As a sharp and prepared outdoor adventurer, odds are you probably have an emergency kit stashed away along with all your other gear. It has the typical items – fire starters, flashlights, an MRE or two, and maybe even a bottle of water. But no matter how full it might seem, you could probably fit at least a few of these five items that may save your life in an emergency. With a few dollars and barely any space at all, you’ll be able to trek through the wilderness with complete confidence knowing you’re prepared for any survival situation with these basic articles.
1. Road Flares. When you’re lost in the woods at night and can’t build a fire, road flares are a perfect way to get the attention of anyone nearby. They’re exceedingly bright, burn for lengthy amounts of time, and even emit smoke for added conspicuousness. If you don’t already have a few in your car, they can be easily found at automotive or hardware stores for little cost. Be very careful when you use them, however, as they tend to burn at exceedingly high temperatures.
2. A snakebite kit. Though most snake species in North America aren’t venomous, there is still a small chance that you could one day have a close encounter with a nasty, poisonous snake in the outdoors. These small kits typically come with a suction mechanism that can limit the venom traveling through your bloodstream, and can be had for under twenty dollars. For the worst case scenario, many come with a whistle that allows you to call for help while immobilized.
3. A signal mirror. If you’re lost in the outdoors during the day, your options for trying to be found are pretty limited. You could try building a fire – but wood that doesn’t smoke well is hard to notice in daylight. Alternatively, putting a small signal mirror in your survival kit could be just the ticket for being found on a bright, sunny day. By angling it so that it creates a glare with the incoming sunlight, you’ll be noticeable to others in the woods for impressively long distances. Distances that other tactics would have trouble matching.
4. Water purifying tablets. Typically made from concentrated chlorine or iodine, these little life-savers are a hallmark of outdoor survival technology. No matter what the water source – from a clear creek to a muddy, stagnant pond – water purifying tablets will make the water entirely potable and prevent you from catching any debilitating diseases in an emergency situation.
5. QuikClot. This ingenious little package contains a powder that essentially turns gushing wounds into scabs in a matter of moments. It works by absorbing all the water from the blood, leading to a high concentration of coagulating elements, and, in turn, forming a clot that stops blood flow completely. Whereas gushing wounds were once extremely dangerous when far from medical help, QuikClot has eliminated much of the associated risk.
To be fair, these emergency items are far from miracle workers. The best tool in a survival situation is by far your own head. But with preparedness, these tools can help to mitigate the risk of events you might not expect in the outdoors.