A well-stocked survival kit while hiking can be the difference between life and death.
If you are planning a light day hike, there are certain essentials you should carry with you. The trick is to bring what you need without being overburdened. For starters, you'll need a day pack or large fanny pack; good, broken-in hiking boots or trail shoes; and socks that don't chafe (thin synthetic socks or liners under hiking socks are a good choice). You'll want to wear comfortable clothes, such as long pants with removable "legs" that can be transformed into shorts. Leave the cotton at home; it stays wet from sweat and rain, which can contribute to hypothermia.
Here is a list of other items you'll need in your survival kit:
A compass - this may seem unnecessary for a light day hike, but this small, lightweight item can help if you become lost or disoriented.
First aid kit - fill a small zippered, waterproof pouch, bag, or daypack pocket with band-aids, moleskin, first-aid tape and ointment, an ace bandage, mosquito repellent, a snake bite kit, and aspirin.
Flashlight or headlamp and extra bulbs/batteries - you may get caught on the trail after dark or need to signal for help.
Food - for an all day hike, you'll need a lunch, plus several snacks. Energy bars and gels are lightweight and keep you going. Other options that don't weigh a lot or take up a lot of room in your pack are tortillas or pita bread, dry salami or jerky, string cheese, fruit leather, small bags of baby carrots, and small boxes of raisins or other dried fruit.
A map - even if you know the trail, a map is a lightweight item that can help you locate water sources, and an exit route or place to camp in case of an emergency.
Rain gear and extra clothing - the weather can change rapidly, particularly at high elevations. Lightweight rain gear can be stuffed in a pack (the best folds up into itself to make a compact "package"). Long underwear (capilene or another high-tech, fast drying, sweat-wicking fabric) is lightweight but adds warmth. A fleece or other lightweight hat keeps body heat from escaping through your head.
Sunscreen, sunglasses, and a sun hat - again, the weather can change. Plus, you can get sunburned on a cloudy day - especially at high elevations and where there is snow. Sunglasses are especially important in snowy areas to prevent snowblindedness. A well-ventilated, lightweight sun hat with a brim can provide enough shade to keep you from overheating and provide further protection against sunburn.
A swiss army knife or multi-purpose tool - the best ones have scissors, tweezers, small screwdriver, can opener, and knives in various sizes.
Waterproof/windproof matches in a sealed container or ziploc bag - in an emergency, a fire can prevent hypothermia and can be used to signal for help.
Water/water filter - hiking guides recommend a minimum of one liter per person per day of hiking. However, the minimum is increased to up to one gallon per person in hot, dry areas and during the summer months. Carrying a gallon of water in heavy water bottles is cumbersome; options include a hydration system that you wear like a backpack with a tube that you drink from while walking, or you can carry a water filter if there are water sources on your route and purify drinking water along the way. Never drink untreated water even if it looks clean.
These other items are optional, but can be useful if you have room in your pack and/or don't mind the extra weight:
Extra socks - a fresh pair of socks can energize you for the return trip.
Field guides - bird books, wild edible plant guides, tree guides, etc.
Gaiters - these can be useful if your hike takes you through snow, especially on a warm day when you are wearing shorts.
Gloves - a pair of lightweight, capilene or wool gloves can come in handy if the weather turns cold.
Mosquito netting - a piece of netting to wear over your head and cover your face can mean the difference between a miserable day and a tolerable one.
Notebook and pen or pencil.
A tarp - this can be used to sit on if the ground is wet, to build a shelter to sleep under, and as additional protection from bad weather.
Trekking poles - these provide added stability and balance. Telescoping poles are fairly lightweight and can be stored in your pack when not needed.
Ziploc bags - a couple of these thrown into your pack always come in handy for packing out trash, storing leftover food, and a number of other uses.
Skirt suits are the standard for conservative business dressing and can be worn to weddings and parties.
The skirt suit has a dressy, classic appeal that cannot be matched by a dress or even a slacks suit. This appeal makes it an appropriate style for many occasions.
When interviewing for a business job, one should dress according to the job they want, not the job they have. A skirt suit will present a professional appearance. When applying to work in a conservative office, stick with navy, gray, brown, or black in a wool or wool blend. The jacket should be tailored and single-breasted. The skirt should be about knee-length and not have slits. Choose a nice silk or synthetic blouse in a neutral or pastel shade which has a simple neckline or collar. Choose a blouse with sleeves in case you need to remove your jacket. Your outfit should fit snugly but not too tight.
Keep accessories simple and elegant. Wear hose in a skin tone, and make sure they have no runs or snags. Shoes should be dark-colored and dressy, with 1 or 1-1/2 inch heels, but avoid straps and sandals. Wear a matching leather belt. For a bag, carry either a conservative handbag or a nice leather briefcase, but not both. Limit jewelry to one pair of earrings, a nice watch, no more than one ring on each hand, and a simple necklace. A silk scarf in a conservative print is acceptable as a feminine accent. A 34-inch square scarf is the most versatile. Make-up should be minimal.
For business dressing, invest in the best skirt suit you can afford. Accessories should also be top quality. Shop around because prices vary widely. A new college graduate can anticipate spending around $1000 on her working wardrobe.
A serious skirt suit is also the correct apparel for court matters, whether you are the attorney, defendant, or a member of the jury. A skirt suit suggests authority and responsibility and indicates that you are too serious about the matter at hand to dress in a casual, care-free manner, or in a way that would draw attention to yourself. Government office jobs also call for this type of traditional attire.
If working in a less conservative, office setting, such as a bank or insurance office, the skirt suit may be more colorful and less austere. Here a double-breasted jacket would be appropriate. Always keep a double-breasted jacket buttoned. An unconstructed jacket, one that fits loosely and is left open, can be worn with a matching or contrasting skirt and is acceptable as well. Again, accessories should be simple, although you can get away with a cheerful holiday pin or other bold jewelry.
Dressy skirt suits are also proper attire for attending a wedding. If a wedding is scheduled in the morning or afternoon, the suit may be more casual than if the wedding is in the evening. For an afternoon wedding, choose a pastel or brightly-colored suit, or even a floral. Fabric should match the season, with lighter cottons such as seersucker or linen blends being appropriate for spring and summer. In the fall or winter, heavier, textured fabrics in jewel-tone colors are attractive.
For an evening wedding, a long, dressy suit is becoming, especially if formal attire is requested on the invitation. The color should be darker and more sophisticated than what you would choose for a morning or afternoon wedding. The suit can be made of velvet (in the fall or winter) or another evening fabric. For an elegant look, carry an evening bag instead of your regular handbag. The mothers of the bride and groom can match their look to the color scheme of the wedding. Generally black is not worn to weddings, but this is a custom that is changing. If in doubt, check with the bride.
Another occasion where a skirt suit is appropriate is an evening party, such as those held around the holidays. A suit that is worn at work all day can be transformed into party attire by changing to a sequined blouse and strappy high-heeled sandals and leaving the jacket open. Add some dangling earrings or other sparkling jewelry to dress up your look. For a formal or "black tie" evening party, you may wear an elegant suit with a floor-length skirt.
A nice skirt suit is always appropriate for attending religious services. A stylish matching hat looks great with a suit, for those who enjoy wearing hats. Ruffles and a feminine silhouette work well for these occasions.
In days past, brides often chose a neat, pastel-colored skirt suit as a traveling outfit. These days, a suit hardly seems to be the best choice for taking off on one's honeymoon, and brides are choosing more casual apparel for this purpose. Even so, a skirt suit is a valuable and versatile addition to any woman's wardrobe.
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