If you’ve done your fair share of traveling, you know you can never do it completely risk-free. If you want to see the world, you have to accept that you can’t predict everything and this is a good thing because it leaves room for new amazing, though sometimes challenging experiences. If you’re planning to backpack your way through the world, then you better know what to carry with you before you step foot out of the door.
Whether you’re an experienced traveler, or you’re just getting started, one of the first things you need to think about is your survival kit. Even you’re not planning on hiking through the Alps, you still need to have your survival gear with you at all times, which is why I’ll talk about what every modern survival kit should contain.
Have Your Shelter with You
If you prefer sleeping under an open sky whenever an opportunity arises, then I strongly recommend carrying some form of shelter with you wherever you go. Thankfully, the times of heavy and bulky tent equipment are long gone and you can now find super portable ones that won’t take much space in your backpack, and what’s more important, they’re incredibly light. There are many factors you need to think about when you’re buying a tent, including weight, design, capacity, and price and you should do some research before you get shopping. If you like to conquer the roads unknown on your own, there are excellent one-person tents that you can use just about anywhere, they’re extra light and you virtually won’t notice you have them. You also want a tent that’s easy to pitch and has a broad vestibule, so that you’ve got plenty of space to get tucked in comfortably.
While we are on the subject of sleeping, choosing the right sleeping bag is essential to your survival, especially when you’re facing harsher conditions in the wild. Think about what temperature rating you need in your bag, as well as what type of material you need prefer and will feel most comfortable in. I always prefer a bivvy bag, though a surprising amount of people find it claustrophobic, so make sure to choose wisely.
Tools and Navigation
You can’t carry a whole toolshed on your back no matter how much you want to, but it’s still important to carry some tools with you, just in case. You will always find flint and some cotton balls covered in Vaseline in my backpack because that’s the easiest way to get a fire going, which is very important in the wilderness. I also carry a good-quality multi-tool which has been incredibly useful on a number of occasions, as well as duct tape, a bandana and a paracord. These few items will be useful in pretty much any survival situation and you can even build a shelter from scratch in case you don’t have a tent with you.
When it comes to navigation, having a compass is a must for any hiker out there worth their salt. Sure, there are apps that you can use to navigate your ways through the iconic beauty of Europe, but most of them don’t even work when there’s no signal, and this is where good old compass comes in. Also, don’t be lazy and learn how to find your way without any additional gear, by looking at the stars, the Moon or your own analogue watch.
Food and Water Talk
Having drinkable water with you at all times is absolutely crucial for your survival and wellbeing, seeing that you want to be able to function normally throughout your trip. You might find yourself in places where you can’t know for sure if the water is clean enough to drink and you need to be prepared for this scenario. Iodine crystals are a great way to purify water quickly and safely, not to mention they’re very light to carry. You can also opt out for using water filters or purifying straws that work great, or you can simply boil all the water you find in nature and that way kill bacteria that could wreak havoc on your metabolism.
Food is not much of a problem when you’re traveling through major European cities since you can always find somewhere affordable to eat, but the situation changes dramatically when you head out into the wild. It’s always tricky to estimate how much food you’re going to need for a certain period of time, particularly if you’re new in backpacking waters, but you will hone your skills with experience. In my opinion, bringing some dried food, trail mix and canned food is a good foolproof idea when you don’t know when you’ll see a grocery store again. Just don’t burden yourself with too much stuff that you’ll end up carrying with you for far longer than needed, neither your back nor your stomach will thank you for it.
When I say survival, I don’t necessarily think about extreme Bear Grylls situations, but rather any situation that happens in the greater outdoors. You want to be as prepared as possible, and hopefully, these tips will do the trick.
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- Safe Traveling Europe: what a modern survival kit contains - 11th July 2017