If you’re into the outdoors, taking the right equipment with you when you set out on that mountain or forest trail could mean the difference between survival and disaster. While modern gadgetry like cell phones and GPS devices are becoming increasingly available in the most remote locations, you cannot always rely on them to work.  What sorts of things should go on your camping checklist?

Here, then, are seven key items you should always bring with you:

A map. Has the hiking trail you are about to journey on been mapped in some way, perhaps by the local or national forestry division? Or is there a topographical map available? If so, you would be foolish not to bring a copy of this map with you.

A compass. OK, so you didn’t bring a map and you got lost. Now what? It should go without saying, but should such misfortune strike you will be very grateful to have a compass with you. By telling what direction is North, you can orient yourself. If you know that a highway is to the east of you, then you know which way to walk to eventually get help.

A pocket knife. There are a million reasons you could find a pocket knife to be a lifesaver. From cutting rope to creating a tourniquet, if you have no way to cut something then you are practically helpless.

A first aid kit. Whether it’s something as minor as a knee scrape or something much more serious like an animal bite or breaking a bone, you will be glad to have the most essential medical equipment available to you should something bad happen to you. The kit will help you stop bleeding and prevent infection long enough for you to get back to civilization and a hospital. Ideally (and if needed where you’re going), your kit should include provisions for dealing with snake and insect bites. In any case, be sure you have the proper training for using your kit.

A loud whistle. Your voice simply won’t carry very far in a dense forest, and few people if anyone will hear you scream. If you get lost and are in a location where making noise can get you rescued, you will need something really loud, like a good whistle. Additionally, you can use a whistle to scare away threatening wildlife before their curiosity gets just a bit too close.

A hiking water filter. Water is life. You can last a lot longer without food than without drinking water. Why chance it? You may have need to take water from local rivers or streams–but there’s no knowing these days what pollution or bacteria may lurk there these days. A hiking water filter can help alleviate your concerns and make it likelier that you will swallow fresh, clean water.  Trust me, giardia is NOT fun.  Although it’ll most likely take you a few days to feel the full effects of the illness, it’ll make your very ill for months.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, be sure to filter your water!

If you keep these six essential pieces of gear in mind you will be in a much better position to deal with an unforeseen emergency or getting lost, should you have the misfortune of haivng that ever happen to you.  Have a great camping trip, and enjoy your hikes!

If you dont have the items yet, and want them you can check here for a great hiking gear selection.

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