Now that the winter is finally coming to an end, and spring is kicking into full gear. It’s time for us to get back in touch with mother nature and start enjoying some of that natural beauty that surrounds us. I’m not sure exactly what it is about the spring and summer months, maybe it’s those primitive genes that unbeknownst to us, still function in the back of our minds. But once the sun begins to shine brighter and longer, we tend to have the itch to be outdoors. We all do it (to varying degrees of course).
For some of you, this may be the first time you’ve had an inkling to get outside of your comfort zone, head for the woods and rough it for a few days. We’re not talking about your typical camping trips where you go on already plotted campgrounds, pitch a tent or hiking hammock and start a fire in a conveniently pre-made fire pit. And we’re certainly not talking about spending a few nights in your RV.
I’m talking about heading out into the backwoods, on land that has never (or rarely) been touched by human hands before, and set up shop. That’s the only place where you truly get to experience all of the beauty that our planet has to offer us.
And for those of you making your first trip to the backwoods, we’ve put together a list of some of the essentials.
Note: We’re not going to include food and water, because well… if you don’t already know you need to bring that then you probably shouldn’t be out in the wilderness in the first place. Instead, we’re sticking to things that will help you live as comfortably as possible while you’re out there.
It gets pretty dark out there at nights, especially on the cloudy ones. And the last thing you want is to have to fumble your way in through the darkness when you’ve got to get up and use the bathroom at nights.
Bringing extra batteries is a good idea too. Although, we would recommend bringing a solar-powered light, or at least a hybrid one just in case.
When you’re in the backwoods, you’re going to need a fire.
If you’re a survivalist, then you’re probably already familiar with this wonderful piece of equipment otherwise you will be starting a fire with sticks. A Ferro rod is a piece of metal that produces sparks on command. Simply rub another piece of metal, typically a knife (more on that in a bit) and watch the sparks fly.
There are other ways, of producing a fire of course, but this is the most efficient and most reliable way to do so that doesn’t include a Zippo. This is especially true if you live in an area that sees a lot of rainfall.
A versatile knife is vital when you’re out in the wilderness, and not just because it pairs well with your Ferro rod either.
The operative word here is versatile; we’re not in our kitchens anymore, so we don’t have the luxury of having a plethora of knives at our disposal. We want one knife that can do it all. For that, you should opt for a kukri knife. They are thick enough to hack at shrubs and split wood, and be sharpened enough to scale and clean fish. It’s truly a tool that you can’t live without.
One thing you can’t forget to bring is something to cook in/on, without it there’s almost no way for you to cook your food properly. Remember, every pound matters, so be sure to get something light enough to lug around with you.
Insulated Sleeping Bag
Even on hot summer days, night time in the backwoods can get pretty chilly. Which is why we recommend getting yourself an insulated sleeping bag for your trip. Sure you could probably get away without it, but it’s as close to a life saver as you can get during rainy nights.
Just because you’re not in your bed doesn’t mean that you can’t still be comfortable. Pair a quality sleeping pad with your insulated sleeping bag, and you’ll hardly even notice that you’re sleeping on the ground.
The technology implemented in today’s sleeping pads has far exceeded what most could have ever imagined. What was once just a foam pad barely thicker than a yoga mat is now a self-inflatable sleeping pad that almost makes you forget you’re on the ground. Just open the self-inflating valve, and ten minutes later you’ve got yourself an air mattress.
There are, of course, plenty of other items that you’ll need to bring with you to live comfortably in the wilderness for a week. If you’d like to read more about how to make it in the backwoods, there are some awesome places you can go to learn about surviving in the wild.
Being in nature is one of the best ways to gain a new appreciation for the world around us. You get time to get away from the everyday stresses of today’s world, clear your mind and get an understanding of just how lucky we are to be able to live on such a spectacular planet.
So head out into the wilderness, find you a clearing far away from everything else, gaze up at the sky and live in the moment for a while. You’ll be happy you did.
Ben Brown is the owner of The Prepping Guide. Involved in Military for many years and writes about Personal Security, Preparedness, Prepping, Survival, Self-Sufficiency and Readiness for Safety, both Physically and Digitally.