Going on a multi-day hiking trip soon? Don’t head out unprepared – build yourself a 72-hour survival kit to stay safe on the trail.

As an avid hiker who’s trekked everywhere from the used columbia to the deserts of the Southwest, I’ve learned the hard way just how critical it is to have the right gear and supplies. Follow this guide to pack the essentials for 3 days in the wilderness.


Your top priority is being able to create basic shelter from the elements. Pack an ultralight backpacking tent and ground tarp to give you reliable protection day and night.

A compact sleeping bag suited to the expected conditions and an insulating sleeping pad will help you get restful sleep.

Round it out with a lightweight camping chair so you always have a place to sit and preserve energy.

Water and Food

You’ll need 1-2 liters of water per day minimum based on conditions. Bring a pump water filter so you can refill from streams and lakes.

Pack high-calorie protein bars and trail mix as well as powdered meal packs that just require boiling water.

Include a lightweight camping stove plus pot to boil water and prepare meals. A cutlery set and insulated mug help make meals easier.

used columbia for sell
used columbia for sell

Navigation and Light

Don’t get lost in the wilderness! Pack a detailed topographic map of the area plus a compass and GPS device with extra batteries.

A headlamp and backup flashlight ensure you have light at night and if one fails. Pack extra batteries for all devices.

First Aid Supplies

Prepare for minor injuries and illnesses by packing a fully stocked first aid kit including bandages, gauze, antibiotic ointment, medical tape, medication, etc.

If hiking in an area with snakes or insect risks, consider bringing treatments such as a snake bite kit and epinephrine auto-injector.

Pack essential medications you need plus pain/fever relievers.

Tools and Fire Starting

A good multi-tool and pocket knife allows you to handle minor repairs and cut cordage.

Pack waterproof matches and lighters to start campfires for warmth and cooking.

Tinder materials like cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly also help ignite fires. A small folding saw lets you process wood.

Clothing and Bedding

Prepare for changing conditions by packing versatile layers and bedding.

Essentials include a waterproof jacket, fleece, hiking pants, baselayers, warm socks, wool hat, and gloves.

Choose breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics. A sleeping pad and blanket prevent conductive heat loss.

Emergency Tools

Supplement your kit with emergency items including a whistle and signal mirror for attracting help, duct tape for repairs, a paracord for setting up shelter and gear, a satellite communicator if going very remote, and bear spray if needed.

With the right preparation, you can head out on a multi-day hiking adventure feeling confident you have the supplies and knowledge to handle emergencies and challenges.

Follow this checklist to build a reliable 72-hour survival kit. Stay safe on the trail!


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