Emergency Must Have

Emergency Must Haves

It's impossible to foresee every emergency, but it doesn't take a crystal ball to predict a few cuts, blisters, scrapes, bites … and maybe even getting lost when you're on an outdoor adventure. Whether you're on a challenging climb or enjoying a gentle hike some safety items are simply must-haves. More experienced adventurers or those planning trips to more challenging environments should consider a full-blown survival kit.

A first aid kit is one of the key items and to ensure you purchase one with the right contents go to a store that specializes in your chosen outdoor adventure. Not only can you ask questions and get expert advice from individuals who've been there and done that, but they'll make sure your kit contains the items you need. As with any kit you take on outdoor adventures it’s a balance between carrying everything you may need and loading yourself up with too much.

If you'd prefer to build your own first aid kit be sure to include compression bandages, adhesive bandages of different sizes, scissors, gauze, "moleskin" for blisters, disinfectant spray, pain medication and a tensor bandage. If you’re on any prescription drugs make sure you pack these too and if it’s a long adventure think about taking spares.

Even if you only plan to flick open your cold ones with it, you'll likely find yourself using your Swiss Army Knife in dozens of creative ways. Depending on the model you have you can find yourself chopping and dicing to prepare your tucker with more style than a French chef! But more importantly, they can shave kindling, repair damaged equipment, tighten screws, cut rope and remove splinters. My missus often jokes that if our house caught fire she’d be grabbing the family photo albums before jumping out the window and I’d be running for my Swiss Army Knife before making my exit.

The Swiss Army Knife you choose will depend on the outdoor activities you’re into, but at the very least get one that includes a screwdriver, can opener, scissors, mini saw, tweezers, and pliers. Trust me you’ll be using the little beauty every week at home so even if you’re not a regular outdoor type you’ll get your money’s worth out of it.

The next item on my survival kit essentials couldn’t be more simple – a plain old whistle. If you're lost in the wilderness, take a fall off your bike in the middle of nowhere or get lost in a pea-soup fog a whistle can be worth its weight in gold. A loud whistle can be used to scare off animals as well as being heard from greater distances than a human shout. If you get lost for a couple of days constant shouting is going to drain your energy as well as your spirits so a whistle really is a must-have. Lightweight, easy-to-pack and cheap to buy, this piece of emergency equipment should go everywhere with you on your outdoor adventure.

Another very simple yet very effective piece of emergency equipment to consider is a signal mirror or the modern equivalent strobe light. Both of these are cheap, light and easy to carry and our literal life savers.

The next item on my emergency equipment list causes some arguments between me and my mates. Campers usually pack a variety of flashlights and lanterns but many day-trippers don't think to slip one in their backpack. If a daylight trek extends into the night when you stray off the trail or maybe get slowed down by an injury, even a small flashlight can be invaluable. A flashlight that operates by a crank or wind-up is a great option. Some of my mates carry a solar rechargeable L.E.D. key chain light and these are great for signalling as you can see them for miles but not so ogood finding your way along a trail when it’s pitch black.

Taking a cell phone into the backcountry might against the spirit of ‘getting away from it all’ but in an emergency it can save your life. Advancements in mobile technologies and networks have turned former cell phone dead zones into active communication areas so don’t think taking one is a waste of time. If you’re into more extreme adventures like mountain climbing a satellite phone should be on your shopping list – not cheap but something you really do need. Of course even if you’re carrying a cell phone you can choose whether to answer it so if the missus rings you can just ignore it and tell her the signal cu out when you get home.

I’ll let you in on a secret now – not what most people call an emergency item but I always carry a decent length of biodegradable toilet paper out on my adventures. Not only is it great for the obvious but a single square is great tender for starting a fire!

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