For Dr. Tyler Buckley, “be prepared” is more than a mantra.
Yet it’s a motto that he’s all too familiar with. The Wenatchee, WA, resident has spent most of his life as a member of the Boy Scouts of America. He earned the prestigious honor of Eagle Scout. Through the organization, he fostered a passion for community service. Yet it also taught him the importance of preparation and thoughtful planning.
This is a skill that has been invaluable to his professional life. Tyler Buckley is a board-certified medical doctor, specializing in oncology, hematology, and internal medicine. His drive and determination helped propel him to the top of his class. In addition to publishing multiple peer-reviews and scientific studies in his field, Dr. Tyler Buckley’s commitment to healthcare has taken him to some rural destinations in the Northwest. Here, he’s provided experienced cancer care to underserved areas in need.
But even Tyler Buckley needs a break. When the doctor isn’t saving lives, he’s likely hitting the trails. As a scout, he forged an appreciation for the outdoors that has carried into adulthood. Hiking has been especially rewarding. Yet he never sets off on his next journey without a plan. Being prepared is just in his nature. With this in mind, Dr. Buckley packs up these five must-haves when hiking.
Don’t trust your sense of direction alone. Always travel with some form of navigation. While countless digital tools can help, nothing replaces a physical map. Pick one up at any ranger station, park office, or at the start of each trailhead. Along with a compass, these are the most reliable.
Food & Water
You won’t be able to fit a four-course meal into your backpack. But you need to throw in some snacks. Jerky, nuts, and energy bars are easy to eat on the trail. Bring at least two liters of water per day. However, adjust this amount based on the weather, intensity, and length of your hike.
Nothing screams “be prepared,” like a set of emergency supplies. Pre-packed first-aid kits are a perfect place to begin. Personalize these by adding in other items you might need. Lighters, matches, flares, and whistles are strong additions. Consider carrying emergency shelter options, like a space blanket or tarp.
Tree canopies won’t keep you covered from the elements. As Tyler Buckley points out, increased sun exposure can result in premature skin aging or cancer. Pack sunglasses and sun-protective clothing to prevent sunburn. A sunscreen of SPF 30 that protects against UVA and UBA rays is recommended.
A knife is for more than just cutting. In a pinch, it helps with food prep, gear repair, first aid, and making kindling for a fire. For this reason, each person in your group should be equipped with their own knife. However, you don’t need to go overboard. Start simple and purchase more complex knives only as the difficulty of your hike increases.