For the Camper
1) Have a fire extinguisher and know where it is.
2) Make sure you can change a tire before you leave home.
3) Check tire pressure at least weekly while traveling.
4) Replace trailer tires that are more than 5 years old even if they look fine.
5) Have your wheel bearings repacked periodically (every 2 years at least).
6) If you don’t have brakes on the camper, think about adding them. You might avoid an accident if you can brake hard.
7) Make sure the hitch ball is locked down (look underneath to make sure the ball is all the way up).
8) You might need a hitch lock or wheel lock chock if you leave your camper during the day.
9) Crime is rare in most camp grounds but use common sense.
For the Trail
Think about having the ten essentials (most of these are applicable even for day hikes, especially if you are not close to your vehicle):
1. Navigation. Topographic map and assorted maps in waterproof container plus a magnetic compass, optional altimeter or GPS receiver (your phone may be used for GPS coordinates but is useless if you don’t have a signal).
2. Sun protection. Sunglasses, sunscreen for lips and skin, hat, clothing for sun protection.
3. Insulation and Rain Gear. Hat, gloves, jacket, extra clothing for coldest possible weather during current season. Hypothermia can set in well above freezing, especially if it is raining. Weather can change quickly if you are in the mountains. Goretex or the equivalent is great stuff.
4. Illumination. Headlamp, flashlight, batteries. LED bulb is preferred to extend battery life.
5. First-aid supplies, plus insect repellent.
6. Fire. Butane lighter, matches in waterproof container.
7. Signaling devices, such as a whistle, mobile phone, two-way radio, satellite phone, unbreakable signal mirror or flare, laser pointer.
8. Nutrition. Add extra food in case something goes wrong and you are off the beaten path.
9. Hydration. Obviously, in dry, hot conditions, you will need more water. One quart (liter) for a long day hike is not enough.
10. Emergency shelter. Tarp, bivouac sack, space blanket, plastic tube tent, jumbo trash bags, insulated sleeping pad.
You might want to supplement these with
a. Portable water purification and water bottles. You can save weight on a hike if surface water is available.
b. Repair kit and tools. Knives, multi-tool, scissors, pliers, screwdriver, trowel/shovel, duct tape, cable ties. Probably not necessary for a day hike.
c. If crossing snow or glaciers: an ice axe. This could save your life.
Oh, and by the way, – don’t be the guy on the Appalachian Trail in Maine that needed to be rescued because he was wearing Crocs on his feet!