Being prepared can prove to be the difference between survival and death in times of disaster, being stranded in the wilderness or any unforeseen natural calamity. Survival largely depends on human will and wit but having survival gear in your bag will better your chances. When disaster strikes or if you are lost or injured, the right gear will help you spend a fairly comfortable night outdoors and things like a whistle or fire signals or signal mirror can speed up the rescue process. Survival gear is meant to assume the worst since your life could depend on it. We give you a run-down of the top 5 gear that will hold you in good stead when calamities lash out.
1. Large Water Bottles and Water Purification Tablets
The first thing that runs out or gets polluted is water. Keeping large stainless steel bottles handy is essential in a survival kit. Some bottles have a special feature of allowing water to be boiled inside them without the need for another vessel. If there is no time to boil water or don’t have fire starters, water purification tablets come in handy. Buy a good brand and read the instructions before-hand so that they can be used effectively at the time of emergency.
2. Lighters, Fire Starters and a Waterproof Container
In particularly frigid temperatures, hypothermia becomes a very real danger. Being able to make a fire for warmth, boiling water and cooking is indispensable. A good quality lighter or water proof matches, tinder (finely shredded wood, pine cones, dried moss, wood shavings) and a waterproof container to hold these fire starters are extremely essential. In the wilderness, a fire also keeps wild animals at bay. Before running out of tinder ensure that you collect some more and dry it out if it’s been raining so that you have enough for later.
3. Adequate and Appropriate Clothing to Suit the Climate
Keep warm clothes, boots, gloves, rain gear, sun protection gear and pairs of socks and shoes in waterproof bags – these will keep you sufficiently prepared for any climate. Ensure that there is enough for everyone and for back-ups.
4. A Strong Waterproof Backpack and Sleeping Bag
Ensure that your survival gear and essentials are pre-packed in a good quality sleeping bag that will protect these items from any weather. A sleeping bag that is certified against cold weather conditions is also a must to allow for a rested night, which would be essential to ramp up the energy reserves for the day.
5. Packets of Frozen Food and Other Snacks that won’t Spoil
It would be difficult to survive without having enough food to last for some weeks. Lack of food would lower the body’s defences making it prone to illness which would add to the disaster. Keep these food packets handy in the emergency backpacks ensuring there are enough for everyone and some extra.
While these may be the top 5, there are some other essentials that would add to your safety and well-being when catastrophe rears its ugly head.
Cell phones and PLBs (Personal Locator Beacons) – essential to let evacuation teams know where you are stranded. Ensure that you always carry emergency numbers and should also be on speed dial. PLBs come in handy if the cell phone dies out or there is no signal. A Map of the area and Compass will help to find your way to a safer place or help you navigate your way out of the wilderness. A First Aid Kit is absolutely critical and should include pain killers, medical tape, cotton, disinfectant, gauze pads, duct tape, gauze roll and insect bite and frost bite creams. Ensure that you also have Self-Defence Items like a heavy duty pepper spray, a firearm, large knife, pocket knife and a multi-tool kit. These items will protect you against attacks from intruders and animals.
We recommend that some basic survival skills be practiced in normal times – finding shelter, building a fire, procuring and making water safe for drinking and improvising on food are just some important suggestions.