SAR Essentials Store:
|| Map & Compass | Light Source | Sunglasses | Food/water | Clothing | Shelter |Matches | Fire starter | Knife | First-Aid | Flagging tape | Whistle | Water filter | GPS | Insect repellent | Sunscreen | SAR Pack | 2- Way Radio |
|You always need a detailed map. For SAR work, a 7.5 minute USGS map is the most common. Next, make sure you know how to read the map. Finally, if you get lost, lose the map, and staying put doesn't make sense, then pick a bail-out direction
|On most searches maps are issued to the SAR teams. Spend 10¢ to make a copy of a map.
|Compass should have 2 degree increments, be liquid filled, and a clear base. A mirror allows more accurate sightings plus can be used to signal and shave. Make sure you know how to use it.
|You finally have to spend some money. Suunto a good bare bones compass.
|Let me tell you about the hike that was intended to last only a few hours in the daylight but then.... (Reading trail signs from the light of a pager is a real bummer) You should also add extra bulbs and extra batteries. New LED technology means you don't have to carry extra bulbs. Even nearly dead batteries will still produce useful light.
|Mini-Mag Not bright enough to search with, but it will get you out of the woods.
|Included on the Mountaineers list because at high altitudes you go snow-blind. A bad place to be blind. Make sure glasses stop 99 percent of the UV light, if they don't they may do more harm than good.
|Cut out some cardboard in the shape of the silly 3-D glasses
and then make two slits to see through. You will look like a dork.
DO NOT use for driving!
For SAR teams in the East, consider Safety glasses when busting through brush in the middle of the night
|Extra water is critical. Even when it is cold out. Carry high energy food such as GORP, energy bars, or Pemmican. Tend to snack on your emergency food? Consider a can of sardines or tuna.
|A one liter plastic bottle of water or soda will also serve as a canteen. (99 cents)
|The idea is to bring enough clothes to get through an unplanned bivouac in worst case weather for the outing. Avoid cotton.
|Extra clothes alone will not get you through that unexpected bivouac.
|Five large plastic leaf bags. Once again you will look like a dork if this is also your rain gear.
|Make sure to either carry waterproof matches or a container to keep them waterproof. 35mm film can works great.
|The local bar. Dip the heads in candle wax to waterproof. Strike anywhere and 35mm film canister.
|Great in wet emergency conditions
|Lint from the dryer after a load of cotton. small candle, strips of waxed cardboard
|A basic tool. Do you need a corkscrew? All depends.
|No a butter knife from the kitchen is not good enough. A small Swiss Army Pocket Knife however does the trick.
|The goal is to carry items for minor injuries and those items that cannot be improvised. Be sure to carry any required prescription medications. i.e. inhalers, epi-pen.
|Borrow, beg bandages, medical tape, etc.Simple kit
|Think about it. May double up as firestarter. A lot better than using your map.
|Take from home, put in a plastic bag. If forced to improvise in the woods, make sure you know about "leaflet three let it be!"
|Avoid metal whistles unless you like to freeze your lips during cold weather.
|The loudest whistle You will want it if you are the one lost!
|Fluorescent Flagging tape
|Required for Search and Rescue work. Used for marking clues, evac routes, boundaries, etc.
|Typically issued by SAR team.
|All water in the backcountry is suspect.
|Carry lots of water and really hope you don't run out.
|Things that bite make searching difficult and the wilderness no fun.
|Wear long sleeved and long pants. The poor man scratches a lot.
|More of a high altitude issue but sunburn is never good. Use at least SPF 15
|Consider using small travel bottles.
|Not really required, but sure is a useful adjunct for land navigation. With selective availability turned off, I routinely see accuracy down to 11 feet.
|Not a poor man's tool.
|Paper & Pen
|Important to take notes out in the field
|Regular paper in a plastic bag. A pencil always works when wet.
|Rite-in-the-Rain waterproof paper and pen
|It is possible to carry all of your items in your pockets. BDU pants make this even easier. A small fanny pack or day pack gives more space.
|Talk about Radios
|1-2 mile range. No FCC license required.
|A longer range VHF radio will be issued on most searches
|Finally the most important item to always bring along: Common Sense. It is common sense that teaches limits and the value of training. All the gear is worthless without common sense. Which is priceless.
* Full disclosure statement. dbS Productions will make a small commission (5-10%) on many of the items recommended through an affiliation with SAR Camp, Amazon.com, Backcountry Store , US Cavalry, and This small commission helps maintains the website and supports SAR research.
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