Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Do you carry redundant backups of critical gear?
Display Avatars Sort By:
Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
Do you carry redundant backups of critical gear? on 08/13/2012 19:36:04 MDT Print View

I was in the wilderness last week with a defective lighter and it made me think that for critical gear I should either:

1. have some sort of backup that I can bushcraft into a functional item. Tent stakes are a good example. If your forget your nice titanium stakes you can always craft one out of wood or stones.

2. Have VERY good survival skills so I can make fire in any type of insane situation.

Thoughts? Do you carry any backup gear?

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
Re Do you carry redundant backups of critical gear? on 08/13/2012 20:09:19 MDT Print View

Yes I carry redundant gear but not as much as I used to. I always have 2, sometimes 3, firestarters. (Mini-bic, matches, firesteel) and usually two knives (one standard, one small). In my efforts to go UL I have eliminated a ton of redundancies (I followed the "always be prepared" motto to the extreme) but when the result of a loss or a failure could be my life, I don't fool around with an oz or two of weight- I carry it. I try to be smart about it though- if I'm carrying a shelter with me, than carrying an emergency shelter isn't necessary. So I pared down my PSK (personal survival kit) for backpacking, and I beef the PSK back up for day hikes so that I'm prepared to overnight it if I have to.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Do you carry redundant backups of critical gear? on 08/13/2012 20:40:00 MDT Print View

For critical gear, yes, I carry backups. I always carry an extra memory card and extra battery for my camera. I can't make it more critical than that.


chris Nelson

Locale: San Francisco
Re: Re: Do you carry redundant backups of critical gear? on 08/13/2012 20:44:52 MDT Print View

Always a backup fire starter and extra knife. The 2nd knife is in my multi tool. I feel with a knife and fire you can survive most situations.

Greg F
(GregF) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Redundant Gear on 08/13/2012 20:51:10 MDT Print View

I look at it from a will I die if I am without this item and I dont think there are any. The number one thing that could put me in a life threatening situation from gear failure iis a soaked down sleeping bag. But as long as I can start a fire I would be okay. If a tent pole breaks you can use a branch or a make shift bivy out of the failed tent. So i invest some weight in a dry bag to keep the down gear dry. I also take wp matches and cotton soaked in vasoline to back up the mini bic.

Other than that most things can be improvised.

Dale Whitton
(dwhitton) - M

Locale: Sydney
Trip Length on 08/13/2012 21:59:59 MDT Print View

I think it partly depends on how long the hike is. I would treat an overnighter in terrain I'm familiar with differently to a multi - day trip. Also party size is a consideration. I'm less worried about gear failure when I can borrow / rely on a hiking buddy's stuff.

With that said, I've been thinking about adding a back up compass. On longer trips I'll take my glasses with me (I wear contact lenses). A fire starter also gets added to my bic lighter.

Most importantly an extra liter of wine is included for longer trips. I ran out of that once. It wasn't pretty.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Do you carry redundant backups of critical gear? on 08/13/2012 22:07:18 MDT Print View

You bet! I have several ways of starting a fire, a backup compass that is built into my K&M match case, a Swiss Army Classic for a backup to my 3.5" folding knife (plus the extra tools), a AAA LED flashlight in concert with a headlamp. I have Micro Pur tablets to supplement my water filter and there is a folded plastic water bag in the crown of my Tilley hat :)

Gimme a C!
Gimme a Y!
Gimme an A!

What's that spell? Prepared ;)

David A
(DavidAdair) - M

Locale: West Dakota
Re: Do you carry redundant backups of critical gear? on 08/13/2012 22:26:52 MDT Print View

I used to carry a couple mini Bics as well as books of paper matches tucked away in the various small Ziploc (FAK, toiletries etc). No coffee? Yikes! Since I discovered that I can drink Via cold I feel much more secure.

What I really need is a back up spoon since I frequently forget to bring one. geez

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: Do you carry redundant backups of critical gear? on 08/13/2012 22:46:44 MDT Print View

Summer: I carry 2 mini bic lighters - although I have never had one fail in 20 years of carrying them.

