Spring is right around the corner and that means hiking season will soon be in full swing. I want to share with you some of the tools and items that you will always find in my pack to help deal with any unexpected situations and to be able to adventure more confidently and safely. This is not a list for the basics or everyday things like car keys, wallet, phone, snacks, water, sunglasses, sunscreen, though those are important and should always be considered. Instead these tools are more focused on giving you an advantage if you find yourself in a predicament in the woods.
A good multi-tool can come in awfully handy whether for the need is for a sharp edge or a quick fix or repair. They combine utility, versatility, and portability. I’ve been a fan of Leatherman ever since my days in the service. It has proven itself a reliable companion and is easily the most used tool on this list,
This particular model may be a bit of overkill, but it will get you heard, and really that is what the whistle is for. This particular model by Storm Whistles is lightweight, colorful, and will definitely help get someone’s attention.
- LIGHT SOURCE
I prefer a headlamp though at times I have also carried a small flashlight as well. Regardless having a reliable light source is always a good idea in case you end up being caught up in the dark. This Black Diamond has several settings, provides good illumination, has good battery life, and is pretty comfortable. (Tip: Always check your batteries before you head out!)
- WATER FILTRATION
If you planned correctly you should never have to resort to this but it always pays to have a way to make potable water. This GRAYL is a recent addition to my pack. It filters pretty much everything you are going to encounter out in the woods meaning safe drinking water is just a dip and press away. It also doubles as a water bottle.
- SURVIVAL BLANKET
If things go extremely sideways and you find yourself stranded and have to make it through the night then this can be a real lifesaver. This particular one by Survive Outdoors Longer is light, compact, and made for two people.
A bit of rope can go a long way whether for first aid, building an impromptu shelter, or repairing a piece of gear. I carry 25ft of 550 parachute cord and that length should be enough to get you through most situations.
- DUCT TAPE
The secret weapon of every toolkit. Whether supplementing a first aid kit, fixing a tent pole, patching a piece of equipment, or even helping start a fire, your imagination is the limit when it comes to using this tool. (Tip: Wrap it around a pen or pencil, which is another good thing to have in your bag!)
- FIRST AID KIT
Most likely you already have a first aid kit in your vehicle but having one in your pack can be handy if you suffer a minor injury out in the wild. The one I carry is made by Adventure Medical Kits. It is a multi-person, multi-day type for the whole team. It’s larger but still lightweight.
- FIRE STARTER
Having a good fire starter can be a lifesaver. Matches or a lighter are always a good thing. You probably don’t need something like these Titan matches but they are storm and wind proof. To add a little more certainty toss in a magnesium block and striker as a backup.
- LAND NAVIGATION
A GPS is a good thing to have in your bag but it is still dependent on other systems and has limitations such as battery power and signal. You will want something more reliable. That’s where the map and compass comes in. Armed with these two tools you can figure where you are, where you need to be, and how you are going to get there.
Most of the time you probably won’t need to use many of these tools but on the occasion you do find yourself in a bit of a pickle these can make all the difference.
What about you? What are the things you always carry when you head out? Let me know in the comments below. If you enjoyed this episode please consider subscribing on YouTube to the Rooftops of America channel. Click the bell icon while you are there for all the latest updates. Also consider donating to the Rooftops of America GoFundMe Campaign so we can continue bringing you these episodes as we go highpointing across the USA. Thanks for watching!