It doesn’t matter if you’re taking the family on a camping trip for the weekend, or if you’re going on the hunting trip you’ve been planning for months, there are certain things you need to have in order to be prepared for the worst. Below I am going to cover the most critical things you should have in your possession in the event you become lost in the wilderness. Conquering nature is not possible, but adapting to it and surviving it is!
Here is a list of items you will need in your survival pack.
If you don’t have these items handy in a backpack you should acquire them immediately for the future and always keep your bag in an easy-to-access part of your home, or on you, in the event, you go out into the wilderness.
Water- This is the most important item to have with you. It is crucial to keep yourself hydrated. You don’t know how long you could be without a good supply of water, so use it sparingly. I recommend carrying a plastic canteen.
Water Purification Tablets- Water purifying tablets are a handy item to have in the event you run out of water. You should find a water source that is running. NEVER drink water that is still. Water that is still can be stagnated and have some very nasty bacteria; causing you to have severe diarrhea and vomiting which will lead to dehydration.
Roll of String– I recommend taking a roll of string. 1/8 inch nylon string works well. This can be used to tie limbs together to make a shelter, for tying sharp objects to sticks for a makeshift weapon, and for setting hunting traps. There are several other ways the string will come in handy as you are in the woods.
Bic Lighters- I carry 2 Bic lighters with me in a waterproof bag such as GLAD in the event they get wet. The reason I say Bic is because if they become wet, they will dry out quickly and be back in working order in no time. They are also one of the most reliable lighters for the price.
Waterproof Matches– I would also have a box of waterproof matches. You never know, you may need them too.
Flint Rock– Okay, I know we are going overboard with fire, but take it from me, you do not want to spend the night in the woods without fire and certainly, if it’s cold and raining. What if you lost your bag of lighters and your waterproof matches suck and won’t work properly? You can never be too prepared.
Compass- Of course you need a compass. Don’t just go buy one and throw it in the bag either. Learn how to use it. I also advise you don’t purchase a cheap one. This is one of your lifelines we are talking about here!
Small Coffee Can– I take along a small can that has 2 drilled holes at the top. I run a wire through the holes for a handle and make a hook so that it can be hung over a fire. You can also take a small pot, but the can cuts down on baggage. This is great for boiling water or warming food if you don’t have a pot.
First Aid Kit– This is valuable to have if you get injured. This kit provides everything to aid to most common wounds. Sorry, they don’t include serum for a zombie bite yet!
Whistle– A whistle is a great way to attract a search party.
Ball of Red or Orange Yarn– There won’t be any crocheting, this will be used for markers to help you identify areas of your surroundings and for search parties to find you. Just cutting off a 12-inch piece and tying it to a tree limb where it’s easily visible will do the trick.
Flashlights– I would suggest 2 flashlights and backup batteries just in case. You will thank yourself 1,000 times over at night or investigating a cave for shelter and it will also help search parties find you at night.
Hand Sanitizer– This is good to have on hand after cleaning fish or field dressing an animal and keeping down on the chance of you getting an infection and becoming ill.
Identification– It’s always a good idea to have identification on you. Who knows, you could hit your head and forget who you are!
3ft Long Steel Rebar- This is great to have with you! I find two sticks shaped like a “Y”. Simply stick them in the ground on the outsides of the fire and place them to metal rebar in the “Y’s”. Now you can hang your can or pot over the fire.
Small Tarp and Emergency Blanket– The blanket will help keep you warm and the tarp can be used for a roof or walls for a makeshift shelter. Just roll them up and tie them to the bottom of your pack.
Fishing Line, Hooks, and Bobbers– You will need to find a water source and begin fishing too. I suggest you just go buy an entire roll of the 8-pound test line and some hooks. It wouldn’t hurt to grab a few small bobbers. This is great to hand with you and it doesn’t take up much room. You can grab some lures, but there will be plenty of bait in the woods.
Extra Socks and Gloves– It would be wise to take an extra pair of socks and gloves. You never know when your original pair may become wet. Wet socks in the cold sucks, and you could come down with a cold. This is not what you need in the wilderness. You need to take every step to protect yourself from sickness and infections. It would be a good idea to carry a toboggan also to keep your head warm from cold elements.
Kitchen Trash Bag– This can be used to transport large amounts of water.
Notepad/Journal and a Pen- I keep a notepad with me just to jot down notes about my surroundings and I can also leave notes on trees in the woods to help search parties find me.
Small Cans of Food/Trail Mix– It wouldn’t hurt to have a bag of trail mix to snack on and a couple of cans of food with peel-back tabs on them. Grab a spoon while you’re at it.
Rainproof Poncho– You can buy these for little to nothing and they are great to have when mother nature comes raining down on you.
Survival Knife– I always carry my survival knife with me in the woods. It’s very sharp for sharpen sticks for a trap or a makeshift weapon, great for field dressing game and cleaning fish, has plenty of tools inside, and it includes my compass.
Multi-Tool– I think the name says it all. Get one; there are a number of things it will come in handy for.
Wire Saw– This is great to have and doesn’t cost much at all. After starting a good hot fire you can even burn greenwood. The wire saw is compact and makes quick work of a 3 or 4-inch branch. It also is a lifesaver when cutting wood to make a shelter.
Small Hatchet– This is good for cutting branches and splitting short, large logs by driving the hatchet into the top end of the log and taking another available log to hammer the hatchet through. It can be worn on a belt just like your machete.
Machete– This is a great tool to have on hand. Not only can this be used to defend you, but this is great for chopping down saplings and removing excess brush.
If You Have a Gun, Carry Plenty of Ammo– I think you can figure out this is valuable to have for hunting for food in case you run out on what little you brought with you. This could really mean the difference in eating and having the energy or starving to death.
Small Can of Lighter Fluid– This is great for getting a fire started the easy way.
For Luxury Only, A Roll of Toilet Paper- Your rear end will thank you…well until you run out…then it’s time to gather leaves!
Okay, so I think we covered all the general and necessary items you need to have in your pack.
Don’t worry, I know it seems like a lot, but it’s not and it will all fit into a basic field backpack. (Excluding the rod, this will stick out the top of the pack) I know some of you may be thinking some of these items are not necessary to have, but I beg to differ. Everything I have listed above is the exact list I have in my pack and you should too. The first time you are lost, scared, and confused, and you reach in your pack for something you need and you don’t have it because you thought “you wouldn’t NEED it” you will be irate with yourself, I promise.
When it comes to your pack I would suggest you find one with a waist strap for added support for your back. What you will be carrying won’t weigh a ton, but after a while, you will be glad you spend the extra money on a good pack.
You should purchase a good pair of high top hiking shoes for insulated boots to give support to your ankles in rough terrain and for warmth.
As for what you’re wearing never go out in the wilderness without adequate clothing. Don’t wear a short-sleeve shirt and a coat for an Eskimo! Dress in layers! This is very important. If you start to sweat your clothes will become wet and you could get a cold and you are also dehydrating your body.
Now that we have covered what you need to have with you let’s start getting into some skills you need if you want to survive the wilderness alone.
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