A Wilderness survival pack is critical if you intend to go off-grid (or simply want to be prepared for any eventuality). This pack should be designed to keep you alive for an indefinite amount of time, with everything you need to build a shelter, catch and cook food, find and purify water, and generally stay safe.
Although you can pick up pre-made wilderness survival packs, it’s generally a better idea to create your own. That way, you can ensure you’ve got the best materials and tools at your disposal, plus it can cater to your unique set of skills and competencies.
The knife is the most crucial aspect of any wilderness survival pack. If you know what you’re doing, a good quality knife can be used for almost anything, including:
- Carving tools
- Splitting wood
- Starting fires
- Making kindling
- Processing tinder
- Striking a Ferro Rod
- Hunting for food
- Harvesting foliage
- Skinning and processing game and fish
- Gathering materials to build a shelter
- And so much more
You should aim for a blade that measures around 5-6” and doesn’t fold up (folding knives are weaker than those made of a single piece of metal). Ideally, it should be made of high carbon steel that can throw sparks when struck with a flint or piece of glass and offers a 90-degree spin.
In addition to your primary knife, a multi-purpose tool such as a Swiss Army Knife is also instrumental to your survival pack… But don’t think it substitutes for a real, quality, woodsman’s knife.
Second only to your knife, the ability to create fire is a vital component in wilderness survival. Not only will it produce light and warmth, but the ability to cook meals and heat water is essential for preventing sickness.
A set of matches, a standard lighter, a waterproof fire starter, and a set of flints provide you with multiple ways to get a fire started. Pack all of these to give you plenty of options and back-ups. Splitz Firewood & Mulch is a great place to stock up ahead of your trip.
You might also find it worthwhile to carry some highly flammable fatwood in your survival kit to be used as firewood or stripped for tinder. Fatwood can be gathered from the roots of fallen evergreen trees or in the crevice where the branch meets the trunk.
It’s also worth packing some other easy-to-burn items such as compressed paper or fire gel for kindling.
Once you’ve got a fire, you’ll need to think about food. Metal traps are a convenient way of catching game while you complete other survival tasks. You should also never underestimate the benefits of incorporating a way to catch fish (even if you don’t have the space for a full fishing rod, the wire and hooks are easy to carry, and you can make a DIY rod on the go).
You’ll also need to think about cooking. While a camping Dutch oven is one of the best ways to cook on a campfire, a pie iron might be more suitable if you’re low on space. This space-saving and lightweight cookware will enable you to cook without needing to get too close to the flames and won’t take up much room in your pack.
Don’t forget a plate or bowl and cutlery, plus some standard cooking utensils such as a spoon and spatula. Always get metal for campfire cooking, and consider how you’ll wash up after use.
The human body can survive approximately 8-21 days without food, but only 3 days without water.
Water purification may well be the biggest challenge you face when surviving in the wilderness, so packing water purification tablets and a water filtration system can make the difference between life and death.
You should also be sure to have a method for carrying water to your campsite or on hikes. A water bottle for on-the-go drinks and a larger water container are vital. You will also need a metal container for boiling water over your campfire.
In addition to dealing with food and water, you’ll need some way of creating shelter from the elements. A standard tarp can be used in various ways and is lightweight for storage in your pack. Bungees and rope will help you secure whatever shelter you build.
You should also give some thought to the pack itself. You want something high-quality, durable, waterproof, and secure. Zips can bend and break, and stray branches can easily tag a rucksack while you’re trekking through woodlands.
Take a bit of time to research the best items to go in your pack and create the best way to carry your survival kit, and you’ll be able to live in the wilderness for as long as necessary.