2. Build an emergency kit
Before venturing out into the wild, you should assemble a first-aid kit, or pick up a pre-made model. We like the Mountain Hiker Kit by Adventure Medical Kits ($25, adventuremedicalkits.com). That way, you’ll have what you need to deal with small emergencies like blisters, cuts, and sudden ailments. The kits are great because all of the supplies have already been thoroughly thought out and tested; they usually include a guide to backcountry first aid.
You’ll also want to add in a strong whistle like the Safety Whistle by Fox 40 ($6.95, rei.com) so you can send out the universally recognized S.O.S. call—three repeating blasts—if you get lost or confused. Also throw in a cheap lighter (better than matches), iodine tablets (for water purification), duct tape (virtually limitless uses), a space blanket, and a headlamp with fresh batteries.
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