Emergency Outdoor Gear You Need to Pack

Stay safe in the wilderness with this emergency outdoor gear.

Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.

hiking gear you needNejron Photo/Shutterstock

When heading out into the woods for a hike or camping trip, you know you need to bring the basics—a first aid kit, something to start a fire, sunscreen, water and food. But there are a few other things you should pack that will come in handy if you’re out a bit longer than anticipated or something unexpected happens. Here are five items everyone should include in their outdoor gear kit.

Here are 16 camping hacks you’ll wish you knew earlier.


It’s always smart to bring along a small flashlight or headlamp when you head out into the woods in case a hike takes longer than expected, and darkness falls before you’re back to safety. If you hike with a phone, you can also use the device’s built-in flashlight as a light source.

Look for a lightweight headlamp that is comfortable. This headlamp from Kailedi is waterproof, has five modes and the battery life is up to 100,000 hours, so you’ll never be left in the dark. Check out these 15 amazing camping gadgets found on Amazon.

Buy a headlamp now on Amazon.


The U.S. Forest Service recommends not going into the woods without some kind of signaling device. They say a whistle is a good choice as it not only can be used as a signaling device if you become lost or separated from your group, but it can also be used to scare off animals. And, it’s small.

This whistle can be worn around the neck or hooked on to your pants and is 120 decibels, so it’s easier to hear many than other whistles.

Stay safe in the woods with these 11 camping safety tips.

Wound Closure Device

In addition to having a first aid kit as part of your outdoor gear, make sure it includes a wound closure device, such as ZipStitch. If you get a deep wound or cut, ZipStitch allows you to close minor lacerations in just seconds with no pain or punctures to the skin and lasts for up to seven days.

Make your own storm survival kit with this guide.

Buy a whistle now on Amazon.

Waterproof Bag

A waterproof bag will come in handy when you need to keep wet clothing separate from dry clothing or electronics. This waterproof dry bag has a zippered front pocket for easy access and includes a waterproof phone case. “It held my pack filled with two bottles of water, snacks, two cell phones, jacket, small towel, sandals, and some little items like tissues, tube of sunblock and a small portable charger/cord,” said one buyer. “Took it rafting and it held on like a champ! There was water splashing all over and it literally sat in a puddle of water in the raft almost the entire time. Everything was completely dry. No water at all inside!” New to camping? These 15 brilliant hints will come in handy.

Buy a waterproof bag now on Amazon

Bivy Sack or Bivy Tent

When a trip into the woods takes longer than expected, lightweight gear such as a bivy sack or tent will come in handy, especially if you get stuck in the woods overnight.

“Bivy sack is short for ‘bivouac sack.’ It was invented to serve climbers who wanted lightweight emergency weather protection for sleeping bags during multiple-day ascents, particularly on big walls,” according to REI. Think of it as a lightweight sleeping bag.

“For an extra pound or so, a tent-like bivy shelter adds two features not available with traditional bivies—an expanded area of shielded headspace and a full enclosure to block out bad weather and insects. These extras have helped bivy shelters grow in popularity, particularly with ultralight hikers,” notes the REI website. This bivy weighs only 4.1 ounces and comes in a waterproof sack, so it’s easy to add to your outdoor gear kit.

Buy a bivy now on Amazon.

Here’s what you need to know about the van camping trend.

Buy ZipStitch now on Amazon.

Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Popular Videos

Rachel Brougham
Rachel Brougham lived through a major home renovation in 2019, knows the ups and downs of home improvement, and loves sharing tips with readers. A veteran journalist of both print and television, she’s won several awards for her writing and has covered everything from the environment and education to health care, politics and food. She’s written for several publications beyond newspapers including Bob Vila, Taste of Home and Minnesota Parent, and she currently writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column. Her memoir, Widowland, about the sudden loss of her husband, was published in 2022. She specializes in everything from home decor and design to lawn and garden, product reviews and pet care. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her tending to her garden (both vegetables and native plants), playing with her dog, watching sports with her family or getting some exercise. A native of Michigan, she currently lives in Minneapolis. An avid user of Instagram, you can follow her @RachBrougham.