Surviving in the outdoors requires wits, determination, patience and many other characteristics. It can also help to have the right gear. Many products found in an outdoor retail store are designed for comfort, but a few are designed for necessity. There are some items that you should always have when you are heading into the wilderness.
If you are heading into the Montana wilderness in the middle of winter it is likely that you will remember to bring some type of fire starting device. You may not be as likely to remember it if you are hiking through the 100-plus-degree desert in Arizona. Regardless of where you are, a reliable fire starter such as a magnesium strip that sheds hot sparks when struck with a knife or other hard object is a crucial part of any survival kit. Temperatures in even the hottest deserts can drop significantly at night. Starting a fire in these or any condition can save your life, so be prepared with a waterproof fire-starting tool.
Space blankets are specially designed to reflect your body heat, sending it back toward your body rather than into the atmosphere. Many reflect around 80 percent of the heat you emit. The layered polyethylene film combines with aluminum and other technical materials to protect you against the cold as efficiently as possible. Putting this product in your emergency kit for hiking or having it in your car can significantly reduce your risk of hypothermia. The reflective material on the blanket can also serve as an effective signaling device during the day.
Whether you are lost or injured, a whistle can get the attention of rescuers or other people in the area around you. Yelling for help is not as effective a method for attracting attention. Not only does you voice not carry as far as a whistle, you also waste precious energy as you yell. Some manufactures produce whistles specially designed for emergencies; these whistles are louder than standard models. They are also waterproof, lightweight and easy-to-use.
If you are traveling in the mountains and you are caught in an avalanche, your traveling companions have about 15 minutes to find you before it is too late, according to the National Avalanche Center. This time crunch is the reason most back country skiers and high country hikers carry an avalanche beacon. This device transmits and receives signals between 60 and 100 feet. All beacon models are compatible with each other. If you are caught in an avalanche and trapped under the snow, your beacon will send a signal to any beacon within range, helping your companions or rescuers find you quickly.