Hikers will sometimes get lost on a trail past sunset, which means bringing a flashlight is essential to finding your way to the trailhead. We take light for granted because we are used to lights assisting on dark streets, roads, and highway. Yet, when you are deep in a forest and its nightfall, the only gentle light source you may have is a full moon. However full moons are not seen every night. It is important to see the smaller details of your trail, your map or to see what's lurking in the bushes. This is why a flashlight comes in handy. As Cody Lunden says “Light takes away fright.”
Be sure to bring extra batteries in the event your primary batteries die. Remember that no matter how much you plan , how well you know the trail, or how closely you keep track of time sometimes you will become sidetracked or disoriented and night fall arrives. This happens when some of us are not paying attention or are unfamiliar with a trail.
While a flashlight is no excuse for staying out later than you should, but if a problem arises, you will be prepared to deal with the situation.
A candle is another light source that you could use to light your way, although not as bright as a flashlight, they can be useful for starting a fire and illuminating your trail. They are multi-useful.
First Aid Supplies
This is an important essential to bring with you on your hike.
In your first aid kit you should have your medication, a few band aids, some gauze pads, alcohol wipes, Neosporin, mosquito repellant, a needle, dental floss, and hand sanitizer. Prepackaged first aid kits are available at most retail stores like Walmart or Target. Double your effectiveness with knowledge: Take a basic first aid class with the American Red Cross or a Wilderness First Aid class, offered by many hiking organizations. Why bring these items? Injuries out in the wild that go untreated can become serious problems.
In the event you trip over a rock and twist your ankle, a thorny branch cuts your arm, mosquito bites, or being bitten by a wild animal. Any possible scenario can mean life or death. If you are bitten by a wild animal it is important to end your hike and immediately take yourself to the hospital. Wild animals can sometimes carry rabies or are poisonous. Not all animals have diseases or are deadly. However, as a rule of thumb treat all wildlife as if they have the potential to be life-threatening. Serious medications are also required such as a diabetic who needs extra insulin, an asthmatic who needs an inhaler.
I suggest bringing band aids for covering small wounds and gauze pads for larger wounds. Neosporin is an antibiotic which is used for scrapes and to prevent infection. Alcohol wipes are used to disinfect wounds. Hand sanitizer is a multi-purpose product and can be used to keep your hands clean, used to start a fire, or to disinfect a wound.
A small first aid kit is invaluable for emergencies while on your hike. A good book to learn about first aid in more...