Snow trips - I carry backup sunglasses, which are slightly different than my main pair - better for flat light conditions but not as dark - so they are both backup and a good option for some conditions. I don't even want to think about being at high altitude on the snow on a sunny day without shades. I also carry backup liner gloves, as I lost one once, on a trip where I had two pairs because I was trying to decide which I liked better, and was darn glad I had a backup.

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
Do you carry redundant backups of critical gear? on 08/13/2012 22:53:25 MDT Print View

The only backup gear I bring is a extra 24oz beer just in case the first one spills. Very precious gear indeed!

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: spoons on 08/13/2012 22:54:29 MDT Print View

David wrote, "What I really need is a back up spoon since I frequently forget to bring one."

Checklists save my bacon! That and making sure everything gets back where it belongs when I have cleaned up after a trip. I also have a storage tub labeled "pack ready" that has the core stuff I need for every trip.

As to spoons, my folding one fits in the pot with the stove, canister and mini-Bic. You could whittle some chopsticks or even a spoon.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Do you carry redundant backups of critical gear? on 08/13/2012 23:16:35 MDT Print View

Interesting. "Critical" gear is obviously a pretty subjective thing.

Firestarters and knives seem very important to everyone. I could go without either of those on just about any backpacking trip and be perfectly fine.

When backpacking I consider my "critical" gear to be my sleeping bag, insulated clothing, raingear, shelter, etc. Basically stuff that will keep me from dying of exposure, scorching in the heat, or shivering all night.

But for the typical (non 4 season) backpacking trip, no firestarter would simply mean no coffee or hot food and no knife means no slicing salami and cheese. I think I'd survive, though I hear biting cheese straight off the block can be BRUTAL and I do know that caffeine headaches suck.

I consider a firestarter and knife to be very important as part of a PSK to be carried while distance trail running or hiking or adventure racing, but in conjunction with a full backpacking kit I actually don't find them all that necessary.

So no, I typically don't carry any backups on backpacking trips.

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Do you carry redundant backups of critical gear? on 08/13/2012 23:19:18 MDT Print View

In a word, no. Well, maybe

Redundant = No longer needed or useful; superfluous.
(of words or data) Able to be omitted without loss of meaning or function.

Taking the definition into account- nothing redundant.

>Extra matches/fire-steel = The PNW is a wet place to try and start a fire, can be done but would rather carry a few extra grams then spend all my energy with a bow drill or the like.

>AquaMira tablets= In case my water cleaning equipment malfunctions- I could just boil so you could say these are redundant.

>Extra knife= no, my Swiss army classic has work for 5 years, never needed anything else. If I needed something bigger I would just use a fractured rock or the like.

>Like was said above = my tarp or tent is my emergency shelter

>My clothing is my extra clothing= layering solves any issues here

>Rain gear= I live in the PNW, rain gear is given out at birth

>Map= only the area I need

>Compass= if it stops working I can work with what nature has provided

>Extra food= 1 cliff bar or the like, nothing else needed.

>First aid kit= 2 oz. nothing redundant here except maybe 1 too many bandiads. I've only used 2 bandaids while hiking in 5 years. I just re-stocked- the old ones were looking rather shabby

>TP= I've had the same 8 ft in my pack for 4 years- maybe that's redundant

In the Cascades, east of Seattle if you get lost or run out of something, all you have to do is walk south and within 30 miles you will cross a major highway (north and south of that its 50 miles). So you are within at most a 2 day hike from a major food/supply source. Redundancy can really be cut in this area. Just keep walking south and drink some water- you'll be just fine.

I do have a problem with carrying way too many flies for fishing but like Bob said- my flies are critical gear no matter how many I bring. I never want to run out of the one that happens to work and you sometimes never no what that one might be.

