Before you set foot for an adventure in the wild, it is momentous that you choose the right equipment. You need to consider where you’re going, how long you’re going to stay, current weather conditions, etc. You cannot take half of your closet or toolbox with you as you’ll be carrying just a backpack. With its limited space, you can carry only what’s essential to survive in the wild. Wasting space of the bag with unnecessary items might cost you even your life in the wilderness. So, before choosing what to take with you, compare the survival items with the following features.
Categorize the Essential Survival Items
Survival gear or tools can’t be defined in short terms. Based on where you’re traveling, different types of items will come in handy. For example, a lifeboat is the most essential item if you’re to cross a river or canal. Among the most essential survival items, Flashlight, Compass, and a Water Filter are the important ones to carry with you. In short, your items should match the environment will be in. A lifeboat will not help you at all if there’s no water body in the area you’re traveling. Similarly, a tent will not come in handy if you’re sailing through a river or even ocean. So, your gear should be optimized for the area you’ll explore which will make your survival easier.
Moreover, choose your gear carefully keeping them around a center of necessities. Backpack and survival vest are two essential items that are for carrying other gear. A tent will provide you shelter in the wilderness, and a GPS or compass will fill your necessities of navigation. In short, create different categories of necessity, and make sure your backpack is filled with items that serve the purposes from all the categories.
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Know to Use Your Essential Survival Items
As mentioned, your survival tools should come in handy in the wilderness and should be easy-to-use in emergency situations. Make a large list of items first based on your potential needs in the wild. Then cut out the ones that are less necessary, and make your way through the list while checking the items you’re taking with you.
A common mistake among amateur wilderness explorers is not practicing how to use each item properly. Imagine you’re in the wilderness at night, and you need to set up a tent as a shelter, but you don’t know how to set it up! It’s almost impossible to figure it out in the dark if you’ve never done it before. So, make sure you know the uses of each item you’re carrying with you and make yourself acquainted with how to use them. Some gear might be easier to use and require minimal knowledge, but some of them will require prior knowledge and practice. You don’t want even to die in the wild because of inadequate knowledge of just using a compass or GPS.
Consider Your Item’s Weight and Size
Categorizing survival items based on weight and size is not easy. A certain item might be heavy to carry but one of the most essential ones as a tent. Survival items will come in different shapes, sizes, and weights. But, they should be easy-to-carry as you’ll have to cross miles carrying these items. You’d want your items to be sturdy enough as you’ll pass through some rough terrains, but if they bring too much weight with sturdiness, just leave them at home. For example- one of the most essential items to carry in the wilderness is a water filter. You’ll not always find a lake with crystal clear and edible water. Wilderness is also filled with water bodies that have contaminated water. In such cases, having a water filter might save you from dehydration. But, water filters come in different sizes and weights depending on how they work. There are water filters with huge pumps and there are some just as small as a straw like the LifeStraw. The second one should be chosen to carry with you in the wild without any doubt.
Will It Come in Handy?
A tablet computer might fit in your backpack without taking much space, but that doesn’t mean you should carry it with you into the wild. You should not waste even an inch with something that has no purpose other than entertaining you for a couple of hours. The point is, you can’t take everything that fits in your backpack. You have to consider its usefulness and practicality. Why carry something that will just lie on a corner in your backpack the whole time?
As described earlier, each survival items will have different purposes to serve in different scenarios. Work through your itinerary to create a plan of terrains you’ll pass through. Think of every worst-case scenario and prepare your backpack with the necessary items. But make sure to cut out the ones that will not come in handy. If you’re not bringing canned foods with you, there’s no point to carry a can opener as you’ll not be able to buy foods from a supermarket in the wild.
Consider Your Essential Survival Items Durability
If your items are not durable or sustainable, it can even cost your life! If your gear fail in the wilderness, you cannot just buy another one. Imagine you need to pass through the jungle at night in the dark, if your flashlight doesn’t work, you can step on anything dangerous. That rope-like thing you’re going to touch could be a vine or a venomous snake! So, make sure your kits and gear are durable enough to sustain through your travel.
Never settle for low-quality gear just to save some space or just because it weighs less. A good military-grade hunting knife will surely have premium-grade steel that will make it heavy! But you can even use it to skin an animal which will not be possible with a kitchen knife. When your life depends on certain tools, you must not be thinking clearly if you decide to compromise with their qualities.
Choose Items with Multiple Purposes
Choosing gear that have multiple purposes to serve will make your survival easier in the wild. It will lighten the weight of your backpack, and you can carry more necessary items with you. If you’re taking canned foods with you, opening the cans with a knife might be a difficult task; you may even injure yourself if you’re not careful enough. Carrying a multi-tool gear like Leatherman-OHT will come in handy in situations like this. With a can opener, a plier, Philips screwdriver, wire cutter, a carbon blade, and a serrated edge, it will be a useful tool to carry.
However, look out for tools that might serve multiple purposes at a time but are not durable. Combining more than one tool in a gear sometimes compromises the quality of the item and makes it less sustainable. Serving multiple purposes will not help if your tool gets broken while you’re working with it. Again, you don’t want to depend on tools that are not sustainable when it’s a question of your life.
Know How to Organize Your Items
You can organize your items however you like based on your preference. There are different types of options preferred by different explorers. Some people like to organize them by category, others by size, or even activity. But, the best way to organize your items is to keep the same types of gear together. For example, keeping your knives and cutting-tools together will save you a lot of time when you need one of them. Keep the small items together in a purse that doesn’t weigh much so that you don’t need to make another exploration through your backpack when you need one of them. Items like your blanket should be kept at the bottom of your backpack. Keep your first aid kit in a place where you’ll find it quick. Remember to store essential items in side-pockets of your backpack or the pockets of your vest if you are wearing a survival vest.
If you’re struggling with choosing a way to organize your items, you can just go for MOLLE. It is a system adopted by the military to organize and carry the essential gear and items. MOLLE stands for Modular Lightweight Load-Carrying Equipment. To follow this system, you need to wear a vest with small pouches that can carry most of your essential small gear.
Lastly, a lot of situations in the wild are made worse only because of not carrying the proper gear in an easily-accessible way. If you’re attacked by a bear, it will not wait till you find a weapon from your backpack for a fair fight. By following the guidelines described in this article, your survival in the wild will be much easier.