Getting by in the concrete jungle has challenges of its own, but it’s not even close to those hardships real surviving experience entails. Many of us have forgotten even the basic skills necessary for survival and would have slim chances of making it out in the wild. That happened for a reason: the higher the standard of living is, the less relevant basic survival skills become. Not everyone is subject to this trend – there are indigenous tribes who lead a life very different from ours. We could ask them to teach us a thing or two about survival, but there are plenty of books and outdoor experts who can do the same thing. Yet, there is a big difference between trying to stay alive in the wilds with a set of preassembled survival equipment and mustering something from the immediately available materials. The latter is way more challenging than the former, but it comes with bragging rights if you manage to pull it off. We wouldn’t recommend doing it just for the sake of boasting, though, because the stakes are too high. A backpack containing all the survival gear must-haves might be your ticket to a completely different adventure. You could call it a controlled survival trip where you have everything to live through it already packed, but there is still a challenge in putting the survival tools to good use, finding a good spot for a shelter, making fire, that sort of thing. Our outdoor store can help you assemble a kit with all survival essentials that not only spares you a great deal of trouble but also may save your life should an accident occur.
The versatility of a survival kit is yet another reason to have it ready, even if you have no plans of ever leaving the premises of the civilized world to delve into the wilderness. Many of us travel every now and then using all means of transportation. Even though the chances of your plane crashing above a deserted island are confidently approaching zero, they never reach it completely. There are also more down-to-earth scenarios like car accidents or wildfires that might pose another obstacle to your survival. It’s hard to overestimate the importance of having an emergency survival kit always ready. It can save your life, the lives of your nearest and dearest, and the lives of random people in need of help. Imagine how much time you’ll save by having a ready survival kit. The time spent deciding what is necessary, looking for things to take, and trying to fit everything in a backpack could be dedicated to other crucial tasks. Our recommendation is to have a survival kit ready regardless of whether you have plans to try playing Bear Grylls or not. Here are survival gear must-haves you can put in there.
First Aid Kit
It comes as no surprise that emergencies involve certain risks. It would be an overstatement to call a planned trip to the wilderness an emergency, but the risks of getting an injury or a disease don’t go anywhere as you move away from people. A first aid kit won’t help you mend a broken bone, but it can stop the bleeding, treat indigestion (an outdoor activity regular), and at least support a broken bone to relieve pain. That is assuming you’ve taken everything to do so. A basic first aid kit for outdoor trips should include medicine and supplies to treat bleeding injuries, like gauze, band-aids, antiseptic wipes, and antibiotic ointments; means to avert or cure digestive issues, headaches, fever, and allergies; tools to treat bone and ligament injuries, like splints and wraps. This might sound like too much for a trip where “nothing will ever happen to you” but you will be praising yourself for taking it should an injury-causing misfortune take you aback.
Warmth should be your next priority after health, that is not negotiable. There is a golden rule of the three describing how long a person can survive without something. It stipulates the following: three weeks without food, three days without water, and three hours without cover and warmth. There is also a part “three minutes without air”, but we assume you won’t have problems with that. Keeping warm is crucial for survival, that’s why the skill of fire-making is valued so much by outdoor enthusiasts. We won’t try to unnerve you by making the situation seem direr than it actually is: your chances of dying of hypothermia in a night forest are far from even average, but this depends heavily on the time of year. If the days are brightened by the summer sun, the nights are warmed by a summer moon. Other seasons are less forgiving and will bring down the chilling winds on you without thinking twice. That’s where fire kicks in, given you can make it. Movies contributed greatly to popularizing the opinion that two sticks and a pile of dry grass are literally everything it takes to start a bonfire. This concept has nothing to do with reality, it may take several attempts just to get a spark, not to mention making a full-fledged campfire. Unless you like complicating things for yourself, consider getting several fire-starting tools. By doing so, you’ll play it safe and won’t depend solely on one tool that may fail you. Our advice is to take a lighter, water-resistant matches, a tinder bundle, and a flint, steel, or magnesium fire starter. With this kit of a young arsonist, you can rest assured you won’t spend a night without a campfire.
Water and Food
Unless you are after a bushcraft experience, finding food and water can be another thing to take care of beforehand. Forests are full of edible plants you can gather and animals you can hunt. However, doing the latter with your bare hands is not a very prospective endeavor, and plant gathering calls for a very thorough knowledge and ability to discern edible plants from poisonous ones. In case you didn’t finish a course on plant identification, we suggest taking food with you. That’s especially relevant for preparing an emergency kit that should help you get by for at least several days. Whether you are packing food for a weekend runaway or an emergency backpack, stick to non-perishable high-energy foods and dried foods. In addition to taking bottled water, consider taking purification tools, like water filters and tablets (the former are preferable.)
You should never enter a forest without a knife in your pocket. Not that it’s a place of increased criminal activity, it just gives you more options. A knife is a skeleton key to the forest, and the more you have, the better. However, unless you are traversing the forest to reach a knife trade fair, nobody would take more than two, and that’s the number we stick to as well. Serrated blade knives might appeal to some people, but our recommendation is a good old plain-edge knife with a fixed blade. It is more versatile and much easier to sharpen. The second tool you should take is a swiss army knife, for no other tool deserves the title Jack of All Trades more than this one. You get a miniature saw blade, screwdriver, can opener, a pair of scissors, awl, and whatnot, all in one package. If you are allowed to fit a whole toolbox into one compact pocket knife, why not use it?
Though a campfire should suffice in terms of lighting a space, you never know where the road of adventures may take you. Or which danger will make you run for your life. Several scenarios might have you walking in the dimly lit or pitch-dark forest, but you won’t get far without a light source. Save your phone’s battery for an emergency, and get yourself a headlamp. You might have a flashlight gathering dust in some cupboards, but headlamps might be more convenient to use. They leave your hands free and won’t slip or fall off unless you perform quite an acrobatic feat. On the other side, their beam of light is fixed, and they are less durable than regular torches. The choice is yours, but to us, free hands sound too appealing.
That’s our list of survival gear essentials. We are not ready to claim it will help you survive a plane crash, but it can definitely be helpful in less dreadful scenarios. Don’t forget to take a tent or a tarp to make something resembling a tent. And a radio, in case your phone should die when you most need it, as they sometimes do.