Research

White Mountains hikers often underprepared

The young and the compassless

Medical student Ryan Mason surveyed hikers in the White Mountains, asking what they had brought along for safety. Only 40 percent were packing at least eight of the 10 essentials: map, compass, knife, rain gear, fire starter, and so forth.

In a new study based on surveys of hikers in New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest, Brown University researchers find that many people hit the trails without essential equipment, often because they don’t think it’s needed for short hikes. Young, inexperienced hikers were most likely to lack essential gear.