Following along with my prep for next week's canoe trip this quick article will highlight what I'll be carrying in my pockets and on my person. Generally I usually have a combination of all this equipment on me whilst in the outdoors, and it forms the foundation of my wilderness outfit.
Around my neck, a lifeline...
Typically around my neck I carry just two items: A whistle and a light. My reasoning being that in the most essential way I can, with just this equipment, attract help to my location. Scenario: A late night trip to the loo leads to a sprained ankle with only my thermals on, and my life-line. I can whistle a distress call and light my location.
For the canoe trip I unabashedly took inspiration from Lars Falt and Ray Mears' book "Out of the Land" to bolster this life-line. Helped with a wonderful gift from my Partner Sarah (the brass compass!) I'll be carrying a couple of extra items around my neck to help balance the specific risk of travelling on cold water over distance. A firesteel to create a warming fire, here more potentially more useful than a lighter as a good swim in cold water will inhibit fine motor muscle control. A firesteel can be used with gross muscle movement. Finally the tweezers are a means to remove the ever prevalent ticks in the wild, and can if necessary be used to drive sparks from the firesteel.
In my pockets...
I carrying on my person a robust set of tools to help simplify the the basic tasks of bushcraft. A pocket knife, usually a UK legal folding knife as I always have it on me. I current favourite is the Scandi-grind Enzo PK70, solidly built and razor sharp, it's attached to my belt via a paracord lanyard. If I' heading further afield or if I'm not bringing a fixed knife as my primary cutting tool I'll bring my locking folding knife. I then have my primary means of lighting fire, a tougher military firesteel on a lanyard with a whistle/striker. I back this up with a standard lighter. I also carry a large neckerchief for everything from dressing wounds to filtering water.
I NEVER carry a knife without a small cuts kits, here in a waterproof dry-bag. It contains some simple essentials for closing and sterilising wounds in the field, some of the contents can be pressed into service as emergency tinder. Specifically on this trip, Scotland being famous for the dreading midges, I'll be carrying a bug net for my head. My compass and a good length of paracord are also constant pocket fillers. I carry enough paracord to quickly make a bow for friction fire lighting, in this way I following the theme of all my equipment: Two is one, one is none. I'm always careful to buy quality paracord, as the cheap imitators are never up the job.