No matter where you are or what time of year it is, your survival will depend more on your wit than what you have in your survival backpack. However, it’s still vital that you assemble an emergency kit of survival tools which you need to have with you anytime you head outdoors.
If you’re injured or lost, having the right gear can mean the difference between life and death – or at the very least comfort and suffering. We’ve put together a list of some essentials, but always remember that you need to be familiar with all the gear in your survival backpack before heading out, as you can put your life in more danger if you bring along any unfamiliar or untested equipment.
One of the most important survival tools is a knife. They have tons of uses for everyday camping and outdoor activities, and can greatly increase your survival chances. The best survival knives are fixed blades, as they are more resilient and durable than folding knives, and they’re better at cutting large objects. If you have space, a folding knife is an excellent backup for smaller tasks.
To keep your knife in its best possible shape, make sure you always clean it after each use. Never leave your knife wet, as rust can develop. You should also ensure that your knife is sharp, as a dull knife can be more dangerous than a sharp one (and not to mention useless).
Cords and/or ropes
One of the best cords is 550 parachute cord, which takes up little space, while being durable and lightweight. Another great thing about this cord is that it gets longer when wet, which comes in handy when you need to get a tight hold on something. Get the cord damp and secure the object, the cord will then tighten when it dries.
Water bottle and water filtration system
Water is essential, so make sure you always carry with you a reusable water bottle or a hydration pack. If you are lost or in survival mode, potable water is not always going to be easily found, so a great piece of gear is a Lifestraw, which will filter and purify 12 liters an hour, and lasts for 18,000 liters.
When you’re deep in the backcountry, you may not have signal, or your phone may run out of battery. Therefore, alternate means to communicate are necessary. Some of the signaling equipment you can add to your kit are a mirror which can be flashed to be spotted by aircraft, primarily if you are signaling in a pattern.
Another useful piece of gear is a whistle, as it makes an unmistakable sound, and you can call out to rescuers or nearby hikers or campers to get their attention.
A first aid kit will make treating any injuries that much easier. Include cleaning wipes, alcohol, bandages, gauze, and painkillers, plus any other medicine you are currently taking.
Remember that your knowledge is the most essential survival skill that you have, so educate yourself on wilderness survival by taking classes, doing research and talking to experts.