Going hiking? Make sure to take these things with you

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PHOENIX -- Arizona is a hiker's haven. There's a trail for everyone and it's always a beautiful day for a hike -- somewhere in the state.

Before you hit the trail, though, you need to make sure you're properly prepared.

Robert Stieve, editor-in-chief of Arizona Highways, suggests you carry several items in your backpack.

  • Pen and paper
  • Whistle
  • Waterproof matches
  • First-aid kit
  • Pocketknife or multitool
  • Extra clothing
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Water
  • Compass (a GPS device does not replace a compass)
  • GPS device
  • Fire starter or tinder kit
  • Pocket flashlight (with spare batteries)
  • Extra food
  • Space blanket (lightweight emergency shelter)
  • Insect repellent

And then there are the 10 commandments of hiking.

  1. Never hike alone.
  2. Tell someone where you're hiking, the route you'll be taking and when you'll be home.
  3. Carry identification (driver's license, etc.) and the name and telephone number of whom to call in case of emergency
  4. Before you leave home, check the forecast and pay attention to the weather while you're on the trail.
  5. Study the maps before you go, and always carry a compass, not just a GPS.
  6. On the trail, know where you're going and where you are in relation to the map you're carrying.
  7. Take plenty of food, and carry more water than you think you'll need.
  8. There's no such thing as too much sunscreen.
  9. Don't overestimate your abilities.
  10. Adhere to the "Leave No Trace" principles.

Arizona Highways magazine's fifth-annual hiking issue spotlights 10 amazing trails. It's on newsstands now.