Do you have what it takes to brave the elements? Yes, you’ll need resolve and personal constitution — the right stuff so to speak — but you’ll also need the right gear to ensure your adventure is a success. This is, of course, assuming that you’ll be sure to pack appropriately for the weather conditions of your destination (do you need rain gear or a warm coat?), including the appropriate footwear – sturdy all-terrain waterproof leather hiking boots with thick deep tread soles are probably the best bet for most adventure travel situations. We’re also assuming that you’ll have access to food and clean water (or at least have some dehydrated food and water purification tablets?), as well as adequate shelter such as a tent and a sleeping bag.

So, with all that in mind, here are 12 things intrepid travelers planning to head out on an adventure should have on their survival gear list.

Personal Documents and Identification

No matter where you are on your adventure, whether it’s in the city or the wild, be sure to pack your passport, driver’s license, and other relevant identification along with any required legal documents (like a visa for the country you’re visiting or a permit to be in a particular area). If you’re a wise sojourner who took out a travel insurance policy, you’ll be even wiser for having a printout of your policy on your person as well. Information in written form about emergency contact details at your destination (a hotel, hostel, relative’s home) would also be good to have. Try to keep all the documents stored in a waterproof bag in a place that’s secure but accessible, such as in a secure pocket in your clothing or bag. You should also have photocopies of all the IDs and documents and carry them separately from the originals. Oh, and include a note about any medical conditions you have that’s super easy to find if anything goes wrong.

Money and Credit Cards

No matter how keen you are to get off the grid and go wild, money makes the world go round. Even if you intend to journey miles away from civilization you never known where you might end up during an emergency or what you might need to buy. Stow some spare cash in small bills in a money belt or your shoe and carry a credit card with you. Keeping your credit card with those aforementioned personal documents and ID might be a logical way to keep it safe.

Phone with Charger

What did we ever do without cellular phones? “Getting away from it all” usually means taking a digital break. But if things go awry on your no-phone holiday, being able to call emergency services will be crucial. Along with your phone be certain you’ve got a fully charged powerbank or even multiple banks (as well as all the correct plugs, cords, and adapters) to keep your phone juiced up for as along as you think might be necessary. A solar-powered bank with battery backup is a prudent choice.

First Aid Kit

Safety first, folks! If you’re planning to rough it without bringing along a first aid kit, your good time in the great outdoors can turn desperately bad fast! A basic first aid kit should contain a first aid manual, bandages and plasters in various shapes and sizes, sterile gauze dressings, safety pins, two or more sterile eye dressings, disposable sterile gloves, plastic tweezers, cleansing wipes, and tape. Other items to consider packing include scissors; a thermometer; creams for rashes, bites, and stings; painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen; antihistamine tablets; distilled water for wounds; and eye wash.

Just remember: if you made a flight booking to get to your adventure, you should pack any sharp items like scissors in your checked luggage so you don’t get them confiscated at security. Also, be sure any liquids are in 100ml or less bottles and stored in a clear plastic bag if you intend to have them as carry-on items.

Pocket Knife

It’s hard to imagine something more practical than a trusty pocket knife, something along the lines of a Swiss Army Knife or Leatherman tool with multiple blades and tools. The uses are limitless. As with pointy things in your first aid kit, remember to pack any knife (or any knife-like object) in your check-in luggage.

Related: 12 Places That Are Just Crazy Enough for Perfect Adventure Vacations

Fire Starter Kit

Lighters wear out and can be fickle. Matches get damp and burn out too quick. For any instance when you really need to start a fire in the wilderness, you need to carry some sort of spark-creating fire starter kit made of flint, magnesium, or rare earth components. Be sure to practice lighting fires with your kit before venturing off and finding yourself in a situation when you don’t have time to learn how it works! As with your knife and certain first aid items, fire starter kits aren’t allowed as carry-on items on planes. So if you’re flying, pack the kit with your checked luggage.

Water Bottle

Nothing’s more essential for staying alive than drinking clean water. It’s also wise to have a filled reusable water bottle with you. For extreme environments, a metal bottle with a seal lock top is best.

Solar-Powered Flashlight

Don’t be left in the dark when you’re out on your own. A solid solar-powered flashlight that can cast a strong beam is definitely a smart item to pack. For hands-free maneuvering, a headlamp is definitely a bright idea!

Brimmed Hat

Whether it’s raindrops or sun rays beating down on your head, a simple brimmed hat goes a long way in providing comfort and protection. The wider the brim the better the protection, especially against the sun.


Yep, a compass – ideally accompanied with a map. When the gadgets, apps, and your own sense of direction have let you down, a compass might be the one thing that gets you to safety when you’ve lost your way. Unless you’re trained in orienteering, the simplest compass you can find is probably best for most instances.

Emergency Blanket

If weather changes or any other emergency disrupts your plans for shelter, an ultralight tarp, space blanket, or a few extra-large plastic trash bags could mean the difference between you and utter disaster.

A Whistle

When all else fails, whistle! Having a signalling whistle can help you be located when you’re in trouble. Blowing a whistle sends a clear message that can be heard for a long distance and saves your voice and energy.

Are you the ultimate survivalist or do you simply love to geek out over the best camping gear? Please share your recs for a must-have kit for outdoor enthusiasts in the comments section.

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About The Author

Chris Osburn is a freelance writer, photographer, consultant, curator, and the driving force behind the long running and award winning blog, Originally from the American Deep South, Chris has lived and worked all over the world. He's called London home since 2001.