7 Camping Must-Haves for the Worst Case Scenario

Did you know that over 44% of American households camp at least occasionally? Camping – especially destination camping – is on the rise in the U.S. which is great news for campground operators and health activists. 

Whether you’re a trained outdoorsman or a novice camper, it’s important to be prepared for any situation. Being caught in the elements without the right tools can be a recipe for disaster.

Here are seven camping must-haves for the worst case scenario you can hope you never need to use.

1. Bear Spray
There are several species of bear native to the United States and many of our country’s national parks are home to hundreds of black, brown, and even Grizzly bears. Keeping bears away from your campground means hanging food and dumping trash, but even experienced campers come across bears on trails and at their sites. Having an EPA-Approved bear repellent spray on your person at all times when camping just might save your life.

2. Tactical Knife
Don’t rely on a blunt pocketknife! Pack a professional-grade tactical knife anytime you leave civilization to both protect and support yourself. You can use a multipurpose knife to cut firewood, to prepare scavenged food, and to protect yourself against threats when necessary.

3. Heavy-Duty Flashlight
Sure you’ve got an old camping lantern, but it’s too bulky to grab in case of an emergency and doesn’t throw light very far. A super-bright LED flashlight puts out enough lumens to sufficiently light your way if you’re lost at night or hear an intruder approaching your camp. Don’t get stuck without one.

4. First Aid Kit
No one thinks they’re going to get hurt in the woods. In the wilderness, though, a small cut can turn into a big problem if not cleaned and dressed properly. A camping first aid kit should have everything you need to contain small health concerns and even a few items that can be repurposed for survival if worst comes to worst.

5. Survival Guide
Having a small, compact survival manual in your possession, especially while backcountry camping, could help you stay alive in the event you get lost. Plenty of experienced hikers get lost for days, weeks, and even months each year when they inadvertently wander from their path; a guide can help you identify edible plants, learn to start a fire, find potable water, and more.

6. Water Filtration
Likewise, having a way to filter found water is a necessity when you’re lost in the woods. There are many solutions for filtering water: tablets, water filtration straws, and complete tankless filtration systems. Choose the smallest item you can carry and be sure to learn how to use it before you set out.

7. Emergency Blanket
Whether or not you’ve got a freeze-rated sleeping bag, having a compact foldable emergency blanket is a smart bet when you’re going way off the map. They’re lightweight and waterproof and don’t shred when nicked; most come in bright colors, too, to be easily spotted by rescue vehicles should you need assistance.

Going camping? Go prepared! You don’t have to be a ‘prepper’ to be ahead-of-the-game at the campground, but ignoring the worst case scenario is not a good solution to anxiety. Pack well, plan wisely and be sure to communicate where you’re going before you set off. Happy trails!