There’s something about pitching yourself against Mother Nature, something almost sublime. You don’t have to battle bears or raging rivers to prove your abilities, sometimes merely just coming through a frozen night feeling warm and comfortable is enough, and having the wherewithal to make the day’s first hot coffee is a prize worth having.
With the future seeming increasingly unstable, the range of survival gadgets is rapidly increasing, and whether you plan to trek across America, journey into the heart of Asian steppes, or climb Europe’s highest mountain range, there is something useful that might just save your life if it’s included in your backpack.
First and foremost, it’s important to think about a tent, or some form of shelter. Manufacturers are using high tech fabrics to ensure warmth, weather proofing and the ability to fold down to the size of a postage stamp, taking up minimal backpack space. Once the shelter is sorted, there are a few emergency supplies that are well worth considering, even if you just include the bare essentials they can really help you out when you need them.
One of the most essential tools you should consider is a lighter. Several types are available, but we find the arc lighter to be the best, most efficient one. Eliminating the need for fuel and an open flame, it creates an electrical spark between two points. Much hotter than flame, and completely windproof, this can light a fire in the most inhospitable weather conditions, making it an essential piece of kit.
Another gadget that could be a life saver is a compass. Whilst there are a wealth of downloadable phone apps for GPS tracking, having access to a basic compass can be a necessity. It doesn’t need to be a fancy, all-bells-and-whistles model, just an inexpensive reliable compass. Talking of bells and whistles – it’s a good plan to include these in your kit bag for alerting others to your whereabouts, a flare or two can do the same job.
A portable, emergency radio will become a much loved friend while you’re out on the trails, allowing you to keep on top of the situation in the outside world, and even if the zombies aren’t taking over, a radio can provide a reassuring voice in a mad, mad world.
Although not a gadget as such, water purifiers take up no space and yet can save lives by ensuring the availability of drinkable water. We can survive without food for three weeks, but after three days without water, we’re not going to make it home.
Once darkness falls, life becomes harder when you’re out on the trail, and if you are trying to carry out campsite chores with a torch in one hand, things become even tougher. However, strap that torch around your head, and life suddenly becomes much easier. Hands-free lighting, directed wherever you are looking, allowing you to carry out your tasks easily – what more do you want!
There are always going to be innovative new gadgets to add to your BOB, some more useful than others, but if you have the essentials, anything else is a bonus that doesn’t determine your survival.