Safety items you should always have in your backpack
When you head out to the backcountry, depending on where you are, you may be far from getting help if you need it. It may take hours to get help, and you may need to overnight, so you need to be prepared. In case of emergencies there are a few things that you should have in your backpack on all trips, and this becomes particularly important in winter.
1. Radio / PLB / Satphone
UHF or VHF radio you can use to call for help if you are in an area with coverage. A SPOT device is great or a SPOT satellite phone. These are becoming less expensive over the years and are an important ‘insurance’ for your safety in the outdoors. A satellite phone can be had for under $500 now days and in most location the call quality is as good as a cell phone.
If something happens and you are out of cellular contact, you need to have a way of reaching out to call for help.
2. Emergency blanket or Bivi
For a worst-case scenario, it’s super important that you carry a tarp or bivi tarp. In case you need to overnight, it’s important to have an item that will offer at least some basic protection from snow, rain, wind and cold.
3. First aid kit
There are a number of first aid kits created especially for outdoor use. Our favourite are adventure medical kits which are very lightweight and very comprehensive.
You will be so glad that you have one. A headlamp is indispensable in an overnight situation, it weighs hardly anything, and is easy to remember to throw in your backpack. Try this Petzl TacTikka Plus headlamp or read our top 3 headlamps review.
5. Down jacket
Down jackets pack small and there are some very lightweight ones out there. If you should need it, you would be glad you have one, as they provide instant heat. Read our blog post on advice how to choose a down or synthetic insulated jacket.
6. Extra food and water
I always pack a little bit extra food, these include dense, high calorie items such as energy bars and nuts. After every day out in the outdoors I generally have reserve left so I know if I were to get stuck out there I would have an emergency supply of food. Try Honey Stingers, or some other high calorie bars.
7. Map or GPS
Topographic Map or GPS system, compass, a Suunto watch: to keep from getting lost and to identify your position.
8. Repair Kit
If you’re skiing, you should definitely bring with you tools to fix broken bindings, or even an extra binding on those longer trips. Breaking a binding and not being able to ski back can be more than just a hassle.
9. Pocket Knife and Tools
A fire starter is a great thing to have if you are in a wooded area and need to keep warm. Our favourite is the Light My Fire Scout Firestarter, which is handy and generates a spark even when wet.
Are there any items you like to take along with you? Comment below.