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Survival

Readers' Best Advice: Gear Tips

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Hiking Tips | Camping Tips | Gear Tips | No-Fail Firestarters | Bear Bagging | Bear Questions | Prolific Reader Tipster

Double-duty Items

Padded Tyvek envelopes, like those you get from UPS, have multiple uses: padded stuffsack, freezer-bag cooking cozy, sit pad, and tent doormat. 


T. Dale Stewart, Greensboro, GA


Drip coffee filters. They’re tough and weigh nothing, so I always keep a couple in my pack. Use them as prefilters for water filter tubes or pot scrubbers—I even used one as a bandage once. 


“JohnQ62”


I always carry plastic zip ties—they weigh practically nothing and can be used as a shoelace, a replacement grommet for your tent, or to hold a section of your pack together if a strap breaks. 


Jackie “Krazi B” Rubenacker, Hawthorne, NJ


For trash, we carry one of those heavy-duty, zip-style bags that are made for long-term clothing storage. We’re able to pack all of our garbage (plus some extra) without the worry of anything leaking. The bags typically have a valve that allows you to purge the remaining air, compressing it down even further. The bags we use can be found at dollar stores and are about the size of a gallon zip-top bag. 


Jeremy “Sheepdog” Barnes, Hickory, NC 


Essentials


I carry a canvas-sewing needle and some waxed dental floss in my repair kit. I’ve used it on packs, pants, tents, and boots. Always wanted to try it on a hiking partner… 


Chuck “Chuck D” Devier, Houston, TX 


My survival kit always contains a glow stick and a chemical heat packet. No batteries to worry about, and if you’re cold and alone, a little heat and light go a long way. 


Joel Nyquist, South Riding, VA


I carry IV needles for their lightweight cutting ability, and wound-sewing needles because they’re great for field repairs.


Tomer Ullmann, Kibbutz Ma’abarot, Israel


How to Pack for Backcountry Skiing

Get to know the winter safety gear you need in your pack.

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