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Basic Survival Gear

If your idea day involves tramping through the wilderness, you know how important it is to have some basic survival gear with you.

Basic Survival Gear

There are some simple, basic items you need to maintain safety and health while out in the wild. The next time you’re planning an outdoor adventure, include these basic survival tools for emergency preparedness and survival.

The best tool for survival is YOU and your mind! Make sure you understand the basic survival concepts. The foremost skill in survival is to ensure that bad situations don’t escalate to worse situations. To deal with any emergency situation you must be able to make quick decisions, improvise and stay calm.

Survival Guide

A survival manual can help you cover most survival tactics. Manuals like the SAS Survival Guide or The Army Survival Guide (FM 21-76) can provide assistance with survival topics such as water, shelter, food, first aid, navigation, psychology of survival, identifying edible and medicinal plants, and much more.


Always carry a well made fixed blade knife and a smaller knife for fine tasks (like cutting food).


Navigation gear is vital, even if you are in a familiar area. You can get turned around in the forest, and have no idea. Keep maps and a compass handy, because there might be times that your cellphone doesn’t have signal or the battery has gone dead.

Protection from the Elements

The lack of sun protection can lead to a serious medical emergency. Overexposure to the sun and heat can put your health in jeopardy. Ensure that you carry sunscreen, a hat and a water purification system so you can keep hydrated with safe and clean drinking water.

Keep abreast of the weather. Check your local weather forecast before heading out on the trails, and monitor the conditions via a radio or with an application on your smartphone. Knowing of an approaching storm or cold front will help you prepare in  for potential weather issues.

Insect Repellent

With insect borne diseases like Lyme Disease and Chagas you can’t afford to skip the insect repellent. Toss a couple pouches of insect repellent wipes in your car and backpack right now, so you’ll never be without it!


Even if you’ve managed to setup your camp by nightfall, you’ll still want to have a flashlight or headlamp handy to navigate around the campsite. A headlamp allows you to remain hands-free while hiking or finding a spot to relieve yourself, when nature calls.

First Aid Kit

A good first aid kit is another survival must-have; a well-stocked first aid kit will keep you to prepared for injuries and emergencies. The contents should be updated to match where the kit will be stored and how it will be used.

Fire Starters

You might be awesome at starting fires, but what about when the wood’s too wet or too green? Carry a lighter then have firesteel or waterproof matches as a backup and have fire starting tinder to get your kindling going.

Mess Kit

Keep a mess kit in your gear. Everyone should have their own mess kit, but feel free to share a camp skillet to make cooking for the group much simpler.

Tarp and Blanket

A tarp is another multipurpose item that can help keep you warm and dry. Use it as a tent in inclement weather, to cover your food or as ground cover. Bring along a wool blanket to ensure a good night’s sleep and sufficient warmth.

Knots and lashings are useful in your camp and in many survival situations, to construct an improvised shelter. The right knot can save your life. If knots aren’t your forte, keep some laminated knot cards in your pack.

Wild Edibles

Even if you’ve packed food or are fishing and hunting for your food, you may need to offset your diet by foraging for wild edible.

Before you sample any wild fruits or vegetables, identify and verify they are truly edible by using a manual on wild edibles.

Even wilderness experts can experience mishaps in the outdoors that can cause their adventure to turn sour. Make sure that you have the basics you need, as well as the supporting equipment or tools. The items you bring with you will change depending on the season, your destination and the length of your trips. Take time to consider your needs for the season and the region you’ll be in so you can prepare accordingly.


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