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11 Things I Wish I Knew About Survival Gear When I First Started

11 Things I Wish I Knew About Survival Gear When I First Started

If you’re an adventure seeker like me, you know how thrilling it can be to take on the next new challenge.

I’ve climbed the Seven Summits, hiked through the Amazon and camped out in more remote map dots around the globe than I can count.

What I’ve learned over the years is that having the right survival gear is key to a successful mission.

Without the right survival gear you’re either miserable or worse, injured or dead, so it’s important to make wise choices.

U.S. Marine Lt. Heath Clifford with Marine Aircraft Group-29 (MAG-29), uses a mirror to signal a MV-22B Osprey during a Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel (TRAP) exercise aboard Al Asad Air Base, Iraq on October 23, 2007. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Michael Haas) (Released)

Image Source: Wikipedia


Why invest so much time, money and training into an extreme adventure only to have it fall apart because you didn’t have the right gear?

Read on to learn from me in my guide, “11 Things I Wish I Knew About Survival Gear When I First Started.”

You’re on your way to a successful mission if you can prepare ahead of time and get the right gear lined up.

Let’s get started:

1. Not All Gear Is Created Equal

First things first: Not all gear is created equal. You want to save money, save it on the things that you really can skimp on — like generic hand sanitizer for your first aid kit.

Don’t skimp on the important gear that is going to keep you alive in extreme conditions.

You really do need the sub-zero sleeping bag if you’re going into the Arctic.

Save your money and budget wisely.

Having the top gear that matches the rigors of your trip matters.

2. Don’t Forget the Headlamp

The headlamp is a life-saver no matter where you’re adventure may take you.

It makes everything easy. Gutting a fish in pitch blackness?

The headlamp saves you. Trying to set up your tent under the stars? The headlamp saves you.

Writing home to mom? You get the picture.

Buy the headlamp. Click here to get yours today.

They come in a variety of sizes and colors, which makes selecting one fun, and many have a long battery life.

Make sure to pack extra batteries, however, because you’ll probably be using the headlamp for long periods of time, and you’ll always want to have access to light.

3. If You Have the Choice, Buy Waterproof

It doesn’t matter where you go, at some point it’s going to rain. And it probably will rain a lot.

There is nothing more miserable than being tired and cold and wet.

You can get sick very quickly, and so you need to prepare ahead for damp conditions. If gear that you are eying has a waterproof option, then buy it.

It’s better to be safe than to be soaking wet.

Consider getting waterproof pants, a jacket and boots.

Make sure your tent is weather resistant and is made to withstand extreme weather and temperatures.

4. Invest in a Sub-Zero Sleeping Bag

When it’s cold, it’s cold — and there’s nothing that a fire can do to help.

Sub-zero sleeping bags are designed to keep you toasty when the world outside is shuddering.

They come at a price, but again, this is an item you don’t want to skimp on.

It’s important for your body heat to stay at a normal temperature so that you don’t get hypothermia.

5. Never Leave Home Without an Emergency First Aid Kit

Things are going to happen.

You’ll cut your finger with a fishing hook.

You’ll stumble on the mountain and twist your ankle.

You’ll need triage, and you’ll be the only person to do it.

So make sure you’ve got an emergency first aid kit complete with all of the items you need to sanitize, bandage and even splint.

You’ll be thanking yourself when those moments arrive.

6. Bring Back-Up Hydration

Water equals survival, so it’s wise not to just have one water bottle (What happens when it floats down the river?). Have back-up hydration that is packable.

There are lots of water packs designed for easy transport. And while you’re at it, it doesn’t hurt to carry a few packs of water purification tablets.

These will be a lifesaver when you can’t find clean drinking water and you need to be hydrated quickly.

7. Buy Gear That Retracts and Backs

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned as I’ve completed by missions is that you’ve got to be able to carry and unload your gear quickly and easily.

Lots of survival gear is made to pack up tightly and retract easily.

Look for those convenient features in the gear you buy so that everything rolls and packs nicely and makes it easier for you to get from Point A to Point B.

8. Your Head and Your Toes

Your head and your toes are too of the most important parts of your body to protect when you are trying to survive in the wilderness.

Most of your body heat escapes through your head, so make sure you’re protecting it with the right gear if you’re going into bitterly cold environments.

The same advice goes to your toes.

Invest in good all-weather boots that are going to protect your toes and keep them warm.

You don’t want to get frostbite in the wilderness and lose your toes as a result.

9. Light a Fire

It’s always good to carry a cigarette lighter, and if you can fit in it, a fire starter.

click here to get yours


Sometimes you’ll find that the wood at your camp site is too damp, and you’ll need to start the fire with a little dry kindling you’ve brought along.

Having a working lighter is easy to pack and will make it a cinch to get that fire going on those cold camping nights.

If you think it might rain in the location where you’ll be camping for the night, be looking for dry wood to collect as you make your way.

Depending on where you are, the weather can change quickly, so it’s wise to gather supplies where you can and to always be anticipating the most important thing about building a campsite — how you are going to start your fire.

10. Get a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)or a Satellite Phone

There was one time I got very lost in the middle of the Canadian wilderness.

But I had a little device called a Personal Locator Beacon, or a PLB.

This little device allowed me to send out a signal to let rescue personnel know that I needed help. It was very easy to use.

Literally at the push of a button, you can send a signal that is beamed up to the satellites of the world and let’s the emergency spirits know you are in need of help.

It doesn’t matter where you are in the world. The Personal Locator Beacon will work for you.

It is your beacon.

The Personal Locator Beacon was one of the more expensive items I’ve invested in for my adventures because it cost several hundred dollars, but it was well worth the investment, as who knows what would have happened to me out there in the wilderness, otherwise.

Emergency responders found me, and they got me back on the right track.

Additionally, you also can consider purchasing a satellite phone.

Again, they aren’t cheap, but they another option for getting emergency help quickly, especially if you don’t purchase the Personal Locator Beacon, and the satellite phone allows you to have an actual conversation with another human being.

11. The Good Old-Fashioned Compass

Some things never change, and that it true for carrying a compass on your adventure. Invariably, you will get lost.

I told you about one mishap, but it’s happened many times to me.

Compasses today are very accurate and smart thanks to new technology, and so it’s wise to invest in one in case you are off the beaten path and need to get back on it.

Best of all, these gadgets are fairly cheap in comparison to many of the survival gear items you’ll buy in preparation for your trip.

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Steven Swift

Steven has been interested in Survivalist Tips and prepping for years. He wanted to share the tips and tricks he learned with the world to help them be prepared for any type of dangers/emergencies. He is the owner of Sovereign Survival

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Rob Collins - July 7, 2015

A good synthetic sleeping bag can also dry you while you sleep. If it’s waterproof, it will shelter you from rain or snow even without a tent..


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