Having an off-road truck or Jeep gives you the freedom to explore the outdoors. You can leave the pavement behind as you explore all kinds of remote destinations, national parks, and hiking trails. But going off-road comes with its fair share of risks, depending on how far you stray from the rest of the modern world. Getting out into nature usually means leaving certain comforts behind. That’s why it’s best to come prepared and pack to survive!
You never know when you may need to survive in the wild for days or even weeks on end. Regardless of where you plan on driving your off-road Jeep or truck, bring along these survival essentials to stay safe on the trail.
8 Tools to Pack to Survive the Great Outdoors
Emergency Sleeping Bag
You never know where you might have to hunker down for the night if you’re lost in the woods or some other seemingly endless natural environment like the desert. That’s why it’s nice to have a compact, emergency sleeping bag on hand. Leaves and grass won’t keep you very comfortable at night, so bring along an extra layer of padding, especially if you’re dealing with the frigid cold. Your normal body temperature should be around 98.6 degrees F, but hypothermia will set in if your body temperature dips below 95 degrees F. There are just three degrees between you and devastating heat loss.
To stay warm, use a thermal sleeping bag made with Mylar, a polyester inner coating that protects against the cold. Keeping a fire-starter on hand isn’t a bad idea either.
When you’re driving off-road, there’s always a chance you could get stuck in an unexpected pile of dirt, sand, or snow, depending on where you’re driving. If you find yourself in a pinch, use a shovel to dig out the area behind your tires to give them more traction. Instead of lugging around a massive metal shovel, keep it light and choose a folding shovel instead.
You can also bring along a set of traction pads—rubber mats that give your tires something to grab onto—to make sure you don’t get stuck in the wild.
Portable Water Filter
Your body needs water at least every three days if you’re going to survive. If you find natural sources of water, it’s best to purify these sources before you drink up. River, pond, and rainwater can contain all kinds of bacteria. A portable water filter is just what you need to stay hydrated on the trail.
It looks and works like a complicated straw. Just soak up some water and let the straw go to work. Drinking that murky pond water may not sound appetizing, but at least you’ll still be alive.
Wandering from marked trails is the number-one reason adult hikers need search and rescue, right behind injury and bad weather. While it’s best to stay on the trail, you may need a compass to guide you home if you’re in an unfamiliar area. Not all areas come with perfectly marked trails, so make sure you know where you’re going if you’re brave enough to explore some new territory.
It’s best to find a compass that’s both durable and lightweight, considering all the gear you’ll be carrying around. It should have a strong base plate and a rotating bezel. Test out your compass to make sure it’s accurate before you depart on your trip.
Injuries remain all too common on the trail. You could easily trip and fall, cut yourself on a wayward branch, or go toe-to-toe with a wild animal. Keep an updated first-aid kit on hand to cover any wounds or cuts you may experience in the wild. Leaving cuts open is a recipe for infection, so you’ll need plenty of gauze and bandages. Make sure the kit is up to date and none of the medications have expired. If your kit is missing anything, replenish it beforehand by visiting your local pharmacy.
Multi-Purpose Tool or Pocket Knife
It’s always best to keep a multi-purpose tool or some kind of cutting instrument on hand in the wild. You may have to cut through vines to find sources of food, create a makeshift sling for your wounded arm, or whittle down a branch until it becomes a spear. Well, the last one might be an exaggeration, but you get the point.
Bug Spray is Important to Pack to Survive
Bugs are more than just a nuisance. They can lead to disease, infection, and bites that just don’t seem to go away. Bring plenty of bug spray for your trip, so don’t end up getting eaten alive. Make sure the main ingredient is DEET; otherwise, your bug spray won’t be very effective.
To further protect yourself from critters and bites, wear long-sleeved clothing, pants, and high socks to limit the amount of exposed skin. You can also check out some natural pest control methods for home and camping.
Survival Tarp or Trash Bag
Nothing will ruin your trip like wet, soggy clothes. Rain can also make you more susceptible to hypothermia. If water starts falling from the sky, make sure you have a survival tarp to stay dry. You can configure these compact tarps into a range of structures, including those designed for snow, rain, and wind. The tarp comes with ample anchor points and thin beams for added support. It won’t take up a lot of space in your bag, and you won’t have to worry about the weather completely ruining your trip.
If you don’t have a fancy survival tarp, bring along a thick trash bag instead. While you won’t be as comfortable, wrapping yourself in a trash bag is better than getting soaked in the rain.
Final Thoughts on How To Pack To Survive the Outdoors…
Choosing your survival gear all depends on your destination and your experience in the field. Staying safe means preparing for worst-case scenarios. Keep these tools in your off-road truck or Jeep to avert disaster, so you can always make it home in one piece or, at least, enjoy peace of mind. Remember, always pack to survive!