The Outdoor Essentials

BackcountrySome folks like to pride themselves on heading into the woods with nothing but a knife, while others bring ten room tents, blenders, and a kitchen sink. Like with everything in life, it’s important to find the balance between that Rambo approach and luxury suite glamping. If you’re getting ready to head out into the back country, you want to make sure that you’re adequately prepared, but you don’t want to bring too much excess. Here are the essentials that you need for the outdoors.

You definitely need a shelter. This can be anything from a lean-to made from fallen branches to a state of the art lightweight tent. Weather conditions and outside temperatures are going to play into the type of shelter you want to have. Tent’s are good all around shelters, hammocks are great for traveling light through wooded areas, and tarps are a minimalist’s best friend.

A well made knife will be your most used tool in the backcountry. A knife with a full tang, a solid piece of metal that runs through the handle, can be used for cutting, chopping, batoning, carving, slicing, and what ever else you need a knife for. Your knife can be used to for fire, shelter, food, and first aid.

It’s a simple fact that without water we die. It’s not only important to bring water with you, but also to bring a water filter or a water purifier with you as well. Water filters are fine for most water sources, but they can’t filter out viruses. To kill viruses in contaminated water, you need a way to purify your water, whether it’s drops tablets, or UV light.

Having the appropriate clothing is definitely essential. Clothing keeps your skin safe from scrapes, insects, poisonous plants, and harmful sunlight. You also want to make sure you have clothing that is warm enough for your environment. If you’re in a wet climate, make sure you have rain gear. It never hurts to have an extra set of clothing in can something happens to the clothes you’re wearing.

Even if you’re planning on catching your food with traps or lines, you still need to bring some extra just in case. You never know what type of luck you will have, and it doesn’t hurt to bring food.

You need something to start a fire, whether it’s a box of matches, a striker, or a lighter. Fires provide warmth, light, a way to cook your food, and a source of entertainment.

Again, temperature is a big factor in the type of bedding you need. Tepid summer nights require little more than a blanket, but winter temperatures can pose the risk oh hypothermia. In cold weather you want an appropriately rated sleeping bag, or multiple blankets to keep you safe and warm.

first aid kit is one of those things you hope you never have to use, but are thankful to have one if you need it. Add a tube of chap stick and a bottle of sunscreen to your kit, especially if you’re in a dry and sunny climate.

Some type of navigation is necessary. Phones and GPS are nice, but they depend on batteries, and are useless once they die. Go old school with a compass and map, no batteries required. Just make sure you know how to use them, otherwise they’ll be just as useless as your dead smartphone.

Technology has blurred the line between luxury and necessity. Sure, you can camp without a headlamp, but with how useful and affordable they are, why wouldn’t you? If gear is light enough, small enough, and affordable enough for you to take it with you, you should.


  1. […] things out. Find out what you don’t absolutely need and leave it behind, but always carry the essentials, regardless of how much they […]

  2. […] you’re familiar with the outdoor essentials, you can get a better sense of what you need to carry and what you can leave at home on a […]

  3. […] you pack for hiking, it’s a good idea to at least make sure that you at least have the 10 essentials before starting on the […]

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