When traveling in the wilderness there are fifteen essential items that must always be brought with you. These 15 essentials are your survival insurance against a wide variety of situations you are likely to encounter by design or by accident.
The survival gear and skills you bring with you will serve you well. Staying warm and dry, well fed, well hydrated, and in good health will go far in your effort to survive in any environment. With all of your physical needs taken care of your morale will be high and you will be in an excellent position to navigate your way out or make contact with rescuers.
Be sure you always have enough to get you through the first night of an emergency. If you can survive an entire day and night then chances are you can survive several days if need be. Making it through the first 72 hours almost guarantees you will make it out alive.
Survival Essentials 1
Always bring a map of the area you are traveling in, a good compass, and, if possible, a GPS receiver. And know how to use them.
A good map will show your area of travel in excellent detail. Preferably the map is of topographic variety, showing contour elevation lines and the topography of the area. Trails, streams, bodies of water, swamps, roads, towns, hills and mountains should be clearly labeled. The map should have the points of the compass clearly labeled. USGS 15-minute and 7.5-minute quadrangles are excellent choices when moving across country. In some areas local hiking clubs put out excellent maps based on the USGS maps.
A map can be of great help in decision making, not only in planning your trip but also in providing possible escape routes should the unexpected occur. Knowing where you are on a map, you will often be able to easily discern obstacles such as steep terrain, cliffs, or swamps that you should avoid. If you do become lost, a map can help you figure out just where you are and provide information on where you should go to extricate yourself.
GPS receivers are increasingly popular. It is a good idea to record your starting position so that you can use these coordinates to find your way back should you become confused. Often is the time when you come back out onto the road from which you started, you do not know weather your vehicle is to the left or the right of where you are. Having previously recorded your starting position, finding which way to go is a snap.
Even if you do have a GPS unit, always bring a compass. Your GPS unit may malfunction or the batteries may run out, but a compass always works and will keep you from traveling in circles.
If you are without a compass, you may be able to make a compass using the materials at hand.
Survival Essentials 2
Always bring a flashlight or headlamp with spare bulbs and spare batteries. Even a trip of a few hours into the wilderness can unexpectedly become overnight due to injury, becoming lost, or miscalculating the time it takes to get from point to point. If you are caught outdoors in the dark, you may need an artificial light source in order to find your way out. Without a light source, it is very easy to injure yourself stumbling around in the darkness.
If you do need to spend the night outdoors, your source of light can help you rig a shelter, gather fire making materials, and bed down for the night. A flashlight or headlamp can be used as an excellent signaling device at night, for the light can be visible for many miles.
A good headlamp has the advantage of allowing free use of your hands and lessens the possibility of dropping it.
Survival Essentials 3
Always bring extra food and water. As a general rule, bring at least an extra days worth of food and water you think you will need for the time you are out, and at a minimum bring enough to sustain you for one full day.
Even on a trip of just a few hours, bring a full days supply. In an extended emergency situation extra food will give you the energy you need to help yourself. The calories from your emergency food supply can prevent hypothermia or exhaustion. Your extra supply of clean water can prevent dehydration. Taken together, your extra food and water rations will allow you to think more clearly and prevent the possibility of panic.
Of the two, water is the most important. You can live without food for many days or even weeks, but you won't live without an adequate supply of water for very long. Because water is bulky and heavy, on an extended outing you will need to find additional sources of water and a reliable means of making water safe to drink.
A trick I use is to always keep a days worth of dehydrated food such as dried fruit, nuts, and chocolate, and an extra quart of water in my pack. This is my emergency food and water reserve and I do not touch it. Then when I plan a trip, I add the food that I plan to eat. Only in an emergency situation will I tap into the emergency food supply.
Your emergency food supply could also contain MREs or Emergency Food Bars. These are lightweight foods that have long shelf lives. In addition, this kind of food is condensed and easy to pack. For the balance of this great article including items 4 thru 15 link HERE