Most of us don’t think twice about leaving home each day, but you never know what is going to happen after you leave. Emergencies can happen anywhere at any time, increasing the likelihood that you’re going to be caught unprepared. The one time they do, proper preparation will be the difference between your survival and utter anguish. Whether you are a prepper or the regular guy next door, here are eight essential gear you must keep in your survival kit.
If you ever get lost in the wild, dehydration and starvation will probably kill you faster than many other things you may imagine. You’ll be lucky to make it past four days without food and water. Since you cannot walk around with a month’s supply of food in your bag, you should go for small packs of energy-rich, non-perishable foods. A few of these take up little space in your bag but keep you nourished for days.
For water, a gallon should be sufficient to last you a day. Again, it’s not practical to carry around two weeks’ supply of water everywhere you go. Once your gallon is finished, find a natural water source like a stream or pond, fetch water, and purify it using your purification tablets. With these, you should be perfectly nourished, even if it takes a week for the rescuers to find you.
In an emergency, harsh weather can quickly worsen an already dicey situation. The area could experience temperature drops or sudden storms. If it gets too cold or starts raining, you need shelter to keep the bad weather out. A sleeping bag or thermal blanket will further insulate your body, allowing you to sleep comfortably.
Besides protecting you from inclement weather, shelter hides you from deadly predators.
Fire helps you ward off dangerous animals and survive extreme cold. It can also act as a signal to rescuers trying to locate you. If you run out of food and have to hunt, you also need fire to prepare your meal. Therefore, you should always keep different kinds of firestarters in a watertight pouch in your kit. Throw in matches, a dry tinder, a striker, and a lighter. If one starter fails, you have a few others to try.
Your chances of getting hurt in an emergency are pretty high, even if it’s just a few scrapes while climbing over debris. But even something small can turn serious if it gets infected. You need a bandage, antibiotics, and other first-aid supplies on hand to manage minor injuries.
If you have other medical conditions, always ensure you have a week’s dosage or other emergency supplies in your first aid kit. For example, asthmatics should always have an inhaler in their kit, and anyone with allergies should have epinephrine.
A good utility knife can be a lifesaver in survival situations. It is useful for performing tasks like opening cans, cutting cords and bandages, and sharpening sticks. If you hunt or fish, you also need it to skin and gut your prey or scale your fish. In case you face a human attacker, this knife could help ward them off. What’s more, utility knives are small and lightweight. There’s no reason for you not to keep one in your survival kit.
Digital navigation aids like GPS are fast and helpful, but only as long as they have power and signal. If you’re in the middle of nowhere and can’t recharge the battery, a GPS is not going to do you any good. For these reasons, you need a manual backup of a compass and map. Always try to save an offline copy or print out the map of your adventure trail before leaving your residence. In case you mix up trails, your map and compass will safely guide you back in the right direction. Teach yourself how to use navigation tools so they can benefit you when you need them.
Like utility knives and multi-tools, cords are incredibly versatile. You can use them to tie down your shelter, climb steep objects, descend a cliff, trap small game, hang clothes, and put together a fishing line, among other things. Always have a roll or two in your pack.
In a survival situation, you can’t tell when help might arrive. You could be stranded for a few minutes to a few weeks. If night falls, you’ll need some light to help you move around if you have to. You don’t want to step on a snake and get bitten or fall into a deep hole while trying to find your way out. A solar-powered option is ideal as the others could run out of charge.
There’s no limitation to what you can include in your survival kit. Some may find protective clothing and personal hygiene items more essential than some items on this list. All that is fine. The idea is to have what you need to survive an emergency in a light and portable bag to carry around for hours.