For a comprehensive list of what to include, read (optional): The Ultimate First Aid Manual: What to Pack
At least one person in a hiking group should carry an emergency kit. You may want to divide it up between several hikers so one person is not stuck carrying all the extra weight. What you take will depend on where you’re going and how long you plan to be away, but here are some essentials:
- Besides carrying plenty of water, take along some purification tablets or a filter in case you run out or get stranded somewhere
- Basic first aid kit (moleskin, wound disinfectant, ace bandage, ice pack, anti-inflammatory medication, band aids, tweezers, etc.)
- pocket knife
- signal mirror
- candles and matches in a waterproof container
- insect repellant
- magnifying glass
- extra food
- nylon filament
- extra prescription medication if required
- space blanket
- trash bags, which can be used as ponchos or ground cover
- cell phone (be aware that there are many places that a cell phone won’t do you one bit of good!)
For this class, we will be hiking near populated areas, and will never be too far from help. We also have a large enough group so that if someone were to get injured, some could stay behind with the victim while another group went to get help. Under these circumstances, the emergency kit can be fairly nominal. However, if your hiking destination is in a more remote area, and you’re only hiking with one or two others, you will want to make adjustments accordingly and bring more emergency supplies with you. Think of what can go wrong and bring supplies and equipment that will allow you to address that situation. It’s always best to be prepared for the unexpected.
Here’s an article with some good, common sense advice on putting together your own emergency kit.
You’ve probably seen people wearing those paracord survival bracelets…they’ve become a popular fashion accessory. But more than that, these bracelets can be invaluable when addressing an emergency situation in the backcountry, or can simply be a handy convenience. If you’d like to try your hand at making one of your own, here are some instructions. If you’re not sure what to do with one, check out these ideas. Which is your favorite use?