What I put in my daypack for a short hike in the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness

Our tours can last up to five hours and covers 4 to 5 miles of walking. Depending on weather, below are items I take:



The wilderness is open year-round. The weather and what you wear are always factors for keeping hydrated. Extreme heat over 38 degree Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) is common during late spring and throughout the summer. Winter and some Fall days have blowing winds nearing freezing temperatures. Dress in layers.

It’s important to know cotton clothing does poorly when hiking. For example, denim clothing is cotton, and when wet, will retain moisture. Cotton will draw your body heat away, and if in cold temperatures, freeze, speeding symptoms for hypothermia. Wearing wool or polyester fabrics is recommended. I like to wear sun protection (UPF) clothing during hikes for UV protection, sunburn, and to keep cool/warm.

Hardened sinkholes, loose footing, and small land bridges are common throughout the wilderness. Not watching where you step might bring a visit from local emergency service personnel, or worse, being stuck and immobile for hours or days.

If you turn enough corners, you will quickly lose your sense of direction.  I like to take handheld 2-way radios and give one to travel guest(s). Some guests want to wander out of sight for either a restroom break, get a glimpse around the corner, and photographers love extra shots everywhere. If entering the wilderness alone, a compass & map and/or a GPS mobile app is recommended. Remember, the wilderness is 167 square kilometers (65 square miles) of badlands.

Salty and sweet snacks are great while out walking. I like to pack jelly beans and snack bars. I also have electrolyte gels.

Don’t forget your camera! Travel guests have high-end equipment and gear that I help carry. Smart phone photography is popular or you can simply take in the moment.

Have a wonderful time in the Bisti!