The Essentials and the Extra Weight – The Make-and-Break Gear of the Wilderness

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Editor’s Note: An interesting take on that first wilderness trek. 

You never know what wilderness has in store for you. It’s big, mysterious and always has new things for you to discover. For that reason, many people choose to adventure themselves in nature for a certain period, to experience survival in the wild.
However, people tend to pack unnecessary things as well, leading to extra weight and ending up with a severe back pain, early fatigue and a less than full experience. Because you want to avoid that, here is what you need to survive in the wilderness without carrying all those extra pounds.

The Essentials – What Should You Pack?

Whenever you go on a trip, this question is playing with your mind – “What should I pack?”. You wish you could take any small and insignificant thing, because “you never know”. Nevertheless, you should take only what you need to survive for a certain period. In order to avoid carrying around unnecessary objects that will only hold you back, here is my list of essentials you need to survive in the wilderness.

1. Backpack

It’s obvious that you’re not going to carry everything in your arms. You’ll need something that can handle everything you need for survival. It needs to be compact, though, and it’s better to choose a waterproof one. Compartments are also a game changer – when you really need something it gets old very quickly pushing other things around to find what you need. You need to organize this intelligently. What will I need everyday in one compartment, what do I need for shelter in another, what do I need to start a fire in another and so on.

2. Clothing

It’s essential to bring weather-appropriate clothing. If you think about it, you never know how the weather is going to be. What if you go to sleep in only your boxers, and you wake up covered in snow?

Make sure you have both warm weather and cold weather clothing. Depending on the destination, do some research to make sure you’ll not make any mistakes. And never leave home without your rain gear unless it is a trek across the Sahara.

3. Tents and Sleeping Bags

Unless you want to hang some hammocks and sleep between trees, it would be a great idea to bring a tent. Although you’re going to be explore to the wilderness, that doesn’t mean you won’t have to camp somewhere and sleep. A tent is very much needed.

Additionally you should consider some sleeping bags as well. You definitely wouldn’t like waking up with icicles hanging from your nose. Even the deserts are cold at night, and sleeping on the ground will lower your body temperature, possibly with dire results. Adding a sleeping pad adds little weight to your carry.

4. A Back-up Weapon (IWB)

The wilderness can hold a lot of dangers. As a safety measure, you should consider having a spare weapon in a concealed holster – IWB. Basically, it’s a holder that allows you to have a weapon concealed and ready to fire in case you’re under attack from a wild animal.

So, if you don’t want to be eaten by a bear, check for some concealed carry holsters.

5. Purification Tablet and Water Bottles

Water is important, and you need to be hydrated at all times. Despite some areas having drinkable tap water, it’s better to bring purification tablets. You’ll be so thirsty you may not have time to find out whether the water is drinkable or not, and that is a very bad mistake to make. Also, make sure you bring reusable bottles. You want to protect the environment as well, don’t you?

6. First Aid kit

Anything is bound to happen when you’re in nature and not protected by walls anymore and far from professional medical services. Therefore, a first aid kit will come in handy at one point. Who knows when you get some cuts, splinters or burns? The kit will be your best friend in these situations. Know what is in it and how to use them safely.

7. Eye Mask and Ear Plugs

If you’ve ever had annoying roommates, you know how godly these items are. Because chances are you are not going alone on this trip, you will have to endure other people’s habits. Some may be snorers, cough very loud or just chat until very late. You need proper rest, so make sure you bring these items and you’ll sleep like a baby.

8. Toilet Paper and Wet Wipes

Oh, how you’re going to miss your bathroom. Sadly, not all public restrooms have toilet papers, so you’re going to need some, should you be lucky enough to even find one in the first place.

Moreover, wet wipes may be the only shower you could take in a while. You will feel cleaner and not smell (too hard).

9. Small Towels

Small towels are a necessity because you are going to need something to wipe your hands on or wipe your face after washing it in the morning. You shouldn’t take big towels, though. They are only going to take a lot of space, and they dry slowly as well.

The Extra Weight – What Should Stay at Home?

There are several things you shouldn’t pack. Some of them are:

1. Extra Clothes or Shoes

Although you’re tempted to take your best clothes, this is a bad idea. Not only that they will take a lot of space, but you risk ruining them as well. What if your favorite t-shirt gets stuck in something, and you end up shredding it to pieces?

You should only bring weather-appropriate and comfortable clothes. That means no jeans. You want to move freely, don’t you?

2. Laptops

A laptop is only going to require extra care and attention, because it may get damage in certain conditions. Unless you need it for work, you can leave it at home. You need to survive without TV-shows for a while.

3. Valuables and Jewelry

Not only that you avoid being a theft victim, but you’ll also be at peace of mind knowing you don’t need to take extra care of them. And seriously though – why would you need them considering you’ll be in the wild most of the time? Bears certainly won’t compliment your expensive necklace, though bees and birds may be drawn to them.

4. Things You Can Buy During the Trip

There’s no point to pack some extra things if they can be purchased at your destination. They will only take unnecessary space.

5. Books

One book may not be such an issue but abstain from bringing your whole Stephen King collection. Not only that you’ll not have time to read so much, but you will have a stuffed backpack as well.

Final Thoughts

Going on a survival trip can be a great experience if you know how to properly enjoy it. One of the things you could do to ensure success is to pack the essentials only. Getting too many items will make you focus more on the weight than the trip itself.

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