We’ve all been there… lost in a rain forest with nothing but the clothes on your back and a flare gun… it happens to the best of us. So in the interest of the experiences I’ve been in I’ve assembled a fair list of things for anyone’s travel or hiking backpack… you’re welcome.
While I tend to pride myself in being able to navigate the land with either the sun and a wristwatch or the stars and nothing else… this does not however mean that everyone has this awesome wilderness navigation ability. Let’s face it, not everyone can be as cool as me though. So for those of you that aren’t as cool as me… grab a handheld GPS unit that can standalone with the rest of your gear. The Delorme Earthmate PN 60W Handheld GPS ($300) is a great place to start your look with its impact resistant case, color screen, and even texting capabilities. But shop around to find your best option.
It doesn’t matter if you carry a knife with a fire starter with you… which definitely helps; especially for cooking food on the fly or fighting bears. But I digress. Sometimes you need a good ol flashlight to help you see the light… get it. Man am I funny. My personal favorite lights are water proof flashlights that float and are also solar powered. The lights being water proof and floating are just safety measure because I get into some rough spots at times. The fact that I prefer solar powered flashlights is simply because I can’t be bothered to remember to bring extra batteries. So I clip my flashlights to the outside of my bag and they charge while I’m on the fly. My personal recommendation would be the hybrid-solar powered flashlights that are waterproof. They will run on solar power until the power is drained, then you can switch to the lithium backup batteries. Search “solar power flashlight waterproof” on google and you will find some between $10-$25 so they won’t break your bank.
No Bear Grylls hopeful is going to get far without fire at some point in your off-the-beaten-path travels. Sure, you can bring all the propane cooking canisters you want but they are just extra weight, extra space, and they will run out. My number one recommendation would be a small knife that holds a fire starter. You will have two invaluable things that take up no room at all in your gear. They can even fit in your pocket. I bought my blade and fire starter for just $9. Check out this 7 inch hunting blade with a fire starter and paracord wrapped around the handle that could also be used during an emergency. Don’t use fire starters in porto jons, firework factories, newspaper factories, or gas stations… it’s frowned upon.