Whether you’re going on a hike or a camping trip, sometimes the unexpected can happen, and you may find yourself in need of some help. The problem is, if you do happen to be out in the wilderness, help may not be forthcoming. It’s always good to take a survival kit with you on these kinds of wonderful adventures – just in case! We’ve spoken to experts in the field who have given us the essential must-pack items you need in your wilderness survival kit. Items that just might save your life. Read on to find out everything we learned.
1. Fire Starter
Lighting a fire is essential when lost in the wilderness for many reasons. John over at geardisciple.com told us that “the number one tool for survival in the wilderness is fire,” and he couldn’t be more right. Firstly, fire keeps you warm. It may seem obvious, but it’s super important. The heat from a fire could save your life on your very first night alone in the wilderness. In any season, in any location, temperatures can drop dramatically overnight. Having a fire and keeping your body temperature up is essential, especially if you are injured. A simple fire-starting tool will make the job of lighting a fire much easier.
There are other benefits of having a lit fire when alone in the wild. One huge benefit is the smoke. Fire creates smoke, and smoke can help people locate you. If you are lost, and a rescue mission is underway to find you, what could be better than flame and smoke to signal your location. Finally, a fire can help you heat food. Whether it’s tins of food you had brought with you on the trip or some wild food you manage to catch or forage, much of it is unsafe to eat cold. So a fire could save your life and fill your belly.
2. First-Aid Kit
Again, this may seem like an extremely obvious thing to carry on a trip, but you’d be surprised how many people forget. There are first aid kits specifically designed for survival trips available to purchase, but if you don’t have one of these, you should pack one yourself. This kit should include bandages and gauze for dressing any wounds in case of an accident. Also, consider packing topical and medicated ointments to apply to any open wounds, cuts, or grazes. Alcohol pads are also excellent for cleaning wounds or sensitive skin and have many other uses. Splints are a must-have item to support any fractures or broken bones – thick ankles, wrists, and fingers. Finally, some over the counter pain medication in case of fever or illness. All of this can be packed into quite a small bag or part of a camping rucksack, so there’s no excuse not to be carrying it all.
As we have mentioned, when you are out in the wilderness, you are exposed to the elements. Even if you have a blanket or sleeping bag in your pack, you may want more shelter from the wind, rain, or cold. Staying dry is extremely important as dampness leads to cold, which can lead to hypothermia and illness. The problem is, you may not have the time or energy to try and build a shelter from natural materials around you, which is where a tarp comes in handy. With a small amount of string, rope, or even vines, you will be able to tie a tarp up above your sleeping area. Another layer of protection from the elements and a feeling of safety and shelter can do wonders for your survival chances.
Okay, we already know you have got a fire going, but what if you need to travel during the night time? Maybe you need to move away from camp due to an animal, need to forage for food, or simply want to keep moving to try and find your way to safety. You can’t take that fire with you, and if there’s dense vegetation, you might not even have moonlight to guide you. This is where a flashlight or head torch comes in extremely handy. Having a high-grade flashlight with you can help guide you through even the densest of the forest, as well as helping you look around for any threats or issues. Plus, the feeling you get from simply having light whenever you need it will keep your spirits up and help you feel safe, and when alone in the wilderness, you’ll need as many positive feelings as possible!
5. Knife / Multi-Tool
Absolutely no one should travel into the wilderness without a proper knife and multitool. Some prefer to have two separate tools, others prefer a multitool with a blade. Either works and is definitely an essential carry. Having a knife with a good blade can help you whittle firewood, cut vegetation for shelter or food, slash your way through a dense forest, and protect you against animals. You could even kill an animal and prepare it for eating with a proper hunting knife.
If a multitool is more, your style considers purchasing one with a wide variety of features that could help you with all sorts of wilderness tasks. Corkscrews, needles, pens, files, and scissors are all features of many multitools and could all help get out of a variety of sticky situations. Some of these tools will also aid you in using parts of your medical kit more effectively, which is a bonus.
6. Map and Compass
Finally, always ensure you are traveling with a map and compass. You probably do already, but we’re speaking to those who sometimes forget. Even if you aren’t an expert in map reading, with a compass and just one landmark, you can start to find your way out of a location you are stuck in. Even being able to see one mountain in the distance and locating it on your map can help you navigate your way to safety. If you can’t see any landmarks, a compass will help keep you going in one direction, rather than somehow walking in circles (which is surprisingly easy to do!)
So, make sure next time you travel anywhere wild, you have every single one of these items packed. Anyone of them could end up being the tool that saves your life. Enjoy your travels, and most of all, stay safe.