There are many different items you should pack when traveling in the outdoors. A visit to any of the major department stores will overwhelm the average outdoors enthusiast with choices of must have items.
But what tools or clothing do you really need to take with you on a trip in the woods to be prepared should you become lost or have to spend more time out there than expected? The answers of what items are a true necessity to have whether on a hike, hunting or out for a boat ride are somewhat surprising given all the choices that are available.
One of the most important items to carry with you when going into the great outdoors is the proper clothing. Most people dress for the conditions, but in reality you need to pack clothing for unexpected conditions. This means packing rain gear such as a water-proof jacket with a hood and water-proof pants. It also means always wearing a hat that is suitable to the temperatures you will be in. As you mother would say don’t forget your mittens (or gloves) if there is the chance the temperature could drop. If you are in winter weather, wear a warm, hooded coat and snow pants.
This item is very appropriate at this time of year and is a must have when you stop to think about it. Sunburn can get out of hand very quickly and if you are stuck out on the water or in the open for a few days, without shade, should your boat break down or you become lost, then you are in a perfect position to get burned-badly. For this reason a high SPF sun block lotion is one of the most important items you can have with you all the time.
Anyone who has been outside fishing from shore in the early evening or been in the woods at just about anytime of day knows how bad the bugs can be. Imagine being stuck outside possibly for days when the mosquitoes are on the attack?
Bug repellants are effective against mosquitoes, ticks, black flies and deer flies for those who may find themselves unexpectedly walking through tall grass or stuck outside overnight. If you have a hooded coat on try to draw the hood tight around your face, then cover your exposed skin with bug repellant.
Everyone has their own particular brand that they prefer but my choice is Deep Woods Off! It can be purchased at most stores and I have found it to be effective at keeping most insects at bay. Just don’t spray it or any other aerosol type bug repellants on to yourself, the breeze outside will blow most of it away before it lands on your skin.
Instead, spray the repellant onto your fingers and wipe it onto exposed areas such as the back of your neck, ears, forehead, cheeks, wrists and ankles. Mosquitoes and other insects can carry diseases which could prove to be very dangerous should you get lost in the woods (and getting swarmed is just plain uncomfortable) so for these reasons insect repellant is one of the must have items when heading outdoors.
A high quality multi-tool has pliers, a knife, screwdrivers, saw, and can opener on it. A multi-tool is small enough to fit in your pocket and is one of the most important items to carry with you at all times in the outdoors.
Many people will say that the most important item to carry with you in the bush is a Swiss Army knife or a hunting knife, but when it all comes down to it multi-tools such as the models made by Gerber or Leatherman have all the same tools as the jack knife plus pliers for cutting or pulling. A hunting knife is great but in reality rather limited in its usefulness.
The ability to start a fire for warmth, cooking, or signaling help is very important. Anyone heading afield should at least bring a lighter with them. I usually pack a book of matches, a disposable lighter and most importantly flint and steel or magnesium fire starter. This way should one or more of the items become lost or wet there is a back up. Flint and steel is the best because it works in every condition, but the lighter is useful in situations when you need a prolonged instant flame.
A one liter (or one quart) stainless steel water bottle is the most important item to carry with you at all times in the outdoors. Water is vital to survival and people should consume at least 2 liters (2 quarts) or more per day. A metal water bottle can be used to boil water over a fire or transport water. It is also virtually unbreakable should the container accidentally get dropped.
There are many other popular bonus items that a person should carry when heading outdoors such as a compass, axe, and foil blanket. These items may help you find your way and keep you dry. But if space is limited in your back pack then the basic items listed here will help you survive in the toughest of conditions at any time of the year.
Copyright 2019 Mike Wilson