Throzhek Asked: What should you have in your survival backpack/kit?
If I want to go camping for example, or simply do a "wilderness survival" thing for maybe a week. What should I bring in my backpack?
To go camping for a week and to do the "wilderness survival" thing for a week generally two very different things.
Going camping for a week means going and relaxing in comfort.You will have your tent, sleeping bag, full cook kit, enough food for the period of stay, fire making equipment, lantern, etc.It can weigh from 25 lbs to a hundred or more.
Doing the "wilderness survival" thing generally means some discomfort because of limited equipment.However, you utilize all of your survival gear to see if it really works and how proficient you are with it.
For a survival backpack/kit, you will want the following items:
Three types of fire starters
Something to use as shelter or fashion a shelter (i.e. a tube tent, etc.)
Something to sleep in (i.e. emergency bivy sack, etc.)
Some high energy food
Food producing equipment (i.e. fishing kit, snare material, etc.)
Light weight cook kit
Stove? It would have to be very light and use readily available fuel such as wood if carried at all
First Aid Kit
Axe or Saw
This list should get you started.
Water filtration: It's worth the investment in quality gear. Giardia and other internal creepy-crawlies are no fun and may cut your trip short, or worse.Platypus has good hanging bags for base camp; Katadyn has good portable models for trekking.
Food: Pack a lot of energy into the smallest space you can – you'll need it. Many of the energy bars are good, but you can do just as well – and cheaper – with unprocessed foods. Peanut butter is good for vegetarians; shelf-stable tuna or chicken otherwise. Pita bread travels well if you keep it dry. "Idahoan" makes a line of instant mashed potatoes that are easy to make and tasty (but, again, processed). It's easier and lighter if you don't choose to cook, otherwise you're looking at a stove and fuel.
Shelter: A lightweight tent with a rainfly is a must. Bring a ground tarp, too. A friend also recommended an old sheet of Tyvec (the house-wrapping vapor barrier) to put inside the tent. You can run it through the washer a few times to get the annoying crinkle sound out of it. Just as important as the many tents and bivvies out there is the setup location. Try to anticipate where runoff may flow and avoid camping under "widowmakers," i.e., dead or dyingtrees that can fall over at night in a blow. Survival blanket while trekking. Rain gear might not hurt, depending on how much gear you've got and how cold it'll be. Frogg Toggs are cheap, but not worth it. Again, if you need it, it's worth investing in quality rain gear. Sleeping bags are personal preference (mummy or rectangle, liners, etc.)
Lots of suppliers offer first aid/emergency kits. One way to think about it is to consider what's a true "emergency." Anything related to a failure of food, shelter, health, safety and navigation can be an emergency. It's not an "emergency" (usually) if you have a headache or upset stomach. Uncontrolled bleeding, hypo- and hyperthermia and drowning are more serious concerns. Some firestarters work better in wind and rain than others – experiment. You need dry kindling and fuel, too. Dryer lint is great kindling, light and not bulky; put some in a ziploc. Keep a change of clothes in a drybag to you can get dry and warm if you fall in water. You probably don't need to invest in any bear bells or whistles, and many places ban spray, even personal protection cans of mace. The best idea is to educate yourself about what to do to avoid contact and what to do in the unlikely event that you do encounter a bear.
Comfort: You'll do yourself a favor by bringing baby wipes for "personal" matters. These aren't biodegradable, though, so you'll need to seal them up and pack them out. If you use toilet paper, use biodegradable. You'll want a dedicated, small, shovel to dig a cathole: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathole. Sunscreen/bug repellent.
The unsolicited advice: Let someone know where you're going (as specifically as possible) and when you're expected back. Remember it's still possible to get lost with GPS. Be sure to check local rules and regs about permits, fees, permissible camping locations, etc. Some of the most beautiful areas stay that way with good rules and management. Please remember to pack out what you pack in (and more if you can handle it): http://www.lnt.org/. Also, most people don't know that if you fall in cold water, you won't live long enough to die of hypothermia. The initial shock, plus "cold-water incapacitation" while drown even a fit, capable swimmer.
Try the Marines then.
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