10 Must-Haves for Backcountry Survival

10 Must-Haves for Backcountry Survival


Backcountry outings are an exciting opportunity for those seeking a primitive experience. Whether backcountry hiking or skiing, one never knows when Mother Nature will (not) cooperate. On your next adventure outdoors, make sure your pack contains these top 10 backcountry essentials.

Water Purifying Tablets
Water is essential for life, especially when perspiring and constantly releasing the body’s water supply. Every pack should have enough water; however, when supply gets low and you must resort to a stream, you’ll be glad to have a way to purify that green water.

Heat Source
In order to see, cook. and stay warm, heat is required. Match boxes work, but can easily be ruined in wet weather. Therefore, keep a water-tight lighter on hand for those out-back adventures to kickstart a fire.

First Aid Kit
It’s not guaranteed that you’ll need one of these every time you go out on a trip, but boy will you be glad you have one when you need it. Whether its bandaging a scrape or fighting off a bee sting, kits should be stacked with bandages, burn creams, ointments, eye solution, gauze, scissors, tape, soap, thermometer, and personal medications.

Ready to Eat Foods
Backcountry camping is known for devouring delicious dried camping food, which requires heated water for it to cook. However, in life-threatening situations, one must make sure adequate, non-cooked, wrapped food is in supply. Glucose tablets, gels, and chews are beneficial as they are light, easy to carry and serve its purpose to maintain blood glucose levels.

A rope is handy to escape, or climb out of, a potentially dangerous situation. Mudslides, avalanches, and earthquakes dramatically alter the earth’s surface, which may require technical help and skill to find safe land.

Survival Knife
A Swiss army knife or multitool is ideal to cut anything from a tree branch to clothing. A survival knife is one of the most versatile tools backpackers can keep on hand.

Map of Area
Although technology has taken this to the next level, backcountry outings should always come with a paper of the area. This is ideal in case of poor cell coverage, technological glitches, or possibly a damaged phone. A trail or topographic map may be the only tool to lead to a safe location.

Source of Warmth
Most individuals who are camping overnight will already pack sleeping gear. However, if heading backdoors just for the day, keep an emergency blanket on hand. Emergency blankets look similar to tin foil in order to attract, or deflect, heat. Emergency blankets are sold in pocket-sized wrappings, making it a lightweight source of warmth.

A whistle is used as a call for help. It can be heard much further than a screaming voice. This is also beneficial if stuck, or lying, underneath debris. Some high-tech whistles releases noise at a 120 decibels.

In the past people would follow the North Star, but luckily we have compasses now, which navigate the lost back on track. It is most ideal to carry a real compass rather than a phone app in case the phone gets lost or damaged.

by Elizabeth Kovar

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