Survival Gear

Having the means and ability to make an emergency fire is an essential survival skill. It requires two key items: something that generates a spark or flame, and tinder to catch the spark or flame and start your fire. For the latter, I have long recommended Vaseline-coated cotton balls (though a variety of other pre-made…

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It’s one of the most useful and versatile items I throw in my pack: a length of lightweight, all-purpose cord. From guylines to clotheslines, shoe laces to dog leashes, it’s remarkable how many different uses you can find for this simple, inexpensive item. Also amazing is the number of different types of cord available. Here’s…

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The following simple items can help rescuers find you in the event of a backcountry emergency. A whistle. Shouts for help can only be heard a few hundred yards away, at best. The piercing sound of a loud whistle carries more than a mile away. What’s more, you can blow a whistle in regular bursts…

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1. Utility cord. Also known as parachute cord, paracord, or p-cord, this essential and inexpensive item typically comes in 50-foot lengths and runs 3 millimeters in diameter. Its uses are almost endless: shoelaces, tent and tarp guylines, clothesline, food hanging, gear lashing, dog leashing, and the list goes on. 2. Duct tape. Create or buy…

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If you’re planning on heading up to Tuckerman or Huntington Ravine, always check the latest avalanche advisory from the Mount Washington Avalanche Center, which posts daily updates throughout the winter season. And if you’re hitting the slopes, make sure that everybody in your group carries the avalanche safety essentials—shovel, probe, and beacon—and knows how to…

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Are you prepared to handle a survival situation in the backcountry? You may think so. You probably even carry some basic survival gear. It’s likely, however, that you are also packing some significant misconceptions about what a survival scenario actually looks like. THE DEADLY DISCONNECT Here’s the fundamental thing to understand: Survival situations typically occur…

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One essential item in any backcountry survival kit? A heavy-duty garbage bag, which you can quickly and easily transform into a potentially life-saving shelter. Here’s how to use a garbage bag for survival: Holding the bag sealed end up, cut a slit no longer than your face along one side seam, starting about 8 inches down…

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Carrying a first-aid kit is more than just a good idea. It’s one of the 10 essential items for safe backcountry travel. All kinds of prepackaged options are available, but do they really contain what you need? To better evaluate ready-made kits or to assemble your own, consider the following supplies. Common Injuries The majority…

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The 10 Essentials are more than just a list. They are the basics of survival. Carry them and you will always be equipped for the unexpected. First developed in the 1930s by the Mountaineers, a Seattle-based nonprofit, the original 10 Essentials consisted of a list of specific items—knife, map, compass, matches, etc. Today, several different…

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A heavy-duty garbage bag should be a core item of any survival kit. In a backcountry emergency or survival situation—especially in cold, rainy, and/or windy conditions—a garbage bag can quickly and easily be used as an outer layer for both protection and warmth. A 55-gallon contractor bag in action. To do so, cut a slit…

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