Knives of Alaska Magnum Alaskan SureGrip

A standard multi-tool is fine for weekend camping trips, but extended stays in the backcountry demand a knife that can take a little more abuse—and dish it out if need be. “You want a knife you can literally pound on—something you can hit with a rock in case you need to split wood,” says Gantenbein. That rules out most folding blades. The Magnum Alaskan SureGrip offers a rugged, reinforced handle and a razor-sharp 4.5-inch drop-point fixed blade to help you cut through anything from gauze to game and even the occasional tree limb.

Ultimate Survival Technologies StrikeForce Fire Starter

You don’t want to rely on a dwindling supply of matches when the weather turns sour. “And not many people have the skills to start a fire with a couple of sticks,” says Gantenbein. “You need something that creates a spark.” Ultra-portable and less than 4 ounces, the StrikeForce fire-starter is an all-weather, flint-based system that provides more than 4,000 strikes and produces a 1,300-degree spark (three times hotter than a match).

SOL Emergency Bivvy

Hypothermia isn’t only a danger in winter—at high altitudes, nighttime temperatures can dip toward freezing even in summer. “One of the quickest ways to get it is to lay on the ground, which leeches heat from your body,” says Labov, who always carries a survival blanket like SOL’s Emergency Bivvy, which reflects back 90 percent of your body’s heat while shielding you against wind, rain, and snow. It also weighs just 3.8 ounces and takes up no more space than a tangerine. If you’re forced to spend an unexpected night outdoors, you’ll be glad you have it.

Fenix HL21 LED Headlamp

Headlamps keep your hands free for more important tasks, like erecting shelters, gathering wood, starting fires, and otherwise going about the process of staying alive. Stay away from lights with incandescent bulbs, which drain batteries quickly. Instead, “opt for lights with LEDs, which don’t need as much energy,” says Labov. The HL21 can shift between 3 levels of brightness, and includes a special SOS mode to attract attention when you can’t. It also earns bonus points for running on a single 1.5-volt AA battery.

Oregon Scientific GPS Scout Backtrack Altimeter

Knowing where you are doesn’t mean you’re not lost—you also have to know how to find your way out. In addition to tracking your present location, the Scout Backtrack Altimeter remembers your path, allowing you to retrace your steps to safety. A digital compass, weather forecasting function, LED light, clock, calendar, and alarm are icing on the cake.

Fox 40 Sonik Blast CMG

Survival often comes down to being heard. The average human yells at around 80 decibels. The Sonik Blast CMG pierces the air at more than 120 decibels. “That’s why it’s always important to carry a whistle,” says Labov. “It will help you signal for help.” And thanks to its all-weather, pealess technology, you’ll never miss an opportunity to catch someone’s ear.

Adventure Medical Kits UltraLight/Watertight .7 First-Aid Kit

Bandaids and Aspirin in a baggy do not a first aid kit make. In the backcountry, you need something that can help you deal with everything from ticks to broken bones. “And every backpacker’s kit should be different to cater to individual medical needs,” says Labov. It’s up to you to add any additional items you might need, but this option from Adventure Medical Kits covers all of the basics. Originally designed for adventure racers, it’s packed with enough supplies for two people for four days, including wraps and bandages to immobilize fractures, an array of medications to treat pain, inflammation, and allergies, moleskin (to mitigate the number one hiking injury), and duct tape, which can be used for anything from repairing equipment to wrapping wounds. Added bonus: The pouch is watertight to keep your supplies dry even when you aren’t.

About these ads

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s