Welcome, if you are getting interested in getting outdoors, then you have probably asked yourself the question or you should be asking the question “what should I always have with me as a bare minimum just in case?” Well, you came to the right place! Here, I will go over what I take with me on every outing, rather if that’s a day trip, overnight backpack weekend trip, or really anything where I’m going to be away from my home I take this basic hiking survival kit with me. It contains the items that I have come to find work out very well for living in the state of Arizona, especially in desert areas. Follow along as I dive deeper into what is all in my kit.

Fire –

In our everyday lives we become spoiled! Over time we become accustom to being able to turn on a light every time we walk in a room, just by a flick of a switch. Or when we are in need to cook up our food, we go straight to the kitchen and use the microwave or stove. When you’re in the middle of nowhere, you don’t have those luxuries, so that’s why it is very important that you have to learn to create your own light with fire. Having a good and reliable way of making fire is essential. Here are a couple of options that I use. It’s nothing to complicated, all you will need is:

·      Good lighter and matches (wind and waterproof preferred).

·      Trusty flint fire starter (Tip: Make sure to get some practice with this, they are not as easy as they seem)

·      Store bought fire starters or type of kendling (I ues leftover lint from the dryer)

Now all I do is put this all items listed above in a small zip lock bag and keep it in my backpack in a safe and easy to get to location at all times.  

(Tip: Also, take some time and gather some basic knowledge of fire making types and how to use them, such as: log cabin, teepee, lean-to, star, platform (or inverse) and bundle-up.)

Shelter & Sleeping – It’s The Home Away From Home

Now, this is not what it may seem. We are only looking at emergency survival situations. This would not be considered for your everyday camping trip but as a backup to your everyday gear. Remember, you are out in the wild, there’s no store up the street. If your lost, your lost, and if you don’t have reception or the ability to get help, you must be prepared. For this I look at the one thing that makes the most sense. Bivy’s, yep this light weight reasonably priced item can really be a life saver.  I do highly recommend these. 

I currently use two different versions myself. I have an emergency blanket and I have a sleeping bag, both of which packs up light and takes up little space. The blanket is big enough to be used as a tarp to make last minute shelter, and the sleeping bag is just thin and light enough to make it easier to carry. But, it’s just perfect for the “in case of an emergency”, you would be good for one to two nights. Or, if you need to wait out a possible storm. Either way, these are great items to have.

 First aid – From the Basic to Extreme and Everything In Between

I use to think carrying a first aid kit was a waste of time, until I rolled down a hill, sprained my ankle, and scrapped my legs pretty bad. It was then I realized how important it really was! You never know when a freak accident could happen. So that’s why it’s better to be prepared than not. Now if you have researched this, you’re probably asking yourself, Do I need a large kit, or a small kit? Do I just need some band aids? What exactly do I need?

This is actually one of the harder topics because you will find out what you need the more you’re out hiking or adventuring. You can choose to buy an already, pre-made first aid kit. Or if you’re on a budget, you could just carry a general purpose first aid. Make sure you have at least Band-Aids, gauzes, ace bandages (come in handy for sprains; those do happen) and helpful guides in treating basic first aid. Again, this is something you can adjust as needed, but again having something in case on an emergency is very important.

Navigation Tools – Bring Out That Compass and Map

Here we are at the most important topic’s, I cannot stress this one enough. Please make sure you have a good compass and a map of the area you are going to be in.  Hiking is fun, and relaxing but it can be very easy to get lost telling yourself, “it’s just over that hill,” but you really have no clue. There are some great apps and gps devices that work very well but remeber technolgy relies on batteries only work as longs as there charged. here In Arizona there are around 600 search and reasuces for people who are stranded, lost, injured or decesed in very remote and inaccessible terrain. Having access to a compass and map is a piece of mind, and know how to use them will allow you to alway be able to fine your way. 

(Tip:  I would recomend looking into your locial area for map reading or navigation class and get that under you belt. If you are in the arizona area REI does offer classes like this).  

That’s My Kit – Now Start Your Own

         Hiking is an adventure that everyone should be able to enjoy and feel comfortable doing. Now, with your new basic hiking survival kit, you now know everything you need to partake on your own adventure. Between the ability to have the gear to start a fire, make shelter, possibly sleep, the ability to find your way if your lost, or not, and how to preform basic medical treatment if needed. Keep in mind, make your own tweaks based on locations, climates, and destinations to make it work for you.  Please commit below on what you take with you as a requirement for any outdoor activity that you do.