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Wilderness Survival Equipment

About the proper equipment necessary for wilderness survival including compass, matches, knife, and food, description and information.

Wilderness Survival

EQUIPMENT

Whether you go into unfamiliar territory for a day or a month, you should always go prepared. Remember that much of our wilderness country was preserved in its natural state because the terrain was too forbidding and its life-sustaining resources too few to support civilization. It can, at times, still prove to be a hostile environment.

Below is a "minimum equipment" list with some explanation of the parts.

1. Compass. Be sure you know how to use it.

2. Maps. USGS topographic survey maps are best, but if you can get more up-to-date trail maps, take them too. The more maps the better; discrepancies between them can alert you to possible hazards.

3. Wooden matches. Keep them in a waterproof case, or waterproof the matchheads by repeated dunking in melted paraffin.

4. Knife. The basic tool. A must.

5. Food. Some concentrated foods such as beef jerky, bee pollen, chia seeds, dried fruit and nut mixtures can keep you going for a long time.

6. Water in a canteen. You never know for sure if you'll find good water. The maps can be wrong.

7. Emergency shelter such as a rain poncho or a tarp. Space blankets are compact and lightweight. Modern foil and plastic creations are excellent emergency equipment, although they won't take heavy use.

8. Ditty bag. Various small extras such as first-aid equipment (adhesive tape, gauze, antiseptic, bandages, a snake-bite kit); fishing gear (hooks, line, sinkers); a small, extra compass; twine or cord; and perhaps a candle. Parachute cord is a nylon rope that is strong enough (550-lb. test) to hold your weight; 50' compress into a compact bundle.

9. Extra clothes. Your head, hands, and feet are the "radiators" of your body. If they are warm, you'll be warm, so extra dry socks, gloves, and a wool stocking cap can be valuable for their light weight. A light wool sweater is also useful. Wool is the only fabric that insulates when wet. When dry, it is one of the best insulating fabrics since it (unlike nylon) breathes and allows perspiration to escape.

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