shield against all the dust, and to
insulate any cold air that may affect my lungs negatively. It is also especially helpful
when the day is hot and you need a cool rag around your neck, or when you need to
wipe your face for whatever reason. For my backpackers out there, bandanas are
also used as pee rags and hung on the packs to dry and to be sterilized by the sun.

4. iPhone Mini Tripod

For my solo hikes, I found it very difficult to take any pictures of myself that were
not your standard selfies. So, I purchased a little tripod from Amazon (less than $20)
that can fit a variety of phones and now use my self-timer!

5. Body Glide for Women

This is a life saver! I am definitely not a “thigh-gap” type of girl and definitely suffer
from what I like to call the #ChubRub. However, I cannot always wear long pants on
my hikes, so I purchased this little gem. I just apply it on my inner thighs, and quite

frankly anywhere that may get some chafing, and go on my merry way. I used it
extensively on my trips to Havasupai and on the Trans-Catalina Trail—so worth it!!

6. Fanny Pack

Last, but no least, my personal favorite. I started off wearing a fanny pack because I
did not want to carry a backpack when I first started hiking. I since learned about
trail safety and take a pack with me everywhere I go now, however, I cannot stop
using a fanny pack. I know it may seem redundant, but it is so useful for me. First, I
can put all the above items within my fanny pack, including chapstick, my phone, or
other snacks. This allows me to have my items ready instead of taking off my pack to
retrieve my items. I also store my small valuables, like money, credit cards, and ID. If
something were to happen, for instance, a flash flood while hiking to Havasupai, or
any event that required me to drop my stuff and run, I would still have these items
strapped to my body. It gives me a peace of mind, but it also saves me time and
allows me to munch on snacks on-the- go!

Naomy Ramirez is one of our Girls Who Hike Inland Empire Ambassadors. You can follow more of her adventures at www.thegnomadheart.com and join her local meetups at http://www.facebook.com/groups/girlswhohikeie/