There are many items one can bring with them for a wilderness adventure to stay safe and survive. You should be prepared out in the bush when backpacking for an extended stay. There are many must-have items that can help in setting up a successful camp. The tools you bring can enable you to build a shelter, start a fire or find some food. Having the proper tools can either make your time out in the wilderness an enjoyable or miserable one. Here is a list of gear I recommend when going out into the bush.
Wilderness Adventure Packing Guide
This is my guide to what type of gear I like to take with me when I am out in the wilderness. Having a good gear set and tools can make your stay safe and productive.
The first step is to find the proper backpack. The pack should be large enough to fit your gear and food depending on how long you plan on staying out in the wilderness. If you are planning to hunt, fish or forage for some of your food then you can pack fewer rations. Backpacks come in many sizes. Most packs are categorized by weight. When selecting a backpack you should consider what you plan on bringing, where you are staying and how long you’ll be gone. You want to buy a quality backpack that will last. Here are some to consider:
Large packs are great if you plan on doing an extended journey or want to haul in a lot of gear for building a base camp. These packs are capable of storing all of your necessities.
ALPS OutdoorZ Commander
The ALPS OutdoorZ Commander is 5250 cubic inches and weighs 7 pounds 5 ounces with the frame. This is a large pack which is great for hunting and hauling in all of your gear including a gun, an ax and a saw.
Large Extended Backpack
Kelty Coyote 80 Internal Frame Backpack
The Kelty Coyote 80 is a large pack with 80 liters of storage and weights 5 pounds 5 ounces. This pack is great for extended trips and heavy loads. It comes with adjustable shoulder and hip straps that will properly distribute your load. With many of these types of packs, your height will determine the torso size of the pack. So make sure you select the proper size.
Mid Size Backpack
TETON Sports Mountain Adventurer 4000 Backpack
The TETON Sports Mountain Adventurer 4000 is a nice mid-size pack for smaller trips and loads. It is a 66-liter pack that weighs 4 pounds. You can pack all the essentials and food.
A shelter is probably the most important necessity to set up first. There are many ways to build a shelter using trees, rope and a tarp. Using a tarp can take up less space than a tent in your pack. Depending on where you are, you can cut down or use fallen trees to build a frame to hang your tarp. Tarps can be used for many applications. You should consider having one or two in your pack.
You could also forego building your own shelter and pack a tent. Tents can be a quick and easy solution to have a place to sleep besides a tarp shelter. Many single person tents can compress quite small and provide comfort from the environment you are in.
Your bedding can consist of a sleeping bag or a hammock. If you are sleeping on the ground you may want to consider using a sleeping pad. The sleeping bag should be a multi-seasonal bag, which will be good for all types of weather conditions. Temperatures can change very quickly when you are in the wilderness or mountains.
Northstar Tactical Coretech Multi Layer Core Sleeping Bag
Eating well in the wilderness will give your body energy to perform. Depending on your situation, you may have packed in all of your food or you may hunt and forage for some. You should have a diverse cook set for your camp. A water bottle is another key component of your cook set. You can use a large Nalgene bottle for transporting your filtered or boiled water, that can be used for cooking and staying hydrated. Whether you plan on cooking over a fire or on a portable stove, having a multi-purpose cook set is key.
Texsport Black Ice The Scouter 5 pc
- The cook set nest together into a compact package for transport
- 1 – 7″ fry pan
- 1 – Quart Pot
- 1.5 – Quart Pot
- Made from hard anodized non-stick aluminum
- Includes mesh carry bag
- Pack Weight is 26 oz.
You can not cook and stay warm without a fire. Having a reliable source to start a fire is a must. Flint fire kits and Ferro rods work great for these applications. They can be used to make a spark to ignite your tinder bundle.
A good toolset for your wilderness adventure can help you do many useful things. Tools can help you build a shelter, chop and carve wood and clear brush. These tools should be a part of any pack when out in the bush.
