Wilderness survival kits are essential for anyone wanting more from their outdoor experiences. When properly utilized they can open up a much larger world for exploration. Wilderness survival kits are customizable to ensure they provide the preparation and protection in any environment encountered be it cold weather, desert or tropical, though many of the components are universally necessary.
Wilderness survival kits should always contain items necessary to provide for first aid, fire starting, signaling, gathering of food, the building of shelter and navigation. For navigation, GPS units are okay, but they are prone to being dropped, damaged. A better ideas is to include an old-fashioned map and compass. The first aid kit should be well stocked, with rolls of gauze, triangular bandages (which can be used for compresses, splints, or slings), surgical blades, sutures as well as antibiotics like Oxytetracycline in case of diarrhea or infection.
A commonly overlooked component of a wilderness survival kit is the clothes on your back. Wool used to be the law of the land because even when wet it still maintained some insulating properties. Technology has now produced a wide variety of synthetic fibers which are lightweight, durable, and quick to dry. Layering clothing is effective at trapping warmth by creating dead space between the layers. In more arid climates long sleeved clothing and a broad rimmed hat can shield your eyes from sun damage and your skin from sunburn.
Wilderness survival kits must contain supplies for half a gallon of water per day. Whether you bring your own water or filter/purify your water as you go, your body consumes at least that much at rest. If the worst should happen and you find yourself with no filter and no purification tablets, look for two kinds of water that are safer to drink. The first is water from a fast moving stream or river, though even this may be loaded with sediment. Better yet is to find a stream filtered through solid rock. Just remember to look for clear and fast moving. The slower it’s moving, the more stagnant.
Above and beyond your carefully selected gear, above all else the most important element of your wilderness survival kit is you and the mindset you bring to a survival situation. Despair can kill just as fast as exposure to the elements. Focus on water, shelter (and fire), food, and safe travel back to civilization if you are cut off from it. Focusing on what you need to do to ensure those priorities will give you confidence and assurance and increase your chances of survival in an emergency situation even when you do make mistakes. And you will live to tell the tale.