Survival Kits for Wilderness Running


Experience From - Rob Thompson , Jay Hodde , Matt Mahoney , Rich Schick , Ken Reed , Rick Kelley , Ron , Larry DeAngelo ,

Rob Thompson

Hank Garretson wrote:

This raises the question of what sort of survival kit trail runners should carry. When running in wilderness areas, I carry:
  1. appropriate outer gear
  2. knife
  3. space blanket
  4. whistle
  5. water
  6. energy replacement
To the above list add:

Jay Hodde

The previous list of items is good, but if I know the trails I will be running on, I would probably not want to carry all that stuff -- and probably wouldn't. Here's my list of standard trail items, in addition to appropriate clothing for the weather on hand:

Matt Mahoney

I also carry a map, compass, 1-2 flashlights (2 AA batteries), adhesive tape, toilet paper, Vaseline, and money. I used to carry water treatment tablets but since I've had giardia I figure I'm immune to it now.

Rich Schick

Your suggestions are good but for runners I would point out that adequate outer wear is enough to survive overnight laying motionless in the worst possible local weather conditions, If in a race it is again based on lying motionless for twice the expected length of time for help to arrive. In this high tech world I would add a ziplock bag with a cell phone in it to your list of gear.

Ken Reed

Add to The list:

Rick Kelley

I got a cell phone with the expectation that it would come in handy on solo runs in remote areas in the event I was injured or ill. I soon discovered that I rarely had a signal strong enough if any at all due to the remoteness of the areas. So now, I have gone back to the old and sane habit of letting people know where I will be and when to expect me and what to do if I don't show up.


You need a fire starting device. REI (or your local camping store) has a lighter that will burn in high winds and wet weather conditions. It is a must have for survival kits. Expedient devices can be made with cotton, Vaseline, and small film cannister. Mix a generous amount of Vaseline with the cotton and roll until you have a ball. Place the balls in the film cannister and you have a source to ignite your tender (even if wet) for the fire. You will obviously need matches with this technique. Long burning waterproof matches are the best. I wish I knew the brand name. You can also use magnesium strips to start your fire. Dry tender is needed with this technique. Another method of starting a fire is a nine-volt battery and a bit of steel wool. Use the steel wool to short circuit the terminals and start your tender. The rest of the list looked great. A small compass is a great item to have as well. Silva makes a great small survival compass.

Larry DeAngelo

One item I include for desert trail runs, particularly in the spring, is a snakebite kit. The usual recommendation of "not exerting yourself and getting to the hospital in a hurry" seems like a pretty impossible combination when you are several miles out on a trail. So far I have never had to use it. Those darn sidewinders have such effective camouflage that I have come within a step or two more times than I can remember.