American Survival Guide

ARE YOU EQUIPPED FOR THE OUTDOORS?

Pack these items for a fighting chance if or when you’re thrust into a survival scenario:

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Rain poncho. Compact, inexpensiv­e and extremely valuable during a downpour, a poncho can help prevent hypothermi­a by keeping you dry throughout your ordeal. Pack several for added protection in case of days of rain.

Lighter or matches. This one is a no-brainer. Fire can bring warmth, security and peace of mind to any situation. Forget the complicate­d means of making fire; just pocket a lighter or waterproof match (or both), and you’re good to go.

Knife or multi-tool. These universal tools are a necessity for a variety of applicatio­ns. From cutting seat belts to shaving tinder, creating a spear and for whittling just about anything into a useful object, a knife and/or multi-tool should never be left behind.

Water filter. Either pack a filtering straw or a compact filtering bottle for purifying water found in streams, lakes or rivers. Remember: You have three to four days— at best—with no water before you die, which makes this item vitally important!

Reflective blanket. Keep yourself warm with this “Space Age” item. It keeps warmth in and reflects your body heat back to you, which is essential to prevent hypothermi­a when temperatur­es drop. Again, as with a poncho, pack two or three for added protection.

Energy bars or other snacks. Hunger can cause you to make poor decisions and put you in an overall bad mood. Packing calorie-filled energy bars can help keep you going between meals. Trail mixes and beef jerky make great additions too.

Signaling device. If you’re lost, you’ll need to alert others to your location. A signal whistle, reflective mirror or brightly colored handkerchi­ef can all aid you when rescuers are nearby. Best of all, they’re small enough to fit into your pockets or hang from your jacket’s zipper pulls.

All-in-one kit. Most people don’t carry a bug-out bag everywhere they go, but there are small packs that house many of the abovementi­oned survival items. Just attach one to your belt or hang it from your shoulder, and you’re good to go. Remember, though, to always inspect the kit for missing capabiliti­es. In addition, consider adding some of your own smaller gear.

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