There are a few tools that you should always take with you when leaving the conveniences of home and entering the wilderness. You never know what you will encounter and any challenges you will find. By packing wisely you can increase your chance of beating the odds if you become stranded. Surviving in the wilderness is tough no matter what your conditions are, but anything that can prepare you and help you get through the worst is worth the extra weight in your backpack!
First of all, always carry a canteen or water bottle. A metal canteen is a great choice if you are entering deep woods or a remote location. Not only will the canteen carry water, the metal can withstand the high temperatures needed to boil water to destroy and bacteria or virus. A canteen with a shoulder strap should definitely be carried on your body whenever you are in the wilderness. This will ensure you will not become separated from it, or loose it.
You will also need to be sure you have a sure method of starting a fire with you. Matches are great, but they can become ruined if soaked. Lighters are also great, but the gas can leak out and the flame will not ignite. A lighter will still provide you with a flint though and create a spark even without any fuel inside. A magnesium flint combo tool is a great backup to include with your lighter or matches. The magnesium can be scraped onto kindling and ignite very easily with the attached flint.
Also, carry some tinder for a fire. Paper and thin cardboard are the best options. They can be packed easily into a plastic baggie along with your matches and alternative fire starting method.
A survival tool such as a Leatherman is also very important to carry with you. A knife, can opener, pliers, tweezer, saw blade and screwdriver can all be compacted into these tools and may save your life. Cutting tree limbs and fixing food are just two of the most common jobs this tool can accomplish. Carry it on your belt so that you will not loose it.
Next on my list of essential surviving tools is a compass. A compass can direct you home as long as you have an idea of where you are. Learn how to use the compass before you leave so that you can navigate if stranded in the wilderness.
A magnifying glass is also another great survival tool to carry in your backpack. A magnifying glass is just one more way to light a flame and assure you will eventually have a fire.
Some light food should also be carried with you. Beef jerky is a great protein and calorie source and is very light. Ramen noodles pack easily and provide a healthy meal. Granola, nuts, dried fruit, and power bars are also great items to include in your survival pack.
If you are planning on doing some intense outdoor activities, be sure to go over this list and pack carefully. By preparing for the worst, you will often avoid any traumatic experience, but you are ready if it comes!