Survival Essentials for Any Wilderness Trip

When planning a trip into the wilderness, whether it be for camping, fishing or hunting there are some survival essentials that you must take with you.


We will start with your shelter. This is one of the obvious survival essentials. Although some people do not mind sleeping under the stars, having shelter from the elements can make or break your trip.

There are many different types and sizes of tents on the market. Determine how many people will be sharing your tent before your trip and whether or not you will need a second tent to store your gear. If you do not want to bring another tent, bring a tarp (if you have room) to cover your supplies to keep them dry.

Secondly, a sleeping bag that is designed for the climate is another of the survival essentials. All sleeping bags should have a label that indicates the temperature rating of the bag. However, they are not always accurate. This is one item that you should not go cheap on; you usually get what you pay for in a sleeping bag.

Food and Water

You should always bring enough food; this may seem like an obvious survival essential and it is. When planning your trip, it is very important to plan your meals. This way you should be sure of taking enough food and not taking too much with you, especially if you are hiking or portaging.

Since water is heavy to carry, take a water filter and pump or iodine tablets if there will be water where you are going. If water is going to be scarce on your trip then one of your survival essentials will be taking enough water with you for everyone in the group. I hope that you will have a pack mule or something to carry it all!

Make sure you have a variety of healthy food with you so that you are not deficient in some vital nutrients. You can expend a lot of energy while outdoors and you need to replenish your strength each day.


A sharp hunting knife is another of the survival essentials. No camper should venture into the wilderness without one. It is used as a tool and a weapon of protection if needed.

An implement for cutting wood is also an important tool. Check out the local camping supply stores for some very handy folding saws. A small hatchet can be very helpful as well.

I usually carry a good multi tool as well. This can be clipped on your belt along with the knife. With the advances in technology, you have other resources readily available these days, including a GPS and satellite telephone.


A good waterproof pack would be an important piece of equipment, but would it be a survival essential? Not necessarily, a pack will not save your life, but it will keep your gear from getting wet and it is much easier to carry everything as well.


At one time, waterproof matches were considered one of the survival essentials. However, not so much anymore. With the advent of fire paste and other fire starters, matches are becoming obsolete. I have had waterproof matches get wet and become useless. Even carrying a small lighter is a good idea. There are ways to start a fire without some fire starter of some kind, but it can be difficult without experience.

First Aid Kit

Having a stocked first aid kit is another of the important survival essentials. Before leaving on your trip, check your kit to make sure it is not out of anything. Some important components of the kit should be band-aids, antiseptic, gauze, tweezers, bug bite cream or spray and other items that may be needed for the area you are traveling in such as snakebite kits etc. Also, included should be painkillers such as Tylenol for example. If anyone in your group requires specific medication then they are responsible for bringing it with them.


Planning the trip is one of the most important aspects of the survival essentials. Your route should be mapped clearly. You should have more than one map with you. In addition, you must provide your trip plans to friends or family who are not going with you. People need to know when to expect you back and where to look for you if you are not back on time. Alert the local authorities or park Warden to your trip plan as well. In addition, stick to your plan; do not decide to change it when you have already begun the trip. Search and Rescue can be quite expensive!

Wilderness trips can be a lot of fun if planned properly. Never take a trip without the survival essentials.

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By M. Applebaum