Do you have what it takes to brave the elements with a bare minimum of gear? Just in case you’re thinking of traveling to an untamed, secluded area this summer, we’ve come up with the ultimate list of things you need to have in your backpack to make it through a night in the wild.

1. 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, 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 and eye bath.

Fotos593 / Shutterstock

Fotos593 / Shutterstock

2. 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. Just remember: if you’re taking a flight as part of your journey into the wild, you should pack any knife (or anything knife-like) in your check-in luggage so you don’t have to leave it with security.

3. 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.

AngeloDeVal / Shutterstock

AngeloDeVal / Shutterstock

4. Fire Starter Kit

Lighters wear out and can be fickle. Matches get damp and burnout 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!

5. 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.

RELATED: Fancy getting close to nature while you’re visiting a major city this summer? No problemo! Check out this great article on these awesome 8 Campgrounds Close to America’s Biggest Cities!

6. Brimmed Hat

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

Alexander Chaikin / Shutterstock

Alexander Chaikin / Shutterstock

7. Compass

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.


This list was compiled under the assumption that you would be dressed appropriately for weather conditions (do you need rain gear or warm coat?) and wearing appropriate footwear – sturdy all-terrain waterproof leather hiking boots with thick deep tread soles are probably the best bet for most survival situations. It also assumes you’ve got access to food and clean water (do you need to pack extra food and water purification tablets?) and adequate shelter such as a tent and sleeping bag.

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 below.

About The Author

Chris Osburn

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.

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