30 Things to Include in Your Wilderness Survival Pack or Kit
Exploring the wilderness or camping is great fun and a marvelous experience. However, what would you do if you were to take a wrong turn or lose your map? Suddenly your wonderful adventure is daunting.
Sleeping under the stars becomes tossing and turning to the “soothing” sounds of wild animals; roughing the weather is now a battle for survival against the elements; a spectacular hike turns into a seemingly endless hunt for civilization. If you’re not prepared for its risks, nature can pose a great threat to you; that’s why it’s beneficial to carry a survival pack. No two survival kits are the same (read more about lightweight backing or minimalistic backing), but following is a basic idea of 30 things to include in your wilderness survival pack.
- Compass: It’s easy to lose track of your direction in the wilderness. A compass will keep you on track and prevent you from becoming lost.
- Cell phone: Cell signals in the wilderness are unpredictable and often nonexistent, but nevertheless you should carry your cell phone with you at all times in case of emergency. There’s a chance that you may get a cell signal right when you need it.
- Whistle: Blowing your whistle will alert potential rescuers to your location before you even know they’re nearby. A whistle is more reliable than shouting, as the voice can grow weary after time.
- Walkie-Talkie: Walkie-talkies do not require cell signals, making them the perfect wilderness communication device. If you have a companion, a walkie-talkie will help you find one another if you are separated.
- Flashlight: Starlit wilderness skies may be beautiful, but the moon and stars aren’t going to sufficiently light your path. A flashlight is an ideal source of light during dark wilderness nights, and it can also be used to frighten away wild animals lurking nearby. Don’t forget to bring extra batteries.
- Matches: Whether you’ve fallen headfirst into the river, or have to endure a chilling night in the wilderness, a fire may be crucial to your survival. It’s also useful for lighting and cooking purposes.
- Steel wool: Steel wool is a convenient form of kindling, as it can be ignited, even when wet, by a mere spark or flame.
- Cigarette lighter: It’s always a good idea to have a backup plan in case your matches run out, become drenched, or simply don’t work. The same goes for matches in case your lighter malfunctions. Your lighter can also be used to sanitize equipment for tending wounds.
- Small Candles or Crayons: You may find it hard to believe that crayons could be useful in the wilderness, but if you light a crayon on fire, the flame will linger for anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes. Both also prove extremely useful if your flashlight batteries die, you have trouble making a torch, or you cannot find kindling for your fire.
- Rope: The uses for rope are endless. Make a clothesline for wet garments, create a sling for injuries, build a trip wire to guard your night camp, secure belongings, craft a fishing pole, or use it to repel down cliffs, if necessary. A paracord survival bracelet is a convenient method of packing rope.
- Duct Tape: Although many of the uses for duct tape can be accomplished just as well with paracord rope, duct tape is still useful in its own right. Use it to reinforce or repair what you’ve made with your paracord, mend clothing and shoes, create a splint or bandage, build a shelter, or make a bug-trap.
- Bug Spray: Bugs and insects, especially mosquitoes, can spread diseases. Even harmless creatures can be obnoxious, biting or stinging and leaving itchy red welts that will drive you crazy. It is a shame that you cannot take along a top of the range bug zapper – but that would be cheating (and they are a bit too heavy)!
- Mosquito Net: There’s almost nothing worse than being swarmed by mosquitoes. A mosquito net is a lifesaver.
- Bivouac Sack: This is a small, lightweight, portable shelter that will protect you from the elements. It is an alternative to carrying a heavy tent or building your own shelter.
- Rain Poncho: A poncho will keep you dry during a rainstorm. It can also double as a tarp, or even a shelter if you’re resourceful.
- Extra Clothes: Hats, sunglasses, socks, underwear, bandanas, a fleece sweater, a weatherproof jacket, and anything else that you think will help you fend off the weather. Keep extra gloves in your survival kit at all times. One pair will keep your hands warm, while another will keep your hands safe from bacteria if you have to handle wounds or raw meat.
- Pocketknife or survival knife: Keep your pocketknife with you at all times in the wilderness. Cut yourself free if you become tangled in your paracord or in thorns, or use duct tape or paracord to tie your knife to a stick as a makeshift spear for self-defense or hunting purposes.
- Survival Handbook: To be totally prepared, purchase a survival handbook. Such books discuss how to build shelters and fires, obtain food, and purify water with limited resources. These handbooks may also include guides to finding edible plants and treating common wounds and injuries.
- Small First Aid Kit: A first aid kit may very well save your life. You can find many resources both online and in books that discuss what to include in your first aid kit. Common contents are bandages, cotton swabs, thermometer, antibiotic ointment, saline, alcohol swabs, burn cream, aspirin, sunscreen, gauze, adhesive tape, tweezers, rubber gloves, a compact sewing kit, and personal prescriptions, if necessary.
- Potassium Permanganate: Potassium permanganate is flammable when mixed with sugar, glycerin, or antifreeze. It can also be used as a water purifier, a disinfectant agent, a treatment for fungal infections or canker sores, and more.
- Hand Sanitizer: Many illnesses can be avoided if you keep your hands clean. Use hand sanitizer after relieving yourself, handling raw meat, treating wounds, or touching questionable objects.
- Toilet Paper: Toilet paper will make your wilderness experience more comfortable in a manner that goes without explanation.
- Space Blanket: This lightweight plastic blanket reflects up to 97% of radiated heat. The silver or gold metallic surface also glints in sunlight, revealing your location to anyone who could be potentially searching for you.
- Chewing Gum or Hard Candy: In survival situations, food is often scarce. Chewing gum or hard candy will keep your mouth occupied, which will decrease hunger. The sugar also prevents hypoglycemia or low blood sugar, which is often a result of a lack of food. Consider also packing chocolate, which will doubtless boost your spirits.
- Canned Food: Canned meats, fruits, and vegetables will provide you with necessary nutrients without the risk of spoiling. Don’t forget to pack a can opener.
- Chapstick: It may seem petty to allow chapped lips to irritate you when you are lost in the wilderness, but if you’re really in a tough spot, chapped lips can be “the straw that breaks the camel’s back.”
- Water: Water is the single most important item in your survival pack. If you don’t pack anything else, at least bring water.
- Water Purification Tablets: You can only reasonably carry so much water with you at a time. Water purification tablets, or any other form of water sterilization, will allow you to refill your empty water bottles with good, clean water.
- Harmonica: When you’re alone in the middle of nowhere for an extended length of time, the silence may begin to drive you insane. An iPod is out of the question, but consider taking along a harmonica.
- A Good Book: Being lost in the wilderness doesn’t mean that you’ll be seeking food and building shelter 24-7. Stressing over your situation will cause your physical and mental health to suffer. Pack a copy of your favorite book to help you relax. Don’t like to read? Pack a pencil and paper, handicraft, sketchbook, or whatever piques your interest and de-stresses you.
When it comes to survival, it is impossible to be too prepared. Organize your survival supplies in a small backpack or satchel, and carry it with you on all of your adventures. This preparation will make your experience safer and less worrisome should the unexpected occur. When you’re worry-free, nothing can stop you from having the greatest wilderness adventure of your life.