The 11 Essentials for Hiking in the Guadalupe Mountains

Heading out for a hike in Guadalupe Mountains National Park? Make sure you pack the 10 Essentials (plus one)!

The Ten Essentials

The 10 Essentials are a collection of first aid and emergency items that can help you in the event of minor injuries, sudden weather changes, or unexpected delays. The 10 Essentials are only the basic items you should have with you. You may need additional items depending on the activity in which you participate (e.g. life jacket, bug spray, personal locator beacon). Visit the park's website to learn more about the park and your activity before you head out.

The cover of an amplifier showing knobs that go to eleven.


These Go To Eleven

Nothing can spoil a trip in the Guadalupe Mountains Wilderness as quickly as the discovery of human waste or toilet paper at a prime camping spot or along the trail. To protect the environment, yourself, and other hikers, we've added an eleventh essential: Toiletries.

Thank you for doing your part in keeping yourself and others safe!


The 10 Essentials are organized into ten categories, or systems1 . We've added an eleventh essential to address something that everyone does but often overlooks.
Photo of a compass and map

NAVIGATION — Map, compass, and GPS system

Navigation systems are used when planning your route before your trip, and when you need help orienting yourself in your surroundings during your activity. Know how to use a topographical or relief map as well as your compass or GPS unit before going out.
Illustration of a hat and sunglasses

SUN PROTECTION — Sunglasses, sunscreen, and hat

Sun protection is necessary to protect your skin and eyes against harsh UV rays that are responsible for sunburns and skin cancer. Consider using sunglasses, sunscreen, and hats. Sun-protection clothing such as pants and long sleeve shirts can also help minimize your exposure to the sun.

Illustration of gloves and a jacket

INSULATION — Jacket, hat, gloves, rain shell, and thermal underwear

Nature is unpredictable. Be prepared for sudden changes in weather conditions. Pack an extra layer of clothing that reflects the most extreme conditions you could encounter.

Illustration of a flashlight and lantern

ILLUMINATION — Flashlight, lanterns, and headlamp

Lighting is indispensable in the outdoors where no conventional light sources can be found. Items include flashlights, lanterns, and headlamps. Headlamps are the preferred light source because they are hands-free. Be sure to pack extra batteries.

Illustration of First-Aid Kit


Be prepared for emergencies by packing first-aid supplies with you. Start with a pre-made kit and modify it to fit your trip and your medical needs. Check the expiration date on all items and replace them as needed. Consider including an emergency guide in case you are faced with an unfamiliar medical emergency.

Illustration of a lighter and pair of matches

FIRE — Matches, or a lighter

Pack matches or a lighter for starting your cooking stove. Familiarize yourself with the fire use regulations before heading out: Wood or camp fires of any kind are prohibited in the Guadalupe Mountains.

Illustration of multi-purpose pocketknife and duct tape

REPAIR KIT AND TOOLS — Duct tape, knife, screwdriver, and scissors

Carry a basic repair kit with you to help repair equipment. The kit should include items such as duct tape, a knife, and scissors. Consider packing a multi-tool, a compact version of many tools that can include a knife, screwdriver, can opener, etc. Be sure to bring any tools specific to your trip and your activity.
Illustration of an apple and variety of nuts


You should always be prepared for the possibility of changes to your trip plans. Pack an extra day's supply of food, preferably no-cook items that have good nutritional value in order to keep your energy high. Salty and easy to digest snacks (e.g. trail mix, nuts, and granola bars) work well for outdoor activities.
Simple line drawing of a reusable water bottle for hiking

HYDRATION – Water for everyone in your group

Staying hydrated on your trip is of utmost importance! Physical activity increases your risk of dehydration (loss of water and salts from the body), which can lead to negative health consequences. If you’re active outdoors, especially in hot weather, you should drink water often and before you feel thirsty. Prepare your water before you need it and do not allow yourself to become dehydrated. At the Guadalupe Mountains, plan on carrying all of your water - at least one gallon per person, per day.

Illustration of a tent

EMERGENCY SHELTER – Tent, space blanket, tarp, and bivy

Shelter is one of the most important elements during an emergency survival situation. It can protect you from severe weather conditions and exposure to the elements. A tent, tarp, bivy sack, or emergency space blanket are all light weight options for emergency shelter.

A simple icon showing a roll of toilet paper

TOILETRIES — Toilet paper, Wipes, and landfill-safe commercial toilet bags

Always use the restroom before hiking. If you are on the trail for the day or an extended trip, be prepared to pack out human waste, toilet paper, diapers, and hygiene products. Human waste disposal bags are required to transport solid waste. In areas more than a quarter of a mile from restroom facilities, and all areas inside the Wilderness boundary, all solid human waste, feminine hygiene products, and toilet paper must be carried out in a landfill-safe commercial toilet bag.

1. The Ten Essentials system was developed by The Mountaineers, and additional details can be found in the book Mountaineering: The Freedom of the HiIls, 8th Edition, 2010.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Last updated: August 14, 2023