Outdoor Essentials: Be prepared, know before you go

A map, carved into a wooden signboard

We love spending time on our National Forests and Grasslands… but that welcome trip outdoors can quickly become an emergency if you head out unprepared.

Bringing these “10 Outdoor Essentials” on every trip will help ensure you’re ready for many of the every-day emergencies nature might send your way – whether you spend your time outdoors on the trail, or off the beaten path.

  1. Appropriate footwear. Flip flops might be just right for the beach – but bring shoes with laces and rubber soles in case you need to detour.
  2. A printed copy of your map. Electronics are often only as good as your ability to get a signal, or charge their batteries. If you know how to use a compass, bring it as well.
  3. Extra food. “Hangry” doesn’t help in any crisis.
  4. Extra water. This can be bottled, or supplies to purify what need if you expect you’ll be near water source during your travel.
  5. Extra clothing. We like polyester or wool layers that repel water or wick away moisture and help retain body heat, even when wet.
  6. Emergency items. Flashlight? Lighter or matches? Signal whistle? Radio? Imagine getting lost or trapped in the dark; bring what you’ll need to find your way back or signal for help.
  7. First aid kit.
  8. Knife or multi-purpose tool.
  9. Backpack. You’ll need this to carry your other essential gear!
  10. Sun protection – sunhat, sunscreen, sunglasses.

Did we forget anything? Add your own “essentials” tips in the comments!

For more outdoor safety & ethics information, visit www.fs.usda.gov/main/r6/recreation/safety-ethics.

Printable flyers (PDF format):

Outdoor essentials

The 10 Outdoor Essentials. USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region image

Source Information: USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region, Office of Communication and Community Engagement staff

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