Preparing for the Outdoors: The Ten Essentials

If you are planning to spend any amount of time outdoors, it is critical that you make sure you are prepared for anything. Recreational activities like camping, hiking, and backpacking are great in order to get out and enjoy nature, and they can be fun for the whole family! However, emergency situations can and do happen in the wilderness, and if you are miles from civilization, the chances of survival largely depend on you and your gear. In order to be prepared for a trip out into the woods, make sure that you are familiar with the Ten Outdoor Essentials.

ten outdoor essentials when preparing for the outdoors

The Ten Outdoor Essentials is a list of items you need in order to enhance your chances of survival if an emergency situation occurs. Ideally, these items need to be brought on every outdoors excursion. After all, being prepared is better than being sorry. However, as you grow more familiar with the list, you can modify it to fit your needs. The Ten Essentials is helpful to approach as a number of different systems. When preparing for the outdoors the Ten Outdoor Essentials are:

  • Navigation – A map is a must have on any hiking or camping adventure. You need to know where you are going and how to find your way back. It is also helpful to take a compass and know how to use it to orient yourself. Topographic maps are extremely useful for backpacking and going off-trail. A GPS can be a helpful tool, although it should not be relied on only. *We have a great post on how to prep a map for your family for you to follow up with.

  • Sun Protection – Sunscreen and sunglasses will protect your skin and eyes from the harmful effects of spending time outdoors. Be sure to reapply sunscreen often and pick one that has a SPF of at least 30.

  • Insulation – Even if you don’t plan to be outside for a long period of time, it is always helpful to bring an extra layer of clothes like an insulating jacket and hat. The weather can change rapidly in the wilderness, and hypothermia is a real threat, even in the summer.

  • Illumination – A headlamp or flashlight can come in handy in just about every situation. Headlamps are preferred because they are lighter, use LEDs, and free up your hands. Just be sure to pack extra batteries. *We love this little tactical flashlight.

  • First Aid Supplies – A good first aid kit should include supplies to treat everything from blisters, scrapes, upset stomachs, bug bites, and aches and pains. You might even want to include a splint and latex gloves for broken bones or other serious injuries. First aid kits come preassembled or you can build your own emergency kit.

  • Fire – If you find yourself stranded in the woods, building a fire could save your life. Invest in some waterproof matches and be sure to include some sort of tinder or firestarter like dryer lint. *Make sure you teach your kids how to start a fire as well.

  • Repair Kit and Tools – Handy if your gear is in need of repair, a knife or multi-tool is a must. They can also be good for food preparation and a variety of other things. A good repair kit also includes sewing needles and thread, patches, adhesive, and safety pins.

  • Nutrition – Be sure to bring extra food so you can give your body the energy it needs. Jerky, energy bars, and dried fruit are all easy-to-carry items. *Dehydrated apples are a tasty choice that you can make inexpensively at home.

  • Hydration – Keep your body hydrated by making sure you have extra water. Bring a water bottle or hydration reservoir in order to have plenty. If you are going to be in the wilderness for an extended period of time, you will also need to find water sources and a way to treat water.

  • Emergency Shelter – Recommended even for day trips, an emergency shelter can keep you warm if you find yourself having to spend the night in the woods. Emergency shelters include space blankets or a bivy sack (Amazon affiliate link).

What are your essential items when preparing for the outdoors? What items did we miss? 

*Notes with additional resources added by Barb.

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