5 Items I Always Carry In The Wilderness

I wanted to write a quick post detailing the five items that I always carry with me in the wilderness.

Container

I either carry a stainless steel bottle, pot or a Grayl water purifier. Since water is so important to our survival, you want to make water procurement as easy as possible.

If the low temperatures over night will be above freezing, I generally always choose to carry my Grayl water purifier. This makes water purification fast and easy. Plus the water always tastes amazing.

If the temperatures will get below freezing at all, then I take either a stainless steel bottle or large bushpot for boiling my drinking and cooking water.

Cover

For cover, besides the seasonal relevant clothing I’m already wearing, I carry a poncho that can also be rigged up as a tarp shelter. I love having multifunctional gear as long as it is useful and works well for both intended purposes, which I believe the one I carry does.

Having the availability to make a quick shelter to get out of the rain, wind, snow or to just create a micro climate to warm up, is extremely beneficial. To be able to setup a quick shelter without the need of natural resources is a time and calorie saver. In the event of a true emergency, I’d want to be able to setup my shelter as quickly as possible and save any energy on gathering fuel for a fire and water purification. Also, if I were hurt, it would be extremely hard to build a natural shelter depending on the type of injury.

Cordage

I always carry a hank of 550 Paracord with me. It can be used for so many projects around camp from shelter building to an endless amount of camp projects. It can also be used for fishing, primitive trapping and gear repair, just to name a few. I also usually carry a 25’ piece of #36 bankline which is a great complimentary cordage to Paracord.

Fire kit

I carry a leather belt pouch I made out of stone oiled kodiak leather. It contains my extensive fire kit. My fire kit contains a flint and steel kit, char material in a tin, lighter, magnifying lens, quik tinder tabs, fat wood fuzz, a chunk of fat wood, fero rod, opinel pocket knife and some jute twine.

Knife

I always carry a good fixed blade knife that I know I can depend on. Having a good knife can make camp chores a lot easier, allow for game processing, opens up a lot of projects that can be done around camp to stay busy and keep the mind focused if lost and in an emergency situation. A knife is a great tool as long as care is taken and it is used in a safe manner.

This is not an extensive kit by any means, and these are not the only items I generally carry, but these five items are always with me. This is a basis for my wilderness wandering kit. I’m confident in this basic kit barring any serious life threatening injuries. I do carry varying first aid kits when wandering wild places.

What are your top five stay alive items that you always carry, whether urban or wilderness?

Quick Tip #22

Planning for a backpacking or camping trip? If so, I recommend using lighterpack.com You can sign up for a free account and use their free forms to keep track of what gear you’re taking, carrying and wearing. It’s a great way to track your pack weight and to see if there’s anything you need to change, add or do without. All the forms you create are saved to your account and you can share them as well. Check them out and let me know what you think.

Quick Tip #21

So, you made it to where you want to camp for the night, and you’re all setup, then you realize it’s going to be dark soon and you start scrambling around to gather natural tinder and wood to get a fire going. Does this sound like your normal routine? It used to be mine years ago until I started carrying a tinder pouch on my belt. Now as I hike along, I gather natural tinder, birch bark, small twigs and anything else I might be able to use to make a “birds nest” and get a fire going. I also grab a few pieces of wood (sticks) that are slightly thicker than my thumb and break them short enough to fit in the pouch. I use these for making feather sticks.

Carrying a tinder pouch and filling it as you hike makes for a less stressful time later trying to get a fire going and it means you’ll most likely have better quality material to work with. Some advantages to carrying a tinder pouch are that everything you put in the pouch gets mixed together and ground together as you hike and if anything is damp it will help dry it out by the time you get to camp. Also, if it starts raining along the way or by the time you get to camp or before you get a fire going, you’ll have a bag full of quality dry tinder to work with instead of trying to scrounge around in the rain.

I highly recommend training yourself to grab natural tinder as you hike, whether you put it in your pocket, pack or designated tinder pouch, you’ll thank me later when you have a much easier and relaxed time starting a nice warm cozy fire. Do you already carry a designated tinder pouch? If so, what natural things do you grab to fill your pouch? Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a comment with your answers to the previous questions.

Fire Kit

 

Pictured are some basic fire kits I made for my older three boys, Father and brother for Christmas. I wanted to make the kit compact but encompass more than most kits do. I put everything in a metal tin (similar to an altoids tin) and included a fero rod, 6 ft of jute twine, a piece of chert and a steel striker I designed, made and heat treated.

I used 1095 steel to make the striker. I drilled an indent in each striker so that they can be used as a baring block for the bow drill, primitive friction fire starting technique. I made all the edges 90 degrees so that the edges can be used to scrape wood for fine shavings or be used to scrape a fero rod.

The tin can be used to make char cloth. They have room to add char cloth as well as add some quik tinder or other modern tinder for fire starting. Hopefully sometime soon I’ll be able to sit down and teach them all how to start a flint and steel fire. I did teach my older son, who was excited when his first try was a success. I’m sure they’ll be addicted to starting a fire in the wilderness this way, just as I am. Flint and steel is by far my favorite way to get a fire going. What’s your favorite fire-starting method? Have you ever used flint and steel or any primitive friction methods? I added some pictures of me heat treating the steel strikers in my simple forge.

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MY “SIMPLE KIT”

Sometimes it’s nice to just move about in the wilderness with less weight on your back and minimal supplies. Partly it’s to be challenged and on the other hand it’s the simplicity of it. I thought I’d share with you today what I carry in my “simple kit”.

Carried On Me

  • Fixed Blade Knife (attached to my side)
  • Pocket Knife or multi tool in my pocket
  • Small Fire Kit
  • Small First Aid Kit
  • Compass

 

Bedroll

  • Wool Blanket (Rothco or Pathfinder Blanket)
  • DD Hammock Superlight Tarp
  • Klymit Inflatable Sleeping Pad
  • Boreal21 Saw in a waxed canvas sheath
  • 550 Paracord Bedroll Strap to carry everything in the bedroll
  • Food Pouch

 

Water Bottle Pouch

  • Stainless Steel Bottle and cup with reflectix cozy
  • Eating Utensil
  • Sawyer Mini Water Filter
  • Fire Kit
  • Cordage
  • Bug Repealant
  • Pace Beads
  • Snacks

 

I carry my bedroll to the right of my body, strap over my left shoulder, and the water bottle carrier to my left with the strap over my right shoulder. The straps create an X on my back and chest. I find this to be a nice simple kit for me. There are some things I could cut out and there’s always things that can be added but sometimes it’s nice to get outdoors with just a basic kit. If for some reason I want to carry my small axe, I could carry it in the axe pocket of my Fjallraven Vidda Pro pants but with a good knife and a saw I really don’t need the axe much in the wilderness where I live. What “Simple Kit” do you carry? What would you add or take out and why?

Simple Kit