What to Take on Your Next Outdoor Trip

We all have our pet peeves. One of mine is getting somewhere and realizing I forgot to bring something. Maybe that’s why I became a list maker.

Perhaps this is one of your pet peeves as well. If you’re headed to the outdoors soon – for camping, hiking, hunting, or whatever else – no worries. I’ve got you covered.

Today I’m going to provide you with a bunch of items to remember to pack BEFORE you leave home. These items that you can place in your vehicle or backpack are for both your convenience and for dealing with a possible emergency.

Not all of them will apply to your particular outdoor experience. But by running through the list, you can choose the ones that will be most helpful to you.  

The absolute “musts”

A sturdy, waterproof camping tent with pegs and a hammer are musts if you’re planning to sleep outdoors. Of course, you’ll also want to include a sleeping bag and pillows, a blow-up mattress or sleeping pad, and extra clothes including socks and a poncho.

If you’re headed to a campground, find out if they supply wood for your fire or allow you to gather it in their surroundings. If not, take wood with you, assuming it’s permissible. Some places don’t allow that, due to the possibility of introducing new species of bugs to the area. 

Among the tools you’ll want to pack are flashlights (and extra batteries), survival knife, compass, fire starters, extension cord, tarp, bungees, and duct tape.

You’ll need to eat, so don’t forget both non-perishable food and fresh foods in a cooler. As well as a compact cooking stove; disposable cups, plates, and utensils; and cleaning supplies like dish soap. 

Toiletries go without saying. Including toilet paper, washcloths and towels, wet wipes, a fully-stocked first-aid kit, sunscreen, bug spray, and trash bags. And in addition to your cellphone, don’t forget power banks. 

Hunting gear

If you’re going hunting, I’m sure you already have a comprehensive list of things you want to pack for the trip.

Among them will be maps of the area in which you’ll be hunting. You might want to look into gaining permission to hunt on private land, which will be less crowded.

Pack your flashlights, headlamps, two-way radios, etc., and make sure you have plenty of batteries for each. Also include your knives, game bags, nitrile gloves, multi-tool, and paracord.

In addition to your firearms and ammunition, pack your binoculars, game calls and orange flagging ribbon. Toss in a whistle and small mirror for signaling, plus an emergency blanket and an extra pair of boots. 

Water for drinking, cleaning, and bathing is also a must. But it’s equally important to include ways to purify water from other sources. Such as lakes, rivers, streams, and creeks. Here’s a quick look at a few of those ways:

Boiling and disinfecting: 

  • Boiling water can get rid of potential bacteria, germs, viruses, parasites, and other pathogens. First filter the water through a paper towel or coffee filter. Then bring it to a rolling boil for at least 1 minute, or 3 minutes at an elevation of 6,500 feet or higher. Next, let that water cool and store it in a sanitized container with a tight cover.
  • If you find it’s impossible to boil water, disinfect it with an unscented household chlorine bleach. First filter the water if it’s cloudy. If the bleach has a 5-9% concentration of sodium hypochlorite, add 2 to 4 drops of bleach into a quart container. Shake the container for 1 minute, then turn it upside down and loosen the cap slightly to allow the water flow to clean the bottle threads and cap. Let the bottle sit in a shaded area for a half-hour until the water looks clear.

Iodine & chemical tablets

  • Iodine and tablets with iodine (also called tetraglycine hydroperiodide) can kill most germs and can be effective at making small amounts of water safe to drink. But it’s not recommended for pregnant women and those with thyroid issues or shellfish allergies. And it’s not recommended for anyone for more than a few weeks.

After you drop the iodine tablet in, shake your container for about a minute. Then hold the container upside down and unscrew the lid very slightly to allow the iodine to flow into the threads of the bottle cap. Iodine tablets usually require about 30 minutes to take effect

UV lighting and solar water disinfection

  • UV light has also proven effective in ridding water of small organisms. Some UV light devices are battery-free and work with a hand crank.
  • A simpler method is filling a plastic bottle with water and allowing it to sit out in the sun for a full day. The sun’s UV light will kill most biological hazards in the water.

This solar water disinfection method is easy but does not help with chemical contaminations. Note: They are not as reliable when the contaminants are large, floating particles. And pathogens can hide behind or inside those particles.

Solar cooker

  • The solar cooker you use for food can also be employed to remove pathogens and other harmful microorganisms from water. The solar ultraviolet light rays are converted into infrared light rays inside the cooker to produce cleaner water.

Depending on weather conditions, water can be heated to 212 degrees Fahrenheit in about 45 minutes.

Safety tips for drinking from outdoor water sources

In closing, here are some outdoor water safety tips I want to share with you. When acquiring water from lakes, rivers, streams, creeks, etc….

  • Avoid water with a strange hue or film on it, and avoid water that is not clear.
  • Try to find moving water as opposed to still water.
  • Avoid water where there is active growth in it, such as algae or scum.
  • Avoid water near roadways or pavement, as it likely has oil and pollutants in it.
  • Stay upstream of industrial facilities, mines, and construction.
  • Avoid water from farmland, as it might have large amounts of fertilizer and pesticides in it.    

It’s possible you’ll only need one way to clean your water while outdoors. But it’s better to become well versed in a variety of methods because you never know which supplies you’ll have with you during a crisis.

Knowing you’ve packed everything you need for your next outdoor trip will make it all the more enjoyable.


  • Liz Bond - August 14, 2023

    This is a good list. I will be sharing this with my 4 brothers and sisters and a few friends. Maybe it will get them thinking about getting ready for whatever hits the fan.

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