By Quinn Jones
Camping can make for a great solitary activity, a wild trip with friends, or an exciting holiday with the whole family. Nonetheless, camping can be dangerous, and experienced campers, hikers, and backpackers know that even the most carefully planned excursions can go awry. Some of the most desirable camping destinations are also among the most dangerous; from a simple shift in the weather to a rock slide or more dangerous natural disaster, any number of factors can turn a pleasant camping trip into a nightmare.
The best way to protect yourself from the unexpected while camping is to carry the correct emergency equipment and to familiarize yourself with the correct use of that equipment before heading into the great outdoors. Below are four pieces of emergency gear that no camper should be without:
Lightweight Water Storage Bladder
One of the most dangerous hazards of hiking is getting lost in unfamiliar territory. Losing direction can happen even to very experienced outdoorsmen and should not be taken lightly, even if you aren’t planning to head far off the beaten path. Inclement weather can wash out trails and change the appearance of rain, and there’s always a risk of losing critical navigation equipment, like a map, GPS, or compass.
In the unfortunate event that you do become lost, your first and chief concern should be to maintain a portable supply of water. Carrying a water storage bladder, like a Fabric Solutions pillow tank, will permit you greatly increase your water carrying capacity without weighing you down when the bladder isn’t filled with water. Bladders can easily be carried along when you don’t need them, and may prove critical when you do.
An emergency blanket offers protection against both extreme sun and extreme cold. Even the cheapest emergency blankets will allow users to retain up to 90% of body head over the course of an evening in the cold, while the best emergency blankets will retain nearly 100% of body heat. They also can act as effective makeshift sunshades in the event of a hiker getting caught in excessively high temperatures. Emergency blankets are extremely lightweight and compact when not in use, making them an easy addition to any backpack.
Solar Cell Phone Charger
The wise hiker or camper will not rely on a cell phone to get out of trouble; cell phones can be easily damaged and may lose service in more remote areas. That said, a hiker in an emergency situation stands a much better chance of survival with a functioning cell phone available. A solar cell phone charger will allow you to maintain power to your cell phone indefinitely.
First Aid Kit
It may seem obvious, but a first aid kit is absolutely indispensable to campers and hikers. Though a quality kit will certainly add weight to your pack, the advantages are too numerous to ignore — a supply of disinfectants, medical bandages, and basic medicines will significantly raise survival chances in an emergency situation.