Loading... Please wait...

Rescue Essentials Blog

BackCountry Survival

Posted by Nick Disparti on

Being a Colorado based company this one is personal for us.

Every year mishaps occur that result in individuals being stuck out in the backcountry overnight. Ski accidents, lost hikers, injured hunters. A lot of things can happen suddenly that result in you having to spend the night outdoors while waiting for search and rescue to find you. If you can't stay warm, dry, and hydrated your chances of surviving the night decrease significantly. What starts out as a great day in the backcountry suddenly turns into a life and death struggle.

A properly outfitted survival kit is essential to making it through the night, or multiple nights, while you either wait for rescue or work your way back to the trailhead. Cost is not an excuse, weight is not an excuse. Your life depends on it. Don't make the mistake of thinking that it will never happen to you. All of us who have worked search and rescue have heard that comment plenty of times - "I never thought that would happen to me".

Make sure your survival kit has the critical components you need:

1. Hypothermia Prevention

Hypothermia is the major cause of death for many victims of backcountry accidents. Not injuries from the accident itself. You need to stay dry and warm whether that's a man made shelter, heat reflecting bivy, or hypothermia blanket.

2. Hand Warmer Packs

You can't do much if your hands are so cold that you lose all manual dexterity. Building a shelter or a fire can quickly become impossible. Heat warmer packs will allow you to warm up your hands so you have the dexterity to work. If shivering or showing signs of hypothermia, you can also place them in your armpits once in your shelter to help raise your body temperature.

3. Fire Starter with Tinder

A fire will provide heat, light and during the day, smoke to help identify your location. A fire starter kit has a sparking ignitor and tinder to get a collection of small branches, wood shavings, needles or dry leaves ignited to build up a fire for warmth and signalling.

4. Small Folding Knife

Among other uses, it allows you to shave off strips of dry wood from larger branches to make a kindling pile for fire starting.

5. Wire Saw

A compact wire saw allows you to cut down dry, dead branches. In the winter much of the downed wood is snow covered and hard to locate. However, there's often a lot of dry, dead wood still on the trees above snow that can be used for a fuel source.

6. Emergency Food

A Coast Guard approved emergency food bar will provide you the critical calories your body needs to stay warm.

7. Water Purification Tablets

Allows you to safely use local water sources for drinking water.

8. Electrolyte Replenishment Powder

Mix with your purified water to help fight off dehydration, a major contributor to hypothermia. Provides balanced electrolytes to keep you properly hydrated.

9. Signal Safety Whistle

A simple safety whistle is louder then yelling or screaming, penetrates farther across the landscape then your voice and take a mere fraction of your energy.

10. Signal Mirror

Use for signaling your location to aircraft or or ground searchers. You can also look at yourself in this mirror and repeat "I'm going to get out of this, it's not over yet".

11. Chemical Light Stick

Provides hours of illumination allowing you the light you need to start your fire or create a shelter. Attaching a length of paracord to the chemlight and spinning it overheard makes a great low light signal to search teams.

12. Paracord, 25ft

Use with the chemlight for signaling. Attach lengths of paracord to the wire saw, throw over branches beyond your reach to access fuel to keep your fire going. Paracord has a lot of survival applications. These are just a few.

Whether you purchase the Rescue Essentials Survival Kit or build your own, don't head into the backcountry without one. We stand by our motto "Preparation is the First Line of Defense".

FDNY Adopts Slishman Traction Splint Use

The Fire Department of New York City recently approved the Slishman Traction Splint (STS) as their new standardized traction device. The STS will be carried on all FDNY ambulances and will be taught at the EMS Academy to all new E.M.T's and Paramedics. FDNY recently undertook a comprehensive year long review of all medical equipment  [...]

Read More »


New Bleeding Control Instructors Kit

Rescue Essentials, in cooperation with Luna Innovations, have created the new Bleeding Control Instructors Kit. This new kit has all the components needed to teach a wound packing bleeding control class straight out of the box. Utilizing Luna Innovations TrueClot Blood Simulant and Simulated Hemostatic Gauze instructors can demonstrate the use of advanced hemostatics in [...]

Read More »


TrueClot Trainer Update

Luna Innovations have recently updated their popular TrueClot Wound Packing Trainers. Based on direct customer feedback the trainers have been updated with improved external and internal wound anatomy. The Task Trainer now ships with 1 liter of Blood Simulant Concentrate and 5 packs of TruClot Simulated Hemostatic Gauze, a $140 dollar value free of charge. [...]

Read More »


New QuikLitter XL

Rescue Essentials is excited to announce the release of the new QuikLitter XL. A new addition to the highly successful QuikLitter line of disposable soft litters. The QuikLitter XL is larger, at 80” x 40”, has 14 grab handles for maximum weight distribution, and features an increased maximum load rating of 1000 pounds. Two integrated patient retention straps [...]

Read More »


Doctors Urge Americans to Learn Tourniquet Use

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2016/06/...DENVER — America’s doctors are recommending cops, firefighters and the general public be trained to use a highly effective and simple technique to stop bleeding caused by bullet wounds and other injuries — a method widely credited with saving lives on both battlefields and city streets.The decision by the American Medical Association comes days after [...]

Read More »


SAM Junctional Tourniquet Wins U.S. Army Award

SAM Medical is proud to share the news that the SAM Junctional Tourniquet has received the, “Greatest Innovation Award” for 2015, by the U.S. Army. This is a prestigious honor that serves to recognize the best in class for product innovation. The SAM Junctional Tourniquet was named the group category winner of the Army’s Major General Harold “Harry” Greene [...]

Read More »


NOLS 27 Considerations for a Wilderness First Aid Kit

Nice list from NOLS on items to consider when putting together your wilderness first aid kit. This is a great time of year to take out that kit and go through all your supplies to check contents and expiration dates. http://blog.nols.edu/2016/06/03/27-considerations-for-a-first-aid-kit/

Read More »


New Public Access Bleeding Control Kit

Rescue Essentials has just released the first in a series of new Public Access Bleeding Control Kits. These kits, built in collaboration with the Denver International Airport and Nashville Metropolitan Airport Authority provide the critical medical components needed to rapidly control severe external hemorrhage. Designed to fit into existing public space AED boxes, the new [...]

Read More »


911 Memorial Stair Climb

Firefighters at this years 2016 Fire Department Instructors Conference once again participated in the 911 Memorial Stair Climb. Firefighters climbed 110 floors of steps in full bunker gear to raise funds for the families of the 343 Firefighters who gave their lives climbing to rescue victims trapped in the twin towers. It was nice to [...]

Read More »