We have a lot of fun packing for camp trips and camping out in the wild. But what makes our trips so enjoyable is that the safety aspects are well taken care of. This gives us peace of mind to camp freely and rest easy. In this post, I’m going to share the camping survival gear that we bring on camp trips, mostly “just in case”.
If there is any sort of emergency or imminent danger, safety gear is your defence. That is why for us, camping survival gear is like insurance. A healthy back up plan. For us, camp safety is an important aspect of a successful camp trip.
Camping Survival Gear (Safety first!)
This is the camping survival gear we pack for each camp trip.
- Bear bangers/spray
- Pocket Knife
- Log splitter/ax
- Waterproof matches
My in-laws have an inReach handheld communicator with maps that we bring on every trip. This is the first of the safety gear we pack for each trip.
The device has features that include an SOS button (the emergency call that will send the GPS coordinates of your location to bring assistance), two way text messaging, tracking, location sharing and maps.
Once you purchase the device, there is a small annual fee to keep up in order to use their services. This is the greatest insurance for any outdoor excursion, especially if you are hiking or camping in the wild.
Walter and I were on one of our camping trips out in then wild when we acquired a flat tire and did not have the necessary tool to let down the spare tire. With the inReach, we sent a text message to Walter’s dad who came to our rescue. The device got a message to him explaining our situation and exact GPS co-ordinates to where we were camped. He met up with us the next day and brought the tool we needed to let down the spare tire. What a big help!
Next, it’s important to have a working GPS with you as well. While the inReach has a map and tracking services, it is easier (convenience is what I mean) to have a device that functions for this purpose specifically.
It is also good insurance to have two devices in case one does not work for some reason or runs out of battery life.
Although we always bring paper maps and map books with us as well, sometimes you just have no clue where you are. Especially out in the wild. At some point, all the trees, mountains and bends start looking the same. The GPS has been a life saver in these cases. Forest service roads can get quite confusing after several hours of driving around, trust me.
My in-laws have the Garmin Montana 500 that we borrow for our trips. I believe it has been replaced by the Garmin Montana 680 which looks very similar to it. I’m sure they have upgraded it in recent years as my in-laws have had their GPS for nearly 10 years if I remember correctly. While the cost may seem big up front, it is a device that can and should last for decades and is worth the investment.
Bear spray is a spray in a pressure canister that you can use to deter an aggressive a bear or keep them away from you. They can now spray a bear from about 30 feet away and spray for about 7 seconds.
While bear spray is the recommended use in Canada, it requires pretty close proximity to the bear and the wind to be blowing in your favour or things can go horribly wrong. Although, it can be very effective if used in the right circumstances.
That is why we also bring along bear bangers and flares as back up. The bear bangers and flares are launched from a pen launcher, which can scare of an animal while you remain at a farther distance.
A shovel is on our camping survival gear list because when we haven’t brought it, we have needed it. Shovels are good for digging holes, as we well know, but it can also double for many other purposes:
- re-stacking a camp fire
- retrieving hot coals from a fire to cook with
- for digging a hole for a fire when there is too much wind to have it in the open
- to dig oneself out when stuck in mud or snow (we have had to do this)
- digging a hole to bury food scraps (if you are in bear country without a fire)
We have needed shovel in most all of the situations above so we don’t leave without it anymore.
A pocket knife is just such a useful tool for all sorts of reasons when you are in the outdoors. But it can also be a much needed part of safety gear. Life and emergencies most often require something to cut with, whether it be bandages, fire kindling, food, etc. This is something we always include in our packs. My favourite is the line of SpiderCo Delicata series.
An axe or log splitter is a must have if you are going to overnight in the wild. God created fire for us to cook food and keep warm, but it can take a long while to make a decent fire without these tools. Thankfully, a mountain man out there figured it out for us long ago and we now get to benefit from these great tools.
Finally, waterproof matches is important. While fire is a great gift from God, starting a fire without matches can pose some tricks for the unseasoned outdoorsman/women. So just pack some waterproof matches, just in case.