When we venture into the wilderness for outdoor adventures, there are things that we always take along, but may never use. Sounds dumb to go to the effort to backpack, boat, or take up space with something we do not use but…
When Bow hunting, I always carry a side arm. My preference is a 357 Magnum revolver with Bear Loads. I wear it on my left side, so it does not get in the way when I shoot. It is always getting bumped into which reminds me to pay attention, you are in Grizzly Land.
Some things we take along are required by law, while others are just smart. There is never anything wrong with being prepared. Here are some needed things we all carry but may never use.
Life Preserver Intentional use is one thing, unintentional is another. If you end up in the lake, or river during an accident, you will be glad that you have it. Be sure to wear it properly in case you are unconscious or injured.
Bear Spray / Handgun Having to shoot a charging bear is hard. Spraying it in the face is harder. The nose and eyes are a small target to hit with spray. If you miss, the bear won’t. Rattlesnakes are also tough to shoot. Any situation requiring you to draw and fire will be fast and require quick reactions. Practice just in case.
First Aid Kit Cuts, broken bones, snakebites, insect attacks, burns, etc. all require First Aid. The perfect trip will never need a complete First Aid kit. Maybe just a band aid or aspirin is ok but beyond that, make sure that you are trained.
Epi Pen This emergency injection could save a life after a seizure or other reaction occurs. This could be caused by insect bites food reactions, or other issues. Know how and when to use this tool.
Extra Ammo/ arrows I carry 3 rounds for my rifle. One for the critter, 2 if I need to put them down, and the third for me if I miss the first two. The goal is to make a one-shot ethical kill on tagged game. That one shot is the result of many practice shots. I once ran out of ammo on Rattlesnakes. I carried a full revolver and 2 speed loaders. I had some snake loads and other regular rounds. Snakes were dying 2 at a time but, I wish I had more bullets. When I carry in snake country, I pack plenty.
Spare Tires Eventually you will need to change a tire. Make sure the spare is full of air and the Jack is complete. Teach your kids and wife how to change a tire. Knowing this can save a harder adventure.
Battery Jump box or cables If the battery dies, the truck won’t go. Being able to jump or recharge the battery can make a bad situation quick to solve. New emergency charge boxes also have lights, cell phone recharge ability, and in a pinch, fire starting capability. Know how it works and how to use it.
Emergency overnight gear In the wild, be prepared to spend the night if needed. A late day kill, or weather issue can keep you from getting back to the camp or truck. Maybe you got lost or just misjudged the distances. An overnight wilderness camp is never fun. It is better with a few essentials.
Compass Now I know that everyone carries a cell phone or GPS. They work great until they don’t You can’t get enough satellites, or the battery dies, or you drop it. This is when a simple compass can save the day. On a cloudy, overcast, or stormy dark situation, it is easy to get turned around. The compass will give you a proper bearing.
Water treatment/ survival straws Hopefully you carried enough water to get through the day. If you run out, you may need to drink from a muddy puddle or… Better than having a terrible thirst and become dehydrated.
Extra Fuel It adds weight, can smell, and takes up space but when you need fuel, it will save the day.
There are many other items that may on your lists, depending on what adventure you may enjoy. Without these items, enjoyment could end in a hurry. Knowing that you have these items just in case is comforting.
You will also want to practice using these items, just in case. As a Scoutmaster, I always inspired my Scouts to Be Prepared!