If you love the outdoors, you understand the importance of packing light. The goal is to only take with you the absolute necessities to ensure the load stays light to avoid discomfort or over packing. While the goal of keeping your pack light is crucial, the matter of safety essentials should never be overlooked. Here are the top items you need to have in your outdoor survival kit.

1. Knife or multitool

One of the most important tools to have in your outdoor survival kit is a knife or multitool. The needs for a knife or multitool are endless, from cutting cords and ropes to using it for self-defense or preparing food. While there are no hard and fast rules regarding the type of tool or knife you should carry, you need to make sure it has certain characteristics. It should have a strong blade that won’t break off, a handle with comfortable grips to allow more control, and it should still be relativity lightweight to avoid weighing down your pack.

2. Flashlight

Another of the more useful tools to include in your outdoor survival kit is a flashlight. A flashlight is great for when you get lost in the dark or need more illumination for a specific task. There are many types of flashlights available on the market, but you should look for options that offer the longest return in terms of battery life.

3. Poncho

A poncho is a great way to stay protected against the elements in terms of moisture, rain, and wind. It is also one of the items in your pack which can carry multiple uses. You can wear it, use it as a tarp to create an emergency shelter, and even use it to collect rainwater which you can then drink. Make sure when choosing this item, you go for quality construction to avoid it ripping. This isn’t an area of gear where you should try to skimp and save a few dollars rather than investing in quality.

4. Water tools

In an emergency outdoor situation, finding water is always crucial. No matter where you are stranded or lost, water is the key to staying alive. In fact, the human body can only go an average of three days without water before it becomes a critical life or death situation. With a portable water purifier or filter you can ensure a better chance of survival. It is important to note that there are differences between water purifiers and water filters. Water filters filter water from harmful bacteria to create a safe drinking water to a certain degree. A water purifier purifies the water to a greater degree by removing microorganisms too tiny for a typical filter to catch. However, it is important to note that most water filters are acceptable in the USA whereas a water purifier would be a better bet in underdeveloped countries where overall water quality is an issue.

5. Fire starter

Aside from water, fire is one of the most crucial elements of staying alive in the outdoors. It lets you cook food, provides warmth against dropping temperatures and helps to keep animals away. There are a lot of ways to start a fire, from cotton balls and Vaseline to an actual fire starter tool. Whatever method works for you, make sure you bring it along on every trip.