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​Minimal Hiking Survival Kit [A Complete Checklist]

In case anything bad happens in the hiking trail, you should prepare your own hiking survival kit. Here is what you should carry in your hiking emergency kit.

By Cody | @Cody

Updated on Aug 05, 2019

Hiking is one of the most popular outdoor activities around the world. When you get out of your car and go into the woods or mountain, a lot of things can happen. Some people who are not really prepared may never come back in one piece. According to a study of US National Park Service, it can be up to 3,000 search-and-rescue missions to find missing hikers annually.

As you know, most of the fatalities were people that were hiking alone, lack of experience, poor physical condition and lack of knowledge. In case something goes wrong, you should always carry a hiking survival kit. It can be really small and yet you can have all the life-saving things you need. There is nothing wrong to be well prepared while hiking especially when you go hiking alone.

Food and Water Supplies

Even if you only decide to go on a one-day hike, you should bring extra food to replenish your energy. You should pick the non-perishable, calorie-dense food. Almonds and chocolate are a great source of energy with a lot of fat and protein. If you cannot make coffee on the trail, then coffee beans are recommended.

You can only live for three days without water. If you drink water that's tainted, you can get really sick and that can be a bad situation, so bring enough water. If you know you can find water sources on the trail, you can simply bring a portable water filtration device. It takes care of a lot of the microbial and the Giardia and Cryptosporidium, so this is a great little thing to have. 

Fire Starter Kit

Fire is a major element for outdoor survival. Fire can keep you warm, heat food, and keep the wild animal away. A campfire is always welcomed in the night, so you need to have the ability to start a fire. You need to have at least 2 tools that can start a fire, whether it is waterproof matches, a lighter, magnifying glass, a knife, and fire steel. You can also bring some emergency tinder to help you start a fire easily.

Fire Starter Kit

As you know, there are chances that your matches get wet and your lighter runs out of fuel, it is reassuring to learn how to make a fire with primitive technology.

Medical Stuff

Medical is probably one of your most critical in case of injury and other kinds of unwellness in hiking. Typically, if you're injured, you know that's something that you could lose your life very quickly.

First Aid Kit

First, you have some band-aids and antiseptic wipes, which are always good to have around. Some compressed gulls for packing a puncture wound and sea lochs for stopping the bleeding are also recommended. A hemostatic agent really allows the bleeding to stop.

Second, you can have some nitrile gloves which is especially useful if you're cut or you may have debris on your hands. They are very small and easy to be compact.

Third, you can also prepare an abbreviated trauma kit. A Stretch Wrap And Tuck Tourniquet is a multi-function trauma care device that severs a lot of things. SWAT T tourniquet is one of the different types of tourniquets that can fit in this small of the package. If you get your artery hurt or something like, you really need to be able to seal that off and then also along with medical.

Navigation and Communication Tools

A compass and the knowledge to use it is very important. In fact, a lot of people get lost because they don't have a compass or they don't know how to use a compass.

Nowadays, you can use your smartphone for navigation, but you may find your phone will not work while hiking due to lacking of cell service. That is why many people still use a compass and maps for navigation.

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Other Hiking Survival Kit Essentials

Being able to signal is also as critical in case you need the help of other people. You can prepare a whistle or signaling mirror for signaling.

A headlight is necessary if you want to stay on the trail for a few nights. You should also bring a flashlight as a backup. At night, if you don't have light, you're going to have a hard time seeing what you've got, so having a good flashlight and really an extra battery is really important.

A sharp knife can be lifesaver on the hiking trail. A good pocket knife comes in handy for everything from food preparation to survival.

Two Survival Tips

Before you go out for hiking, you should let someone know your plan where you're going to be and the estimated time you're coming back. You can text someone, leave them an email or make a phone call. Try to give them as much detail as you can, so they know where to start if you're not back within a reasonable time.

When you find yourself in a critical situation, stay calm and start to think it through. When getting upset and worried, you can make rash decisions and that’s when you're really in trouble.


That’s a few things you should include in your hiking survival kit. You can reduce or add some extra stuff in backpacking survival kit checklist, but try to have the essentials that you're going to carry all the time as minimal as possible so that you have extra room for other stuff. If you start carrying all the nice stuff, your bag gets too heavy and then you may not enjoy being out hiking anymore.

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