4 Wilderness Survival Priorities and Essential Gear


Written by Dan Wowak, survival and bushcraft instructor and owner of the Appalachian Bushman School.

Summer brings thoughts of adventure and exploration into everyone’s mind. A long hike into the mountains, a trip to explore a new lake, or even a day hike on a popular trail are all exciting. Each trip into the outdoors comes with some risk though. A wrong turn, a bad storm, or a twisted ankle can drastically change the day. What you thought might be a 3 hour adventure might quickly turn into a 2 day unexpected trip.

Packing food, water, and your camera are all part of the excitement but it is also important to be prepared for the worst. With a few simple gear changes and additions you can set yourself up for success. Don’t worry we won’t add much weight or expense to your loadout.

Here are four things that can make a huge difference if something goes wrong.

Water
Ditch one of your plastic water bottles and replace it with a metal bottle. A metal water bottle will allow you to boil water and disinfect it during an emergency. This eliminates the need to carry water filters or purification tablets plus its the most effective way to disinfect drinking water.

Food
Pack a few extra high calorie energy bars, peanut butter packs, or protein bars in case of an unexpected overnight stay. Find enjoyable foods that are packed with calories and have a long shelf life. These few items should not be counted as your food you are taking along for the day but rather food that is only used during an emergency

Fire
A campfire allows you to boil/disinfect water, cook food, and most of all stay warm or dry off. Always carry two fire starting devises. First a lighter, it is easy to use and lightweight. Second, a ferrocerium rod. A ferro rod as they are known, throws a hot intensive spark with struck with a sharp object. These devises work in any and all weather conditions.

Shelter
What you wear is your first line of shelter so always dress warmer than you expect you will need. Also carry a light weight packable shelter or a tarp. In an emergency a shelter provides relief from the sun, wind, rain, or snow. A shelter can be very simple and will provide the greatest return in adverse weather conditions.

And there you have it a few simple additions to your backpack that can make a drastic impact during a mishap. Remember when it comes to being safe in the outdoors preparation is everything and that is no difference when packing up your gear.

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