Four life saving accessories every backpacker should carry

Lucy Arnold
Oct. 19, 2018

An adventure in the untamed natural wilderness of the West Coast can be a thrilling experience, but it’s always worth being prepared for the unexpected. 

Taking a wrong turn and getting lost in the backcountry can happen to the best of us. If you end up a long way from civilization, your survival skills could be put to the test. Increase your chances in a worst case scenario by stocking up on essential survival accessories. 

These pocket sized items won’t add much weight to your backpack, but could be lifesavers when exploring.

1. Fire Starter Bracelet

The fire starter bracelet fits comfortably on the wrist and looks just like any other fashion accessory. However, unfasten it to discover a stainless steel striker, which is used to create sparks when you need to start a fire in the wilderness. As a smart traveler, you will of course pack up your luggage with lighters and matches, but these can get wet or break. By carrying a steel, you can keep warm, cook food and purify water. 

2. Steel Credit Card Sized Multi Tool

A Swiss army knife or multitool pliers are always handy when out in the wilderness, but there’s another accessory that you should carry at all times. This credit card sized bit of steel fits in your wallet, but contains 11 essential survival tools in one. Whether you need to saw some wood or open tinned food, keeping this in your pocket means that you are always prepared.

3. Water Purification Bottle

When traveling with a backpack, you need to think about saving weight and space. This means prioritising your items. Leave behind that extra pair of shoes and instead pack something which could save your life. Dirty water is responsible for more deaths than war and violence, so bring a bottle with a built in purification system. You can fill it up from any stream or puddle and stay hydrated while you await rescue.

4. Personal Locator Beacons

Available at most i-SITES or Department of Conservation centres, personal locator beacons are available for hire if you’re going tramping. If you and your friends find yourselves in a sticky situation, you can activate this beacon to notify Search and Rescue New Zealand to come to your aid.

The Hokitika i-SITE rent these beacons out for as little as $30 for 3 days.