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What do I need in a Backcountry Survival Kit?

Posted by Nick Clement on

What do I need in a Backcountry Survival Kit?

In my survival kit I make sure I carry items to cover the four basic survival kit categories:


  1. FIRE






Here are the items I carry in my survival kit for each of these categories:


FIRE: Endure Survival Metal Match Kit. This kit is the best fire starter you can imagine. Don't believe some of those gimmicks out there.

Endure Metal Match Kit | Best Survival Fire Kit for Fire Building

Cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly (and arranged into the Endure Survival Fire Starting Technique) is the most efficient and effective fire starting technique. This mixture is the single best fuel to start a survival fire with. I also carry a pack of stormproof matches as a backup fire starter. I never rely solely on the stormproof matches as it is important to remember they are only one piece of the puzzle: heat. You need heat, oxygen, AND fuel to start a fire and the cotton balls soaked in vasoline are the foundation of my survival fire kit.

SHELTER: Endure Instant Shelter and 8'X10' Waterproof Tarp. These two lightweight survival shelters, make protecting myself an easy task in case I find myself in need of shelter fast. If I'm trying to pack super light because I know I'm set for a 20-mile day trip I will only carry the Endure Instant Shelter to save weight.

Endure Waterproof Tarp | Survival Tents and Shelters

However, for a lightweight tarp, survival tent or simply a rain cover for your backcountry camp the 8'X10' Waterproof Tarp is a great shelter to keep in your backcountry survival kit.   

SIGNAL: Included in all Endure Survival Kits are three items that I always carry no matter what the situation is they are always in my survival kit and I make sure that kit is always in my pack or on my person.

Endure Survival Emergency Whistle 

Endure Survival Whistle for Life. This emergency whistle is specifically designed as a survival whistle to maximize the air that is blown into the whistle as the whistle has three-chambers as well as an omnidirectional design so it will be sure to penetrate fog and timber.

Endure Survival Signal Mirror

I also carry a purposed signal mirror and trail tape. 

HYDRATION: I carry two items in my emergency water kit. A collapsible water bottle as well as a 30 pack of Katadyn MP1 Water purification tablets.  These two super lightweight items make purifying water in the backcountry as easy as you can imagine.  

Endure Survival Emergency Water Storage | Survival Water

Simply put the tablet in the water and in 4 hours you have water clear of all potentially dangerous containments, even giardia. The Katadyn MP1 tabs are the only EPA approved water purification tabs so if I find myself really in a pinch and only left with cloudy or hazy water these tabs are still 99.999999% effective.   

Other items I carry in my survival kit include:

Goatskin Gloves: Endure Goatskin Gloves: Hands are key to your survival. I wear these gloves at all times possible in the backcountry. Your hands are not nearly as tough as you may think. It is important to protect them and these gloves get the job done. For essential survival gear, goatskin gloves are a must as goatskin is a closed cell leather so they gloves will not shrink and harden like other leathers do. Goatskin gloves remain soft, supple and will protect your hands for years as the most likely area to wear, the palm is reinforced with a thick layer of leather.


Cutting Tools: 18" Half Dandy Saw: When it comes to cutting tools a saw is always a safer than an ax. Saws are known to also be more efficient and effective than an axe. Either way, the most important thing when choosing a saw is choosing a saw that will maximize your arm motion. Meaning the saw will cut in both directions, forward and backward. The 18" Half Dandy saw is the best backpacking saw and survival hand saw. It is also the best hunting saw, bone saw for elk so this saw is not just an investment in a survival saw it is a great tool for all types of outdoor use.


Compass:  Brunton Tru arc 3: When is comes to navigation it is never a good idea to rely soley on anything that can break. Meaning, anything that has a battery or requires power can and very well may break, die, or get lost. This is why I always carry a compass in my survival kit. I've carried the Brunton Truarc3 for years and it has never failed me. When in doubt a compass is always a good data point to reference when you are deciphering your plan whether it be a survival situation, hunt, backcountry fishing trip or mountaineering trip its always a good idea to keep a solid compass on you.


Military Spec Parachute Cord: Don't be confused by all the products claiming to paracord, 550 cord, mil spec 550 paracord, 550 paracord or any combination. Always look for a certificate for the real thing. Real Parachute Cord has 7 inner strands each made with 3 individual smaller stands. This gives a true break strength well over 550 pounds (close to 800 lbs) and more versatility with the cord itself as compared to the knock-offs out there.


First aid kit: In my pack I always bring a first aid kit and in there I have an OutSmart Survival and First Aid Booklet.


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