Stay Alive Out There
Changes in your environment can change your situation very quickly.
Can you imagine a situation where your life might be at risk? Maybe, you took nature for granted on a short day hike, or you weren't properly prepared on a kayaking trip? What if you had become disoriented on a mountain bike ride?
Hopefully nothing serious happened, but what if it had? What preparations should you have made that could prevent the incident from becoming dire? What injuries might you experience and how would you get back home under those conditions?
When traveling into the backcountry, we assume that our cellphone will save us. However, this is a very poor assumption. Many areas of the outdoors do not have cellular access and furthermore, being in an out-of-service area depletes your cellphone battery prematurely.
Being in the outdoors can reward you with an experience of a lifetime if you plan ahead. By taking some simple precautions, you can enjoy nature without worry.
Before your next outdoor adventure, take some time to pack a personal survival kit. What is a personal survival kit, you ask. It is a small kit comprised of the necessities needed for a safe trip into the backcountry and back home should a tricky situation arise.
We are not talking about a bug out bag or a full blown bushcraft kit here. No, we are referring to a small kit comprised of the basic needs for use when that cellphone becomes useless.
Start with a small bag or pouch that you can keep in your vehicle for quick and easy access. It will be ready to grab for your next hike or bike ride, and can also be called to service in an emergency whenever you are traveling. We recommend our Small Utility Pouch or our Large Utility Pouch
The first item , and probably the most important one to pack, is a good quality knife. A knife is invaluable in nearly any situation. It can be used in building an emergency shelter, cutting straps, rope or branches from trees. For more information on choosing the right knife read this article.
Around the world, darkness prevails half of the time and you won't want to be in the dark during a dire situation. Carry a good quality small flashlight in your kit to light your way. I recommend a durable LED brand capable of producing 500-750 lumens of light.
If stranded away from home, you are going to want to have a fire to keep you warm. Even during the summer, the temperature can drop in many areas of the country, allowing hypothermia to be a real concern. Toss a small bic lighter and a ferrocium rod, as a backup, into your kit. Also soak some cotton balls in petroleum jelly to provide an easy lighting tinder. These can be stored in a small ziploc bag in order to keep your kit clean.
The next item in your kit should be a survival blanket. These blankets are made of foil coated mylar and work great to keep your body heat in and the elements out. They can also double as a tarp or as a water collection device, which brings us to our next kit item.
Water is essential to life, however it is not necessary to carry it with you if you have a water filter with you. There are many varieties of small water filters that can be used in the backcountry to provide safe drinking water from a questionable water source. If hiking in the outdoors, it is also best to carry some clean water with you and that can easily be done using a water bottle.
When you can't rely on your phone to help you get back home safely, then it becomes necessary to have a compass to assist you. Make sure that the compass is of good quality and dependable.
A whistle should be included in your kit to alert anyone within earshot of your distress and to help locate you.
The final item in your personal survival kit should be a first aid kit. A full sized medical kit is not practical to carry on every trip but a condensed version can be easily packed into your bag or pouch. Your first aid kit should include some blood-clotting gauze, wrapping gauze, sterile wipes, bandages and any needed medication, including some pain relief medication and an antihistamine for bug bites, bee stings and sunburn.
Not a necessity, but very convenient, I also carry about 50 feet of paracord that I could use to construct a shelter.
I always have a personal survival kit either in my vehicle, on myself, or in my backpack. One kit can easily be transferred from place to place, as needed. I carry a complete medical trauma kit in my truck for use in emergency situations or when camping.
So much enjoyment can be gained in the great outdoors. Do it safely and pack a personal survival kit.