Outdoor Emergency Equipment

Remember that camping trip when no one brought toilet paper ? As if the deficit in Thai restaurants wasn't bad enough, therein comes the unfortunate experience with poison ivy toilet tissue. Ouch--that was more painful than a room full of techno music. This is why it is good to have a list of emergency outdoor equipment--to roam comfortably among the plant-life. 

Food And Shelter


The tent  is one of the most popular outdoor shelters and for a fold out pseudo-home, it really does the trick. Sleep comfortably inside the tent with a sleeping bag or travel mattress  and compressible pillow --also look for a travel cot  if you are with a toddler or baby. When travelling in cold weather, carry extra heavy blankets  with a waterproof bag  in case the temperature drops unexpectedly. 


Tarps  can easily fold into small squares for you to carry. Much like a poncho , a tarpaulin provides a shield from weather or debris when thrown over a body. It can also make for a decent waterproof shelter--with sticks, poles, or tree branches to create a frame upon which to drape it. 

Emergency Meals

Here are some emergency nutrition sources for when food is sparse: Self Heating Emergency Food Ration ,Space Food Sticks ,Emergency Ration Pack ,Freeze Dried Ready-To-Eat Food  (like the astronauts use), Wayfarer  and adventure foods , and food squeeze tubes . A food flask , and a fire starter  are useful for heating and insulation. 


Protection from Harsh Weather

During the times when the weather gets tough, there is nothing you can do except prepare yourself for the worst. 

Cold  Weather Protection

Dehydration and exhaustion can make you susceptible to hypothermia, so always stay hydrated when locked in cold weather. Of course, this isn't the only factor to consider. Certain fabrics--like wool--retain heat best; so buy a wool  emergency blanket or a specially designed survival blanket --which is more than worth it. 

What to wear:  Layers. An inner layer for absorption, a middle layer for insulation, and a resistant outer layer for wind and water protection.

For the Car:  If you are driving a vehicle, bring snow chains  for extra ice, snow, and rain resistance.

Hypothermia Signs and Symptoms

If you're suffering from hypothermia, you won't realize it, so here are some signs to look for:

The first sign that you're losing heat is shivering. As your body temperature continues to drop, other signs and symptoms of hypothermia include, with increasing severity:

  • Shivering stops (this is not an indication that you've warmed up, but a red flag)
  • Slurred speech
  • Exhaustion and drowsiness
  • Erratic behaviour
  • Loss of coordination
  • Dilated pupils
  • Apathy
  • Unconsciousness

Storm/Lightening Protection

If a thunderstorm is approaching while you are in the wilderness,

  • Avoid tall, solitary objects: Trees are the most obvious example, but any isolated tall object, like an open shelter, is a natural lightning target.
  • Avoid water: Water conducts electricity. If you're in the water, get out quickly. If you're on shore but near the water's edge, move away. If you're in a boat and can't get to back to shore, make sure everyone is wearing his or her life-jacket  and approach waves at about a 45º angle to prevent the boat from capsizing.
  • Head to low ground: If you are on a mountain or a ridge line, climb down straight away.
  • Shed the metal: Remove anything from your body that could conduct electricity. Anything made of metal or graphite can draw lightning. This includes external frame back-packs ,crampons ,knives and tools.
  • Insulate: Sit on something that can insulate you from the ground--such as an internal frame back-pack  or sleeping bag .
  • Get small: Don't lie down since this will increase your area of contact with the ground and your chances of dying if you're struck. If you can't sit on insulation, crouch on the ground with your feet together so any ground currents will travel only through your feet and not your whole body.
  • Spread out: If you're travelling in a group, don't huddle together. Keep 25 feet between each person to reduce the chances of multiple strikes.
  • Stay off the phone: Tempting as it may be to call for help, don't use your cell phone  or other electronic devices. If someone in your party has been struck by lightning, start CPR.

Make sure that you carry a weather radio  so you can be aware of any oncoming storms. If you hear of an approaching storm with enough time, retreat to safety; if the storm is approaching quickly, follow the above steps.

Hot Weather Protection

Extreme heat can be just as bad as the extreme cold. To decrease the chances of heat exhaustion, heatstroke, and other heat related illnesses follow these guidelines:

  • Wear lightweight, light-coloured clothing.
  • Wear sun repelling eye wear such as sun guard goggles  or sunglasses .
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Eat small meals rich in fruits and vegetables.
  • Reduce your pace as the temperature rises.
  • Avoid exerting yourself during the hottest parts of the day (mid morning to mid afternoon.).
  • Take regular breaks, preferably in the shade.
  • Bring a sun kit  to protect your skin.

Useful cooling items: battery powered fans ,battery powered air conditioners ,spray water bottles .

  Avalanche Protection

There is no sure way to know if an avalanche is approaching, but if you know what to look out for, there is a good chance you can avoid them:

Avalanche Signs and Conditions: 

  • Heavy rains, increased heat, and heavy snowfalls heighten the chances of an avalanche--so pay close attention to the change in weather.
  • Any mountainside or slope steeper than 35º is a risk, and as you may have guessed, the steeper the incline, the likelier the occurrence of an avalanche.
  • Avalanche zones will contain snapped and scattered trees; if you find yourself in such an area, get out fast: you are in an avalanche zone.

Tip: Before heading out, look up avalanche bulletins and/or weather predictions.


There is a great chance that you will need back-up power sources when travelling outdoors, so carry some of these things with you to make sure all your equipment works:

Fuel Tanks 

Battery Chargers 

Jump Starters  and Portable Power 

Utility Holster 

Emergency Torch  and Head Torch 

Medical, Sanitation, and Hygiene

First Aid Kit  or Medical Kit 

When buying a first aid or medical kit, make sure you buy one with the right contents. Explain to the salesperson what type of outdoor trip you will be taking so that (s)he can recommend the most useful kit. If you are buying on-line, research which items you would most likely need and find a kit that contains those items.

Outdoor Emergency Care  

You may have researched all the uses of safety equipment, or the signs, symptoms, and treatment of certain illnesses, but when the situation arises, you may forget everything you learned--that is why it is good to have outdoor care guides and outdoor survival guides . 

Travel Toilet 

Depending upon the person, it may be an emergency to be without a toilet. For those of you who cannot bear to do without a (semi) proper lavatory there are several travel toilets from which to choose. 

Travel Wipes 

Remember the poison ivy I mentioned earlier? Let's avoid that situation. 

In instances of dirt, uncleanliness or less than adequate hygiene, travel wipes are good to have. 

Dental Travel Kit 

If the teeth are beginning to get fuzzy, it is a good idea to pull out the toothpaste. In the event that you are in a place without dentists, make sure to have a dental travel kit. 

Rescue Equipment and Safety

Safety Whistle 

Commando Saw 

GPS Systems/Locators 

Mosquito Net 

Suunto Observer Watch