Arguably nothing is as important to your survival as is your access to a knife. A knife can serve a wide range of tasks, including cutting branches, making tinder, cutting ropes for traps, butchering animals and protecting yourself from threats. Without a knife, your options in the wilderness are extremely limited and your workload will be all the more challenging and wasting of your time--a commodity of great value when you're racing to protect yourself from the elements and nightfall.
You can make fire without a lighter, but it can be a lot of work--particularly if you don't have a flint and steel. Lighters give you access to fire in an instant and heat can be one of the primary challenges facing an individual out in the wild.
Whether for cooking food or boiling water, a metal container--such as a can--can come in far more handy than you may initially realize. The ability to cook will keep you safe from disease, and the warmth from consuming heated solids and liquids will help you maintain your body temperature.
High-Carb, High-Protein Food
The rule of hiking is to always pack one more day's worth of food than you will need. That's because if you get lost, you don't want to devote a large amount of your time--particularly in the first few hours--to hunting for prey. The trade-off of calories expended in search of food to the calories consumed by the food you catch can be minimal, and it's more important to secure shelter and warmth before food. Energy bars that are high in protein and carbohydrates will keep you fueled while you work to secure yourself in the wild.
These shiny metal-looking blankets are purchased as the size of a wallet and weigh 4 ounces. But when you're in a bind, they can be unfolded into a full blanket that does an incredible job of containing heat. It's the most efficient type of blanket you can use and one that can transfer light into heat, making it essential for the hiker--particularly in mountainous regions.
First Aid Kit
Whether it's a splinter, bee sting or serious cut, you don't want a medical problem interfering with your survival efforts. A good first aid kit also features essential items for the lost or stranded outdoorsman, including sunblock, gauze, antibiotic cream and tweezers. It can be a pain to carry when you don't need it, but it can save your life when trouble strikes.