With hunting season upon us, it's time to consider the survival gear that we will be taking along with us. And as we wander off the beaten path, we should be carrying the equipment to handle the most common emergencies that we could face in the field. Its a great habit to consider these items a standard part of your pack, rather than an emergency use only set of gear. Work closely with these items, train with them in the field, and update and replace according to where you're headed on your next adventure. Here is our list in no particular order.
1) Daily and Event-Related Medication
If you need daily heart medicine, blood pressure pills, insulin or any other vital meds, bring an extra supply of them on all your outdoor trips. Also bring any event-related medications like asthma inhalers in case of an attack, or epinephrine pens if you are allergic to bee stings or certain foods.
2) Communication Device
A fully charged cell phone or 2-way radio in a waterproof container could be your ticket home.
3) Appropriate Apparel
Wear appropriate clothing and outer wear. Skip the cotton in most conditions, unless you are trying to activate your life insurance policy.
4) Fire Source
Lighters, matches, and other fire makers such as flint and magnesium fire rods should be scattered throughout your equipment and clothing. Also include some type of dry tinder, that will give you a kick start on your fire starting needs.
5) Water Purification
A water filter that filters .1 microns will ensure you have access to clean water. Also a metal cup to boil water provides you a safe and unlimited water supply, providing you have water to begin with.
6) Light Source
Bring a rugged, waterproof light source, like a headlamp or multi function flashlight, include some back up batteries as well.
7) Emergency Detection
Carry a good, loud whistle and other signaling equipment like a mirror or compact disk that reflects well.
8) Stay Warm and Dry
Although this starts with wearing appropriate water wicking apparel, having a backup wool beanie, and dry change of long underwear will be crucial in a survival situation. Also, heavy duty trash bags are essential for many purposes, from ponchos to shelters and you'll be grateful to have them. Also consider carrying a rain jacket bright in color that is easily spotted in an emergency situation.
Carry a quality knife for dozens of obvious reasons from field dressing your wild game to gaining quick access to tinder. You may also bring a saw or serrated blade of some sort that will give easier access to trimming branches, etc.
10) First Aid Kit
You'll need a first aid kit to keep the red stuff in, and the bad stuff out.
An emergency food supply can give you energy to keep going, and you'll sleep warmer at night with a little food in your belly. Consider jerky which is an easy backcountry protein boost, MRE's or nonperishable type protein bars. Carrying a compact cook set will help bring the comforts of a warm meal.
12) Water Storage
Whether its a camelback of sorts or simply a bottle, a container/reservoir for water should absolutely be on your list.
13) Visual Aid
Having a good topographic map of your backcountry destination and a good compass could be the difference between a successful trip home or not.
Having 25-50ft of paracord on hand is valuable for many reasons like helping you sturdy a shelter, tie up meat and food from predators and scavengers, secure a splint, etc.
15) Paper and Writing Utensil
You should always carry something to write with, it allows you to document your journey on your hunt, wildlife you've seen, patterns you've learned and experiences you want to remember for years to come.