Chances are the avid outdoorsmen reading this right now already live and die by a checklist that they abide by before heading into the woods. But that trusty checklist may be missing a few critical items.
Whether you’re new to the outdoors or a seasoned hunter, take a look at this essential checklist. You may be surprised to find items that you’ve overlooked.
Bring a Fire Starter
A fire starter is a man’s best friend in the woods. Basic and reliable fire starting tools, like the Rothco Aurora Fire Starter, should be in every woodsmen’s pack. Waterproof matches are also essential.
Pack a Day’s Worth of Food
When it comes to food and water, always pack more than you think you’ll need; you never know when those hunger pangs will kick in. That’s why it’s wise to have an emergency supply of snacky items and drinks packed in your vehicle. And, when you’re away from your vehicle, remember to include a day’s worth of food in your pack. Cheese, nuts, chocolate and seeds can keep you sustained.
Include an Emergency Shelter in Your Pack
The weather can turn. The sun can set. You can get lost. A lot can happen in the woods. Don’t set yourself up to fail. Be sure to pack in an emergency shelter for unexpected situations. In most cases, an ultralight shelter can keep you protected from the elements in undesirable situations.
Remember Sun Protection
In severe cases, a sunburn can lead to itching, blistering and welting. Worse yet, it can even cause fatigue, headaches and chills — and no one wants to experience that in unfamiliar terrain. Thus, keep your skin protected by wearing a hunter-friendly sunscreen. You can also opt to wear sunglasses, a sun-shading hat and SPH clothing, the shirts and pants sold by sportswear retailer Columbia.
Always Carry a Cellphone or Satellite Phone
A trip to the backcountry means your chances of finding a strong cell phone signal will be slim. Avoid a potential emergency by packing a satellite phone, along with your cellphone, just to be cautious on your next trip to the woods.
Check Your Tires
A quick inspection of your vehicle is always wise before heading out on your excursion. Check your tire tread and look for any signs of dry rot. If you need new tires, look for a brand that offers optimal traction and braking, like Cooper CS5 Grand Touring Tires.
Pack Headlamps, Flashlights and Extra Batteries
Night can creep over you in an instant, so don’t be left in the dark. It’s not unheard of for an afternoon wood’s trip to turn into an after-dark adventure. Make sure you are prepared for whatever happens when the sun goes down by having flashlights, headlamps and plenty of extra batteries on hand — not only on your person, but in your vehicle, too.
Don’t Forget Your Altimeter and Maps
Altimeters are considered by experts a worthwhile tool. These devices use a barometric sensor to measure air pressure, while also providing an almost perfect estimate of your elevation. And both are valuable pieces of information that not only will help you keep track of your progress, but can also help determine your exact location. Likewise, it’s always a smart idea to include a topographic map in your pack for those sticky situations where an altimeter or GPS device may fail you in the woods.