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Essentials and more for safe adventuring…

·         Multi-Tool or “Swiss Army Knife”: One tool that has it all, scissors, fingernail clippers, knife blade, tweezers, screwdriver, bottle opener, corkscrew, file.

·         Fire Starter: Flint is best, but a good lighter is OK. (Gauze lightly saturated with petroleum base will start almost anything – as below).

·         Rope/Para Cord: Many uses, including medical emergencies.

·         Mylar/Space Blanket: As ground cloth, emergency sleeping bag, or even as a shelter from wind and rain.

·         Survival Set: Whistle, LED light, compass, magnifier, thermometer, and signal mirror. Since you can get all these in one – why not:  Coghlan's Six Function Whistle.

·         Water Purification Tablets or Filter: Stay hydrated!! Being able to purify whatever water is available is an important aspect of survival; plus, you carry less weight! Since dehydration leads to many fatal mistakes and diarrhea can be fatal in survival situations, a ready source of water is CRITICAL.

·         Duct Tape: The magic stuff that can fix anything. Buy the good stuff (3M), wrap a few turns around your water bottle or something similar.

·         Basic Sewing Kit: A sail needle can be used with the para-cord inner string to fix tears and more.

·         Cash: (A twenty and a quarter).

·         Toilet paper: The obvious – in a double water proof bag!

·         Water Bottle: One quart/1.5 liter shatter-proof, leak-proof bottle. (Minimum – wide mouth best)


Other Helpful/Important/Critical Items:

__Contact lens care stuff

__Extra eye glasses/sunglasses

__Celox (or similar 1 small pack – used to stop severe bleeding)

__Small pair of needle nose pliers with wire cutters. (Good quality)

__Small hank of brass wire (aka “snare wire”).

__Aluminum foil (12” x 24” sheet carefully folded into small square).

__3-5 sheets of paper towels folded tight and compressed into a zip-lock bag

__Multi-tool – any of the all-in-one tools that have pliers, saw, blades, etc. (useful for repairs).

__Headlamp (LED) with spare batteries

__Binoculars (small)

__Gallon size zip-lock freezer bags (for keeping stuff dry and an extra for garbage)

__Small zip-lock bags – as needed to keep stuff and a couple of extras

__Hygiene Items (razor (disposable), toothbrush, tooth paste (travel size), deodorant)

__Biodegradable soap

__Condoms (good luck!)

__Hand towel

__Map/ GPS

__Charged cell phone (if service is likely and you don’t mind the intrusion)

__Mosquito net

__Axe/wire saw

__Flying insect spray

__Sleeping bag cover

__Scrubber sponge (cut one in half?)

__Reading glasses


__Pen/pencil and notepad

__Camera (film, batteries, memory)


__Can opener/bottle opener/corkscrew


__Hand trowel (potty use) or super-light shovel (leveling tentsite)


Medical Kit:

Bandages: Band-Aids – larger (you can cut them into smaller sizes with your scissors).

Antiseptic Wipes (alcohol based)

Q-Tips (10)

Adhesive tape: good quality waterproof (doubles as “moleskin”). Moleskin (?) if you tend to blister.

Butterfly Closures (duct tape and band-aids are also useful in closing wounds)

Dressing, Non-Adherent, Sterile, 3" x 4"; Gauze pads, small (2” square)

Gloves, Nitrile (1Pair)

Tincture of Benzoin Topical Adhesive

Triple Antibiotic Ointment with petroleum base, 3 oz. tube (also a fire starter, as above)

Ibuprofen (10*200 mg)

Antihistamine (Benadryl/Diphenhydramine 5 *25 mg)

Aspirin (20 *325 mg)

 Imoduim (loperamide) (at least six tablets – 2mg)

Safety pins (5 small) – (a size useful for emergency sutures – or superglue?)

Preparation H – petroleum based (as general topical pain killer)

Prescription strength pain killer (Demerol (Meperidine)/Percodan (Oxycodone), etc.) Enough for a day.

Oragel or Ambisol (tooth/gum pain)

Hydrocortisone ointment (also used as a general soothing lotion)

Sunscreen, SPF 30+, 1 oz

Zinc Oxide (sun screen supplement for high altitudes). Small tube.

“Emergency” space blanket (use for burn dressing, wrap, sucking wounds, or as blanket)

Dental floss (small) sutures, string, et al.

Surgical scissors (small)

Razor blades (2 – single edge)

Surgical clamp/Hemostat (small 3”-5” – replaces tweezers, more versatile)

If you are sensitive to insect bites – repellant & bite kit (and instruct others on its use!)

Rolaids (not just as an antacid)

Antiseptic/antifungal/medicated powder

Personal medications!!!


Basic Equipment:

__Backpack (waterproof inner bags – there’s no such thing as a waterproof pack)

__Sleeping bag (temperature rating depends on season and weather conditions – extra long mummy)

__Sleeping bag pad (3/4 length?)

__Nylon straps with buckles/clasps, bungee cord

__Stuff bags (at least one to serve as pillow case)

__Stove and fuel

__Cook set

__Tent, fly, poles, and stakes (or bivy sac) – tensioning loops for guy lines if windy

__Ground cloth (poncho or space blanket)

__Cup, bowl, and spoon/fork/spork

__Water bottles (# depends on water availability) or (if you must) a camel pack


Clothing: (will depend on the season):

__Wool sweater or fleece

__T-shirt (no cotton!)

__Shorts (suitable for swimming)

__”Cargo” pants (no cotton or jeans!)

__Long underwear top and bottom

__Wool or fleece hat / Billed cap

__Gloves or mittens (for colder trips)

__Rain gear (top and bottom)



__Hiking boots

__Camp shoes (light sneakers or sandals, if desired) or tent booties

__Thick socks

__Thin socks (tight fitting nylon) worn under heavy socks will reduce blistering


Other things to consider:

__Credit card – don’t leave home without it!

__Personal emergency medical info

__Tell someone – ANYONE – where you’re going and when you are due back

__Spare car key

__Hiking/climbing permit

__The best survival item = knowledge!!!









Please let me know if you have comments about or corrections for this web site.


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