Must-Have Camping Tools


The holidays are a great time to go on long treks. Here's a list of 10 survival tools that you should consider carrying that will help you stay safe while camping in the wild!

Compasses work by using a magnetised pointer that works with the Earth's natural magnetic field to calculate the direction. If you have a compass and a map of the area you are in, you can pinpoint specific locations and get to wherever you need to go.

Fire can provide warmth in the cold and heat to cook food and purify water. It is also a potential rescue signal when you are stranded. It gives you security and light in the dark, both of which help your mental outlook. In a waterproof box, carry at least two lighters, some weather-proof matches, a flint and a small magnifying glass lens. The magnifying glass lens can be used to concentrate the sun's rays into a fire-starting beam. You can also rub the flint on a stone to make a spark and you will have a tiny fire soon.

This kit should have a supply of medications and wound-cleaning solutions. Carry an anti-bacterial ointment, spirit, pain reliever, antacid, aspirin and anti-allergy medicine the kit. You should also have some tweezers, gauze, bandages and eyewash. It's also a good idea to pack a travel-size manual that provides instructions to help you in various scenarios.

Carrying a mirror is as important as carrying a compass! Any old, small mirror will work for signalling, but many companies actually make mirrors especially suited for this purpose. These are typically made of Lexan. Some of them float while others have nylon ties that you can strap on to your backpack. A flash of a mirror can be seen as far as 160kms away. And remember, mirrors can be used to reflect headlights, flashlight beams and even bright moonlight!

A signal mirror is a good option, but if you want an unmistakable signal that no plane, helicopter or ship will miss, you need to go with a flare. There are many different types of flares to choose from. Some require a gun and shoot into the sky. Others are handheld and emit a red flame that you hold and wave over your head. A laser flare casts a beam that can be seen at day or night and can be visible up to a distance of 48kms.

Most survival knives have long blades with serrated edges on one side and a hollow handle. Tucked inside the handle is a small survival kit with matches, fishhooks and line and a compass. Once you have your knife, you can custom pack the handle depending on your needs. The fishhooks and line are good to keep on hand for emergency fishing.

A standard multi-tool comprises of two halves joined by a pair of pliers in the centre. Depending on which one you opt for, youíll have a number of options. These come with screwdrivers, pokers, saw blades, bottle and can openers, scissors, serrated knives, metal files and Allen wrenches.

Buy a pre-packed kit with a suction extractor, anti-inflammatory pills, pain killers and an emergency whistle. If you get bitten, you may become weak and immobilised, so the whistle may be your only call for help.

If you get lost or stranded in the wilderness, the first thing you definitely need is drinking water. You should therefore bring along more than one way of purifying water on any trek into the wild. Itís best to carry your own piece of white muslin cloth and cotton wool so you can filter water as well as water purification tablets like potassium permanganate.

Survival experts will tell you that a machete is the most versatile tool you can have in the wilderness. You can use it to cut down bamboo, vine and palm fronds to create a frame, support and roof of a shelter. If you're on an island or in the jungle, green coconuts provide drinkable milk and edible fruit as long as you have a machete to cut into them. Use the area of the blade close to the handle for whittling and carving. Use the fat section of the blade for hacking and cutting.

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