Anytime you partake in outdoor adventures; there is always a possibility of things going wrong. Unforeseen events like foul weather or accidents can put you in harms way. You can however add a few items to your packing list that will give you the advantage when Mother Nature strikes.
From my experience the below listed items will aid you in most all situations and environments. I created the acronym “BACK HOME” to remind you of the items as well as that this gear will do just that- Get you back home!
Blaze and Burn- Fire has many uses. It keeps you warm, cooks food, disinfects water by boiling, and boost morale. Packing a few lighters and matches gives you a sure flame. You will need to make sure these items are in water proof containers. I also suggest adding a sparking device like a ferrocerium rod or magnesium fire starter. Carrying some dry tinder should be included in your fire kit. Dryer lint and petroleum jelly covered cotton balls are great and can be found in your home. Just remember to keep them dry.
All Weather Blanket- Shelter is paramount when fighting off hypothermia. The All Weather Blanket has Mylar that will reflect heat back to you. It can be configured in a variety of ways due to its solid construction and grommets. I would also advise using a brightly colored model to increase your visible signature when SAR teams may be looking for you.
Cordage- Cordage has unlimited uses. If you spend any amount of time in the outdoors you will quickly realize its importance. My recommendation is to carry at least 30 feet of 550 parachute cord. It has 550 lbs of test strength. The seven inner strands can also be removed to use as fishing line.
Knife- Arguably your most important piece of equipment in a survival situation will be your knife. This tool paired with some basic survival knowledge will aid in providing your basic needs. I prefer a four inch fixed blade with a full tang.
Headlamp- You will be thankful for the hands free capability of a headlamp when the sun goes down. Choose one that has a red lens cover to protect your night vision. Another feature to look for is a strobe function. This can be used to signal for rescue at night.
Orienteering Tools- Most of us use a GPS because of the sheer simplicity. It’s also a good idea to carry a map of your area that you will be traveling as well as a mirrored sighting compass. A sighting compass is great for navigation if you have to attempt a self-rescue. The acrylic mirror can also be used to signal for rescue during daylight hours.
Metal Canteen- Water is essential to all forms of life here on earth. Typically the rule for survival is three days without water can be fatal. I prefer a stainless steel water bottle because of its durability and that it can be used to boil water for disinfection.
Emergency Signal- Getting help should be your first priority. If you can circumvent having to live off the land the better your odds are in a survival situation. Tether a whistle to yourself for quick access. Also think about carrying flagging tape, flares, and strobe light.
It’s good practice to layer these items on your person- basically having these items in different pockets. With these items and basic survival knowledge you can tackle a few nights in the outdoors.