No matter how experienced of a hiker you are, you should always have some sort of emergency kit. What exactly is in your emergency kit varies depending on you skill level, who you are with, and the area you are hiking in. To give you an idea though of what to include, here’s what I like to keep in my kit at all times:
- First-Aid Kit: This can be a store bought one, or one you assemble yourself, just make sure you bring it along with you.
- Knife: Any type of blade will really do, knives are an invaluable tool when hiking in the woods, and can be used in many different ways.
- Flashlight: Sure, you can use the light on your phone, but wouldn’t you rather save your phone’s battery so you can call for help?
- Extra Batteries: It’s better to be prepared for when your flashlight dies, than to be lost in the dark.
- Map and Compass: As long you have these two items, and know how to read them, you’ll never be lost.
- Flint and Steel: It can take a while to learn how to use flint and steel correctly, but after you do learn, you should always take this instead of matches. Lasts longer, and is waterproof.
- Duct Tape: As every seasoned camper knows, duct tape has the uncanny ability to fix anything. Well, almost anything.
- Whistle: These are great for calling attention to you when you think you might see someone who can help.
- Space Blanket: In case you get lost overnight, these keep in 90% of your body heat. They will definitely keep you warm through the night.
- Emergency Food and Water: You don’t know how long you could be stranded, so always bring an extra two bottles of water, and some granola bars. If you want to be even more prepared, bring a water purifier.
Now, this is just a general guideline, you will have to alter it to fit your needs. Such as, if you have a medical condition, bring a couple days worth of your medication, in case you do end up lost. If you’re hiking in bear country, bring a can of bear mace. Little alterations like those can mean the difference between being found alive or dead. It’s your job as a responsible hiker to assess the situation you will be getting into, and to decide what to bring with you.