Home Sports & Leisure Colorado 14ers 14er Must Have List

14er must have list

This list is for a day hike and may not be all-inclusive but most likely covers more than most people would take.


Must have list

Emergency shelter- These are usually small aluminum foil looking blankets that weigh a few ounces and fold up to the size of a wallet. You may never need it, but if you do it could save your life.
Garbage Bag- Now you think I'm either crazy or extremly enviromently sound. Actually both, but I carry these because they are so light and compact you can stick it in the back pocket of your pack and forget about it. That is until you need it to wrap around your pack, clothes, body, camera or whatever for water/weather proofing.
Toe and Hand Warmers- I can't tell you how important these are. I use them skiing all the time and they keep my toes from becoming frozen and numb. When hiking you can't just go to the ski lodge so if you get wet socks, or snowy conditions these can keep your extremities from falling off.
Iodine tablets for filtering water. - One thing you need to survive is water, and if even though the mountain streams look fresh they often contain bacteria that can make you severely ill without filtering. These tablets are cheap and can fit into your first aid kit..
Wallet and money- You should have this anyway.

Backpack- Unless you want to try to carry all this stuff in your pockets.
Bottled water- I like to carry 32 ounces of water, and 32 ounces of Gatorade. I also keep some extra in my car to drink just before the hike and for after the hike if I run out.
Food-Power or cliff bars, packed lunch such as sandwich and something salty like chips (the salt help you hold water). Power gels also work for rehydration.
Sunscreen and Chapstick with sunblock- I use 25 SPF or higher, high altitude means less atmosphere to protect you.
Sunglasses with UV protection- Same reason you have sunscreen, your eyeballs can get sun burnt and permanently damaged without them.
Compass- So you know where the heck you are going, and so if you do get lost you won’t go in circles.
Hiking boots and hiking socks- Boots must be high top or you will turn your ankle.
Camera- So everyone will actually believe you made it to the top.
Extra layers of clothing- Bring one more layer than you think you will need.
First aid kit with aspirin, matches, & whistle- If you break a leg and can’t move that whistle can save your life. Other things such as a signal mirror, or emergency beacon can work as well.
Headlamp or flashlight with extra batteries - Get stuck hiking in the woods after dark once and you will never forget this item again.
Rain proof jacket and pants- Can be bought at an outfitter store, weigh practically nothing, and are usually kept in a small compressed bag. This can easily be your extra layer that you think you don’t need until it starts to rain or snow.
Cell phone- If you have it bring it just in case. Many times you will not get a signal at the trailhead but might higher up.
Topo map, and local map- I use Colorado topos and take the page of the area with me on a hike. Also I take a 14er map of the mountain I am hiking www.14ers.com
Gloves- Temperatures can drop 50 degrees in a matter of minutes, gloves keep your hands from becoming frostbitten and can come in handy for rough terrain where you might fall frequently.
Ski mask- Another way to keep warm in emergencies. I have one that is a very thin layer and still keeps you warm, it weighs only an ounce or two.
Multipurpose knife with a good blade- Remember the guy in Utah that had to cut his hand off that was stuck under a rock for 5 days.
Walkie talkies/2-way radio- I bring it in case I get stuck and need to try and contact someone that has one too. Many people in the backcountry use these and mine has weather on it too.
Single dollar bills for parking fees- Some trails do have a fee to park.
Altimeter- Very helpful in navigation, especially after dark or in a snowstorm.
Thermometer- I have a compass/thermometer on my keychain.
Superfeet soles- for your hiking boots.

Optional list and other precautions
Ice axe, and crampons if you are winter hiking.
A helmet- can be helpful on crowded class III and higher routes where rockfall is likely.
Sun hat- the more sun protection the better, I always wear one.
Goggles to protect from blowing snow, or ash if you are on a volcano.
Toilet Paper- hey you never know when nature is going to call, just don't get caught with your pants down.
An extra pair of dry socks is good for wet or snowy days.
Take multivitamin and Vitamin C before and after your hike.
Binoculars- I never use these when I bring them, but they could come in handy.
Be in shape before trying one of these hikes.
Leave early, people die every year after being struck by lighting in afternoon thunderstorms. I got stuck in an electrical storm once and it wasn’t fun.
Take plenty of breaks. You will find your heart is pounding and it is hard to breathe on the way up so don’t overexert yourself or you could have a heart attack. One the way down it is much easier to breathe but harder on your knees and ankles.
If things go wrong it is better to turn around and try another day than to put your life in danger.