Guest blog by Tom Huntington:
Spring is finally here! With prime summer hiking season just around the corner, now is a good time to check your gear for wear and tear, and to make sure your emergency survival pack still has all the essentials. Every outdoor enthusiast should know to bring an emergency survival pack and what items it should contain. Here are five basic things every survival pack of any size should include, no matter where you’re going.
1. A knife. A knife is one of the most versatile tools you can carry, and is one of the tools no wise outdoorsman would be caught without. A small folding knife is easy to pack, as it can either be placed in a pack or pocket, or clipped to your belt.
2. Water Proof Matches, lighters, fire-starters. One of the most important skills to have in the wilderness is to be able to start a fire. Bringing along a source of fire, or better yet, a few different ones, is absolutely essential.
3. First-aid supplies. Depending on how much space you have for this, be sure to at least include the basics: Bandages, disinfectant, insect repellant, and a pain-killer / anti-inflammatory, such as aspirin. Iodine pills are a good item to bring along as well for purifying water.
4. LED flashlight or headlamp. The brightest flashlights use LED bulbs. In an emergency situation at night, this can make all the difference. LED lights are also incredibly energy efficient, so an LED flashlight will last much longer when you need it.
5. Multi-tool. While almost all multi-tools include a folding knife, they also often include things such as saw blades, screwdrivers, can-openers, and other very useful tools in a convenient, compact unit. Having a multi-tool with you will greatly enhance your ability to tackle a wide range of tasks from repairing gear, to building a fire, to opening a can of food.
The idea of the emergency survival pack is to be able to cover your most basic needs: A fire starter for warmth, an LED flashlight for light, a knife or multi-tool for repairs, crafting items and obtaining food, and first aid supplies for injuries. While this certainly doesn’t cover everything that would be useful in an emergency situation, these items are good basics to start with, and should be at the core of even the smallest survival kit.
-- Tom Huntington writes about outdoor survival and emergency preparedness for the Coast Products website.