With the warmer weather, many more people are hitting the great outdoors again – but are they ready for the mishaps and emergencies that can happen on and off the trail? Even if a person is a master of primitive survival skills, a broken arm or a twisted ankle can prevent them from performing many of the skills they know. That’s where a survival kit comes to the rescue. You won’t be building a leaf hut or rubbing two sticks together when you’re badly injured, but you can provide shelter, water and fire with just a few items from your kit. Here’s what to pack before you hit the trail.
A simple space blanket or even a large trash bag can pack down small but offer protection from the elements. Make sure you have at least one or two shelter items in your survival kit – for each group member.
Bring some drinking water with you into the wild, and be prepared for the bottle to run dry. Water purification tablets can make raw water safe to drink. A small metal cup or pot can allow you to boil water for safety, if you can get a fire going.
A crackling campfire is our friend, and you need to have the gear to make it quickly and reliably. Matches and lighters give you an open flame to start fires, while spark rods act as a great back-up. Bring tinder that burns even when wet, and you’ll have a winning combination.
Many survival scenarios involve injury, so it’s important to have the supplies to patch up the body until you can reach more definitive medical care. A basic outdoor first aid kit should cover most of your needs, especially if you include some extra dressings and bandages for trauma.
A whistle and a signal mirror can help you catch the attention of others, and make you an active participant in your own rescue.
These tips, and many more survival tips, are in MacWelch’s books: Prepare For Anything – the Hunting & Gathering Survival Manual – How To Survive Anything – the Ultimate Winter Survival Handbook – and How To Survive Off The Grid
Follow him on Twitter @timmacwelch
And check out more of MacWelch’s outdoor skills and survival articles in Outdoor Life Magazine.
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