As a guy who grew up in south western New York, I don't mind a little snow. However, I'm sure that most if not all of us are ready for some warmer temperatures and may be day dreaming of that little brook trout stream that we like to hike back to. With that being said I thought that since its snowing like crazy outside and I can't get on the water today I can at least play with my gear and give some tips about what makes up a good back country fly fishing kit.
Most people go into the back country on day hikes of fishing trips with the thought of "I don't need to plan or bring much. I'll only be out there for a few hours." I would caution against this form of thinking. The greatest "contributing factor" to people getting in trouble, according to the 2012 NPS National Search and Rescue Report report, were 735 cases which were attributed to insufficient knowledge or bad judgement. There were also 524 instances in which the subjects either had insufficient equipment, clothing, or experience. Always research the area in which you plan to hike into and try to acquire a map. Also, make sure that someone back home knows where you are going and when you plan to be back. This ensures that somebody will come looking for you if you get stuck out there. Cell phones don't get service everywhere!
There are some obvious items in a back country day pack but there may be a few items that I like to carry that you may not have thought of or didn't know existed. I guess the most obvious piece of gear is a day pack. There are some great day packs out there as well as some cool sling pack styles by Vedavoo and Zimmerbuilt. Pick one that has the features that you like and go with it.
Another thing that you may want to take with you is a source of water. You may prefer a hydration bladder and that is not a bad idea as I use one a lot. However, you may want to pair this up with a small filtration device like the aquamira frontier pro. I have started using a small metal bottle because this can also be used as a vessel to boil water in if needed.
First Aid and Fire
It may seem silly to mention a first aid kit since to most its also a given. I choose to make my own by using a couple aloksak and adding in items that I have. Although, there are some great kits from Adventure Medical Kits. Make sure that if you are any prescription medications that you have some with you as well. You should also have some way to start a fire. Weather its a way to dry some gear and stay warm or to boil some water for food or to clean a wound. This can be as simple as a "baby Bic lighter" or a nice flint and steel like the fire steel scout.
Something that most people probably haven't thought of is shelter of some kind. I'm not talking about hauling your four person tent on a day hike. There are some great lightweight items that you can bring to keep you warm and dry if you end up having to spend the night in the woods. Even a good light weight rain jacket can keep you warm and dry. One item that I have and love is my Sea to Summit poncho tarp. I like that I can also use it as my rain gear so I don't need to carry a rain jacket. I pair this up with my SOL bivvy which makes a great shelter combo and gives me something to get in if my clothes are wet and I'm drying them by the fire.
Some other items that you may want to include in your pack are things like toilet paper, bug spray, head lamp, and a good knife. This kit is by no means the ultimate kit so expand on this as you wish. Its better to be little over prepared than not prepared at all.
I hope this post wasn't too long and also hope that everyone got something out of it. Maybe I reminded you to check the batteries in your head lamp or introduced you to a cool new piece of gear.
See you on the trail,