9 Essential Pieces of Backcountry Survival Gear


9 Essential Pieces of Backcountry Survival Gear


When heading into the backcountry, you need to carry survival gear. Mother Nature can be unpredictable and when traveling at high altitudes, the weather can change in a blink of an eye. From navigation to water purifying tablets, these nine pieces of gear can save your life in an emergency situation.

Water Purifying Tablets
Water is essential for life. When perspiring, the body releases water and essential nutrients. Without water, hikers fatigue and can become disorientated. It is important to carry enough water and purifying tablets in case your pack runs dry. These tablets can prevent sickness from bacteria found in natural water supply.

Heat Source
In order to cook and stay warm, heat is necessary. Match boxes work, but can get ruined in wet weather. Keep a lighter on hand for emergency situations. It is best to keep the lighter wrapped in a plastic bag in case you get caught in the rain.

First Aid Kit
First Aid kits are ideal for outdoor survival. Whether you need to bandage a scrape or use an epi-pen for a bee sting, first aid kits are useful for the unpredictable backcountry pursuits. Kits should include bandages, burn creams, ointments, eye solution, gauze, scissors, tape, soap, thermometer and personal medications.

Quick Energy Sources
Many backcountry campers bring dried foods that require hot water for cooking. During emergency situations, cooking food may not be an option. Pack plenty of ready to eat foods such as bars, gels, chews and glucose tablets to provide quick energy. They are light, easy to carry and do not take up much space in your backpack.

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 skills if stuck somewhere. A rope is necessary especially to aide with crevice rescues.

Survival Knife
A survival knife is one of the most versatile tools backpackers can keep on hand. Ideal for cutting materials that get in the way such as clothing or tree branches, everyday tasks around camp and in first aid situations, you should never head out without a good knife.

Trail Maps and Compass
Hikers should not depend on technology in the backcountry. Bring a trail or topographic map of the area and be sure you are able to read a map and a compass. If you don’t know how to read the North Star, then a compass can guide you back to safety. Many wilderness shops offer basic survival courses that teach you how to use a compass.

Emergency Blankets
Most individuals who are camping overnight will already pack sleeping gear. However, if heading into the backcountry, 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. These lightweight blankets weigh a couple ounces and can be a lifesaver in extreme weather.

A whistle is used as a call for help and can signal help if stuck or lost. Some high-tech whistles release noise at a 120 decibels. Hikers should wear the whistle around their neck in order to avoid rummaging through their pack in an emergency.