We are all aware of a variety of essential survival tools, but how many of us actually keep them in our pack or on our person? Although no one expects to be in a survival situation, it is always a best practice to be prepared for the worst.
So, before heading out to hunt this fall, be sure to look at the contents of your pack to ensure that you have basic survival tools that would help you if you were unable to make it back home. My pack contents vary depending on factors such as: where,when and for how long I will be away. However, here are the staple items that I always keep in my pack.
Knife: Many people regard the knife as the single most important survival tool. I like to carry a knife with a single fixed blade, as it is stronger than a folding blade and you don’t have to worry about it closing. Not only is a knife good for hunting or skinning game, a sturdy blade is also essential to cut limbs or notch wood for building shelter, stripping bark for tinder or preparing food and many other tasks.
Thermal foil blanket: One of the lightest and thinest items I carry is a thermal foil blanket. These are inexpensive and worth their weight in gold! You can use them to retain body heat, catch rain, and also to windproof a makeshift shelter.
Fire starting kit: I keep a small waterproof case in my pack that contains flint, a striker, and cotton balls covered in Vaseline. Petroleum jelly helps the spark catch fire quickly. The cotton balls will hold the flame for a minute or two allowing you time to add tinder to the flame and grow a fire.
Flashlight: We don’t always have enough daylight to finish the tasks at hand, therefore it’s wise to always carry a flashlight to help see in the dark. Too, the light can also be seen from a distance by search and rescue teams.
Compass – Knowing how to use a basic compass even without a map can help to guide you in the right direction and bring you home safely. Take note: Metal objects such as knives and gun barrels will affect a magnetic needle.
Binoculars – Binoculars are very helpful in the field. Not only do they help you spot game from a distance that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to see with your naked eye, they also allow you to identify threats, trails or landmarks which can aid in helping you identify your location. In extreme survival situations the binocular lenses could be used as a signaling device.
Lastly, remember the greatest tool you have is your head. If you get disoriented STOP and remain calm. You want to stop, think, observe the area and plan how you are going to use the tools available to you.
Those are a few of the tools that I keep in my pack, let me know what survival tools you keep in your pack by commenting below!