When it comes to any survival situation, one thing is certain – things you have with you can and will save your life. There are many factors that can go for and against you when you’re doing your best to survive and you can tip the scales in your favor by bringing the right equipment with you. I’m not talking about being super fancy or spending hundreds of dollars to get the latest model of hiking boots and what not, I’m talking about truly practical and useful tools that will always come in useful, especially when you’re left to your own devices in the wild.
A modern survival kit can contain many things, but today I’ll cover the basics without which you shouldn’t leave your home. Knowing how to prepare yourself for survival conditions and what to bring with you will make everything much easier, so listen up.
Finding Your Way and Building a Shelter
One of the priorities that you will be preoccupied with is surviving the nights in the wild, as well as finding your way out safely, and for this, you will need a couple of things in your backpack at all times. I don’t go anywhere without a compass and a map of the area I’m in, it’s just common sense, but make sure you know how to work these navigational tools to get you out of the sticky spot. You can always find cardinal directions by following the sun or the North Star, but a map is a foolproof way to get where you need to be. Whenever I can, I bring a mirror with me, so that I can signal for help in case an aircraft comes along, though a signal fire is a good way to go too.
When it comes to finding or building a shelter, a lot depends on the terrain and the weather you’re facing. I’m always on a lookout for caves because they’re safe and much warmer than staying out in the open, but you can fix that by building a simple shelter and having a fire. I carry my bivvy bag wherever I go, you can also go for foil travel blankets that are excellent for insulation and keeping your body temperature in check. Whenever space allows, I bring one of my portable tents that takes virtually no space and it’s indispensable when you don’t have the time or material to build a shelter. I always bring a fishing line and duct tape with me, as well as cable ties and utility cord, which can have many uses including setting traps.
A Knife to Bring
Don’t go anywhere without a good knife in your survival kit and if it all possible, buy a foldable one that has add-ons you’ll be able to use. I wouldn’t recommend bringing a Swiss knife because the blade isn’t strong or sharp enough and you want a knife that will be able to take a lot of pressure and cutting before anything happens to it. I honestly feel naked in the wild without my knife and usually, I bring a multi-tool and a bigger fixed-blade knife, that way I’m prepared for every situation. You can also bring a small ax if you’ve got one, though they’re quite heavy, they will come in handy for wood chopping. Another important tip – know how to work your blade safely, so that you don’t get hurt and practice with it at home, the more you use it, the better you’ll be with it.
Your food should be rationed on the grounds of how much you’re going to stay away from civilization and how physically active you’ll be. You don’t want to lug around too much food with everything else you have to carry, but you don’t want to stay without food and there are still a couple of days until you’ve reached the first supermarket. I usually go either for canned foods of sealed ready to eat meals, seeing they’re easier to carry around. For some years I’ve been studying about plants and berries that are good to eat in the wild and though it’s not an easy job, it’s definitely worth the effort because this knowledge allows you to survive in the wilderness when there’s no survival kit at hand.
This is serious advice and you should take it as such – take good care of what kind of water you’re drinking when you’re in nature. Dehydration is a nasty business and you want to avoid it at all costs, but drinking water full of bacteria your stomach is not used to will take its toll on your metabolism and quickly. Stainless-steel water container is a must in my survival kit and I also like to bring a filtration bottle or purification straws with me. One way to get clean drinkable water is to have water purification tablets or iodine crystals, or you can simply boil all water you find. If you manage to collect dew or rainwater, then you’re good to drink it worry-free.
The Matter of Light and Warmth
When you settle for the night and you’ve got your sleeping bag and your tent, sleeping well will be much less of a problem. However, lighting and building a fire is still a wise decision because nights are always colder than expected away from civilization and you want to do all you can to keep yourself warm. You can always start a fire the old fashioned way using dry tinder and friction, but you don’t have to waste that much time that can be saved just by bringing a lighter of flint with you. Strike-anywhere matches are another good option to consider, though you want to put them carefully in bags, as just a small amount of friction can get them going and you don’t want that. When it comes to electric light, I have a couple LED hand torches that work like a charm and I don’t plan on changing them, though some people use head torches so that they can use their hands freely.
You should build your survival kit based on your personal needs and your destination, but one way or another, all of these tips will apply and hopefully help you. Think of all possible scenarios and always know less is more so that you don’t overdo it and end up carrying around a backpack heavier than yourself. – Robert Foster
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For the last five years, Robert has been helping people from all walks of life achieve their fitness goals. In addition to working with clients in a 1-on-1 setting, he’s been also helping people survive the great outdoors with his helpful articles on http://prosurvivalist.com/. If he’s not devising exercising programs for his clients, he’s probably out hiking, cycling or climbing the nearest mountain top.
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