Ditch This Gear from your Long Term Survival Pack

Ditch This Gear from you long term survival pack

Searching through gear lists online I came across gear that doesn’t really belong in a long term wilderness survival pack. Hopefully you can reduce the weight of your pack, or better, swap those items for better survival aids.


Space Blanket

My arch nemesis. I still have many space blankets laying around, but I never carry any. They are almost useless. They might work in space ;), but in the field, among rocks, brushes and sticks, they last five minutes. Another big flaw is that it is very hard to make them work in conjunction with an improvised shelter.

In theory space blankets are a genius idea due to their radiation reflectance, low bulk and low weight. A durable and more practical alternative is a silnylon poncho tarp or a heavy duty “space blanket”.


Camo Face Paint

I know where you are coming from. But if the situation is as you think it could be, then the proper thing to do is to be far far away from where someone could spot your face.

Also for hunting purposes, ashes and mud are locally found alternatives to face paint.


Tent Stakes

It takes extra time to find or cut suitable sticks to act as tent pegs, but it also takes time to remove your pegs. It’s something more to lose. At least swap them for light aluminum stakes if you aren’t willing to ditch them.



I’m talking fossil fuel stoves. There is no place for them in a long term pack. Any amount of fuel you bring won’t last more than a couple of weeks, so what’s the point? Ditch it!

Having a biolite stove that consumes small sticks while charging your electronics doesn’t seem like a bad idea at first, but they are heavy, bulky, and not very practical. You are better off packing extra hooks and line.


Toilet Paper

Eventually someone will point out that hygiene is super important and that one must bring toilet paper. If you are one of those people don’t take it personally: but toilet paper is definitely just a luxury, not a need. This reminds me of the phrase: speak not of revolution unless you are willing to eat rats.

There are many locally found alternatives to toilet paper that you don’t have to pack in. Yeah it’s nice to have toilet paper, but you know what is nicer? Sphagnum moss

“The more you know the less you carry” Mors Kochanski


Water Filter

Probably the most pushed product in the survival niche. Water filters/purifiers only have a limited amount of uses. That’s why boiling water in a pot is the way to go for long term water treatment. Not treating water is also a viable option in remote wilderness areas.

Water filters need to be handled in a particular way otherwise treated water can be polluted by a single drop. If you are drinking water from an urban area or downstream from agricultural runoff it is a good idea to have a good filter.

A lightweight option is to pack aquamira water tablets to use on the move until you reach a remote place where water won’t be polluted by industrial chemicals or sewage water. Keep in mind that neither tablets nor most filters work against industrial chemicals.


Bug Spray

This item is really prevalent in most lists. But you would have to bring a lot of it if you’ll be using it daily for the whole bug season. Swap it for a loose long sleeve shirt, loose pants, and a bug head net. Having high cut shoes also helps preventing bites around the ankles (tuck the pants in the shoes, or wear gaiters). You might want to use gloves if the mosquitos won’t stop biting your hands. I did this only once during my 6 month survival expedition.


Chapstick and Vaseline

If you have delicate skin then it’s a good idea to learn how to moisturize it with natural materials. I can’t give you good advice on this. But I really think you don’t need them. Come on!


Sun Block

Same as with bug spray, you would need a lot of it. Unless you just use it for your face. But still, it’s more appropriate to pack a wide brim hat, a long sleeve shirt, and pants.



Seriously? Why do you need a towel? Just use your clothes when you get out of your hot tub (sarcasm).


Cathole Trowel

Also very common among backpackers. A small trowell is not very useful anyway. Just use a stick, or poop below a rock, or just cover it with rocks and sticks. If you are camping in the same spot for a long time it is a good idea to dig a big hole, and use it for the duration of your stay anyway. And a small cathole trowel won’t be of much help for that.


Signal Flares

Too bulky. If you want them for signaling, you can substitute them for a pen sized flare or a signal fire. If you want them as an animal deterrent, a bear banger is lighter and can also shoot flares. It’s not clear to me why someone would pack signal flares in a long term survival bag


Tinder and Kindling.

If you don’t have the skill needed to find or make tinder from natural or synthetic materials in wet weather, you shouldn’t even contemplate a long term pack. Work on your skills first. If you feel the need to carry tinder, then you are probably not too confident on your bushcraft and survival skills. Take it as a sign. Skill>Gear

Ditch this Gear from your Long Term Survival Pack

There is a saying in the backpacking community: HYOH. Hike Your Own Hike, and I respect that. But experienced thru-hikers do gear shakedowns to reduce the gear beginners are packing on a long hike like the PCT, AT or CDT. For a long term survival pack weight is not the biggest concern. The focus is on clothing, shelter, and food procuring gear, but it helps to get rid of things you don’t need and to pack effective survival aids.

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