Going on a camping trip in the wild is not a joke. The outcome can often depend on your survival skills, even when you’re not bushcrafting or in a search of a survival adventure. This is one of the reasons why being physically and mentally ready is crucial. This doesn’t mean that every camping trip will end up in an emergency situation, but it does mean that you should always be prepared for such an event.
Since the average person can survive up to three weeks without food, the main concerns for someone trying to survive out in the wild are staying hydrated and being warm.
Regardless of the purpose or style of your trip, whether you’re hiking, backpacking, camping or having a survival trip, it’s important to have picked the right survival gear, which should ideally occupy as little space as possible and shouldn’t be a big burden to your back.
Starting a fire is a must-have skill for any camping trip, even if it’s a simple family nature getaway or a hike. You need fire to cook for yourself, to survive the cold and in some cases, to even chase away predators. Being such a critical survival item, you should be able to rely 100% on your fire starters. Besides matches and a lighter, essential but not always failproof fire starting solutions, get some other lighting aids, like magnesium fire starters. Always try to keep your fire starters dry.
Knives and Axes
Blades are other crucial pieces amongst the essential tools for survival. For some, like bushcrafters or survivalists, they can even be the only survival tool they carry with them. However, they are definitely a must-have even for the lightest of the camp trips. While in the wild, you may need to cut a rope, chop branches and trees or carve wood. Knives can serve all these and many other uses for more serious emergency situations, like starting a fire, or even cauterising wounds.
There are many options out there, such as simple camping knives, axes, or multi-tools featuring anything from a blade, seizors, files, wire cutters, to rulers, screwdrivers and other useful items. Choosing between a survival knife or a survival multi tool is up to you, or rather to your weight preferences, your skills, as well as the situations you think you will encounter during your camping or survival trip.
Potable water can be a luxury in the wild. Even, if you think you are able to bring enough water for the entirety of the trip, chances are, you’re not. In the wild you most likely can’t anticipate everything that might happen. Regardless of the seriousness of the situation, weather if it’s that all your water spilled, or some worst-case scenario, where you’re in a survival mode, you should have a proper way to purify water, like a water filter. Your life may literally depend on it.
There are many ways to find your way through the wild, with some basic navigation skills, using a map and a compass. But the farther you get from civilisation, the more potential risks of getting lost. There are many simple objects that can help you in case you find yourself lost, in danger, or can’t go back, because of injury, dangerous weather conditions or any other reason. Having an emergency whistle, or simply a mirror, can make all the difference, in case you need someone to find you. A great way to be extra safe is to rely on some more modern tools, such as a personal locator beacons, or a spot locator, that can not only provide your GPS location, but also give you a life-saving line of communication, where there is no cell service.
Even the simplest rope can be of great use in the great outdoors, but for a survivalist, paracord is the way to go. It’s lightweight and with incredible breaking strength. One ingenious invention for the minimalists amongst the outdoors adventurers, is the paracord bracelet, that’s equally practical as it is simple to wear and use.
Flashlight, Head Lamp, Batteries
Having an artificial light to guide you through the night can help in any situation, from the simple darkness or hiking through a rough terrain, to some life-threatening situations. It may not sound like an essential survival tool, but it can certainly fell like one in some situations. Decide what’s best for your trip. Do you need a head lamp, or a simple flashlight will do? If you decide to use a head lamp, choose the one that’s most comfortable. In both cases find out as much as you can about the battery life, and make sure you have spare ones, in case they fail you.
Hypothermia should be your number one worry in the wild. There are a number of situations in which the fire alone can’t protect you properly. Even on a warm day, temperatures can drop suddenly after sunset, so you need to be prepared for the worst. This especially refers to proper clothes and footwear. If you are not sure what this means, make an extensive research, and as general rule, avoid cotton and choose wool and synthetic materials.
Water is tricky. Without it, we can’t survive, but in the wilderness, some rain or snow can put us in potentially dangerous situations. Getting your clothes or some of the survival tools mentioned above wet, may defeat their entire purpose, which is why it’s smart to pack a dry bag.
Shelter is the most important thing when we are somewhere in the wild. It what protects us from the cold and from the water. Sure, some more hardcore survivalists have the knowledge to make their own shelter out of almost anything or at any place, but for the less adventurous and more prudent, having a tarp is the most basic, and space-saving shelter making item they can bring along. There are many reasons why tarps always make it to the lists of key tools for survival. Even if you are on a basic camping trip, and you have your sleeping bags and tents with you, a tarp is a great addition, since it can be set up under the tent to protect the bottom, or over the tent to keep it dry. You can also use it to protect the gear, as a surface for preparing food, or in some more intense situations, you can even use it to collect water.
Space blankets are lightweight, small, heat-reflective sheeting. They help against humidity and keep your body warm, by reflecting the heat back at you. They can’t replace a sleeping bag, but they can keep you and your shelter dry. Furthermore, because of their metallic surface they can also be utilised as a signaling device for rescuers.
First Aid Kit
When you head into the wild, you expose yourself to many of our beautiful nature’s dangers. First aid kits don’t only prepare you for serious accidents, injuries, or illnesses. The elements, the rough terrains, the poisonous plants, the hungry animals, are just some of the things you should think about when prepping your medical kit for your outdoor survival. Also make sure you include any allergy medicine or chronic therapy on top of the usual must-have medicine and objects for any outdoor trip, such as pain, anti-inflammatory, anti-diarrhea medicine, antibiotics, antiseptic creams, antibiotic ointments, epi-pens, bandages, gauze, pads, alcohol etc.