Edited by bestbuilder on 08/13/2012 23:23:01 MDT.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Do you carry redundant backups of critical gear? on 08/13/2012 23:35:06 MDT Print View

I carry a few "just in case" stuff -- but the one redundant (meaning duplicate) piece is a second BIC lighter.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Do you carry redundant backups of critical gear? on 08/13/2012 23:38:20 MDT Print View

A few small things. One is either a second mini-Bic or a book of paper matches. I also carry a few of those REI Stormproof matches for emergencies along with a little fire starter, although i rarely, if ever, build a fire. I suspect that Jack London's "To Build a Fire" is in the minds of many of us! The second is backup for my water filter, in the form of two days' worth of Katadyn Micropur. The third is several large safety pins--in addition to first aid (pin sleeve to shirt to make an arm sling), they also can substitute for a broken zipper or missing buttons (when I was a kid, safety pins were known as "Wyoming buttons.") The fourth is backup sunglasses, the ones the eye doc gives you when he dilates your eyes. Mine are a wraparound piece of film, and would be useful underneath my regular sunglasses (which don't have side protection) if I were on a snowfield. Finally, if it looks like a soggy trip with not much drying opportunity, I'll take a third pair of socks.

Wearing all my clothing at once and wrapped up in my tent, I could survive a cold wet night if the tent blew down/ripped and my sleeping bag got soaked. I probably wouldn't be comfortable, but I'd survive! However, that's not taking anything but my normal clothing and gear.

Just thought of another one--around my neck on a cord, with compass and whistle, is one of those little pinch mini-LED lights. It has saved my bacon a few times when I couldn't find my headlamp in the dark (one time my dog was sleeping on it!).

Edited by hikinggranny on 08/13/2012 23:45:37 MDT.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Do you carry redundant backups of critical gear? on 08/13/2012 23:38:21 MDT Print View

I carry a neck knife with some fire starter and a tiny firesteel. I am going to add some water pur tabs to it. I keep it on my neck at all times. I don't even touch it. I have my mora knife as a main knife. If I get caught in a dangerous current and need to ditch my pack, and end up soaking wet and cold with a cold night approaching, having that thing on my neck could mean life or death. Fire to keep me warm and my little neck knife and a baton can knock down saplings and branches for a shelter.

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
Long day on 08/13/2012 23:57:17 MDT Print View

My mini Bic nearly ran out of fuel this morning trying to start a fire in the rain, I am definitley going to carry an extra lighter now...

20 miles later and a decent rainstorm and im still alive though.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F

Locale: NW Montana
Re: mini Bic on 08/14/2012 00:33:06 MDT Print View

I had a mini-Bic fail on me recently. For some reason, the striker wasn't getting good contact, and thus no sparks. The fuel level was fine. It made me glad that I carry an extra always. It's one of the few pieces that I have a back-up for. I could get by if it failed, but I wouldn't want to, especially for 0.4 oz.

I also keep an extra set of contacts with me. Other than that, not much is redundant. I either expect to improvise or just deal until I get back. Of course, I usually can't get out for more than two--three if I'm lucky--days at a time right now, so that factors in. Hopefully that will change next summer when my course load slows down, and I can be out for longer. I'll re-evaluate then.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Do you carry redundant backups of critical gear? on 08/14/2012 00:41:23 MDT Print View

Mini Bic, Derma Knife, extra socks (thin coolmax ), head light and in winter gloves and beanie.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Re: Do you carry redundant backups of critical gear? on 08/14/2012 04:54:41 MDT Print View

I always try to think through and plan ahead for whatever trail I'll be hiking. I leave a detailed itinerary noting planned stops. And yes I carry my non smart, old school, tiny cell phone to be able to "phone home". I was recently made aware of just how important being able to phone home can be when the stuff hits the fan.

After all that has been done, Dale and I spell prepared in the same way, C Y A!

In my FAK is extra water treatment tabs, an extra mini Bic lighter along with a book of "waterproof" matches.

I carry a small flat LED light in addition to my 1 oz Atom head lamp. I change the batteries out for new ones prior to a trip but I do carry spares (thin, flat coin style) for my headlamp as Lazarus and I seem to have a penchant for hiking after dark. ;-)

I used to carry a small knife and a small pair of scissors but I have since started carrying a Leatherman Micra "multi-tool" which includes both a knife blade and scissors.

I'm a bottle baby.

Early Newton LOL ;-)

I don't like or use hydration reservoirs. I do however carry spare, roll up, collapsible water storage bottle(s) dependent upon where I am hiking.

Party On,