Ka-Bar Becker BK22 Companion Knife
A good multi-tool will help out in many ways. I always pack a Leatherman. It is basically a Swiss army knife on steroids. It can be used for many tasks
Leatherman Wave Multi-Tool with Molle Sheath
- Needlenose pliers
- Regular pliers
- Wire cutters
- Hard-wire cutters
- Clip-point knife
- Serrated knife
- Wood/metal file
- Diamond-coated file
- Large bit driver
- Small bit driver
- Large screwdriver
- Ruler (8 inches)
- Bottle/can opener
- Wire stripper
- Lanyard attachment
- Two double-ended bits
A compact saw to cut wood for a fire or to build a shelter is a great resource. Many of these saws fold up and don’t take up much space in your pack.
EverSaw 8.0 Folding Hand Saw
- 8″ Blade
- Triple-cut razor teeth hardened to stay sharp for smooth, fast sawing.
A quality axe out in the bush can help in chopping firewood, clearing brush and carving. Many axes can be secured nicely to the outside of your back. Make sure that you have a sturdy sheath to protect you and the axe during transport.
S.A. Wetterling 16H Small Hunters Axe
A LED headlamp is a great tool to have for night time illumination. Since the light is fixed to your head it keeps your hands free to do nighttime chores.
Black Diamond Cosmo Headlamp
- Three-level power meter shows remaining battery life for three seconds after switching on headlamp.
- Settings include full strength in proximity and distance modes, dimming, strobe, red night-vision and lock mode.
Having a well-stocked emergency kit is a must. I have been out in the woods and cut my self pretty bad. I always pack an emergency kit with me. It is good for dressing a wound. Just make sure to replenish it when you use it.
First Aid Only All-purpose First Aid Kit
- 75 3/4″x3″ Adhesive plastic bandages
- 20 3/4″x3″ Fabric bandages
- 30 1″x3″ Adhesive plastic bandages
- 10 1″x3″ Fabric bandages
- 4 Knuckle fabric bandages
- 4 Fingertip fabric bandages
- 2 2″x4″ Elbow & knee plastic bandages
- 50 3/8″x1-1/2″ Junior plastic bandages
- 1 1-1/2″x1-1/2″ Patch plastic bandage
- 3 Butterfly wound closures
- 1 2″ Conforming gauze roll bandage
- 6 2″x2″ Gauze dressing pads
- 4 3″x3″ Gauze dressing pads
- 2 4″x4″ Gauze dressing pads
- 1 5″x9″ Trauma pad
- 1 Sterile eye pad
- 6 Aspirin tablets
- 6 Ibuprofen tablets
- 6 Extra-strength non-aspirin tablets
- 14 Alcohol cleansing pads
- 15 BZK antiseptic towelettes
- 6 Antibiotic ointment packs
- 2 First aid cream packs
- 3 Insect sting relief pads
- 1 Burn relief pack
- 2 6″x11/16″ Finger Splint
- 2 1/2″x5 yd. First aid tape roll
- 2 Exam quality vinyl gloves
- 1 First aid guide
- Emergency blanket
- 3 2″x2″ Moleskin squares
- 10 3″ Cotton tipped applicators
- 1 4″x5″ Instant cold compress
- 1 one time use Thermometer
- 1 4-1/2″ nickel plated Scissors
- 1 4″ plastic Tweezers
I always keep a small survival kit in my pack as well. This kit includes some fishing line and hooks. You could always use it to catch some fresh fish for dinner if you are near a lake, ocean or river. Bait can be found by digging up worms or insects. You can tie the fishing line to your water bottle and then wrap it around the bottle to control your line.
Venturing out for a wilderness adventure can be an exciting and challenging experience. Having the right gear can make it a safer journey. These are the tools and gear I take with me on extended or short trips. Your items may vary depending on you’re where you stay and the environment you are in. I hope you can use this guide as a template for your next trip in the bush.