You can get a little more expressive with your bug-out bag or camp pack than you can with your pockets, if only because you’ll have a little more room to spare.
Plus, you should carry some extra essentials that you won’t need every day, but that you’ll find very helpful on the side of the road or in camp.
Save the folder for your pocket so you have a spare. Get a good fixed knife for your camp pack, something from ESEE, OKC, Cold Steel or Buck is a good choice.
It doesn’t need to be a chopper, but it should be sturdy enough to baton and carve camp tools.
You can also use your knife for food prep, cleaning any harvests, cutting cloth and rope, scraping bark and tinder, and much more.
A Multitool like a Leatherman Pocket Knife
Now you’ll want a spare, and make it a multi-tool like a Leatherman pocket knife.
Why something like a Leatherman multi-tool instead of a folder with a single blade? Because these high-quality multi-tools have a ton of tools and gadgets built in.
Maybe you won’t need a blade, but you’ll need a bottle opener or a wire cutter or a saw, or a set of pliers. Most Leatherman multi-tools have them. Swiss Army Knife tools are a good backup, too.
A Sharpening Stone
Because when your knife gets dull, what then? Sure, you can use a piece of smooth concrete or a file or some sandpaper, or even a coffee mug to bring back your edge, but a sharpening stone is much better and will only cost you a few dollars. A sharpening stone or some other knife sharpener is well worth the price.
A Flashlight and Spare Batteries
You can’t get much done if you can’t see what you’re working on. Carry a small flashlight and several spare batteries for it.
Also, try not to use it much in camp. Save the batteries for when you really need them. In truth, a few candles may be more useful here than a flashlight.
You know, if it’s worth remembering, it’s worth writing down. Keep a high-quality pen with an aluminum or steel body in your pack.
Some pens also come with integral tools like bottle openers or glass breakers, which can be helpful for extricating yourself from a vehicle in the case of an emergency.
And, if you follow the school of redundant preparedness, keep a few pencils stashed in your pack, too.
A Waterproof Notebook
That pen won’t be much use if you have nothing to write on, right? So keep a good notebook around, preferably one of the ones made with synthetic pages that are waterproof. That way, whatever you write down will stay there.
You can get decent quality aluminum and steel carabiners at most hardware stores for pennies, and they are highly useful for clipping additional gear to your pack, and for making quickdraws, especially if you use a MOLLE system.
A Lighter and a Firesteel
A lighter’s great and you should definitely carry one, but lighters run out of fuel.
Carry a firesteel like a ferro rod, too. Most of them will provide you with reliable ignition through thousands of uses, making them indispensable in the field.
Some Good, Dry Tinder
Last but not least, come prepared with some good, dry tinder since you can’t always get it in the field, especially when conditions do not permit.
What works? Well, dryer lint, wadded-up jute twine, and cotton balls are all pretty serviceable. You can also drip some candle wax or vaseline onto a portion of your tinder (but not all of it) to serve as a longer-burning firestarter. Store all of it in a waterproof case.
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