Map and Compass
A map is essential for finding trails, campsites, water and access to emergency resources, if needed. It is important to review a map of the area before you begin your outdoor excursion. You should also check with park rangers if possible to see if there are any trail closures or other conditions you need to be aware of while in the area. A compass is also necessary to keep you oriented with your location.
Water and Food
Bring plenty of water and a way to purify it in case you run out. Water can be boiled for 2 minutes to kill any bacteria that may harm you. Food is also necessary to keep your energy high. Pack small, high-protein snacks that can be easily accessed and eaten in all conditions.
A knife is a critical tool, because it can be used for many purposes. You can use it to cut through wood, fabric or other materials you might encounter while outdoors. It can be used to skin animals or cut open fish if you need to capture and cook your own food. It can also be used to open food containers.
Matches or Fire-starting Device
It is important to have tools on hand to start a fire. Matches can be ruined if they get wet, so a flint or other fire-starting device is recommended. Fire can be used to keep warm, cook food, boil water, send smoke signals or dry clothing.
Extra Clothing and Sunglasses
Dress in layers and be prepared for all of the elements you may encounter. It is important to also bring a change of clothing in case you encounter something unexpected or have to spend more time outdoors than anticipated. Sunglasses protect your eyes from the glaring sun, harsh winds and snow in winter.
Whistle and Mirror
A whistle and mirror can be used in the instance you need to seek emergency help and are in a remote location. The shrill tune of a whistle carries much further than a person's voice and may assist with rescue efforts. A mirror can be used to reflect the sun and capture the attention of people far away. It can also be used to start a fire by reflecting the sun's intense rays onto dried leaves or other flammable material.