While backpacking or prepping with supplies is great, it can be very cumbersome to haul all that around. Naturally there are several essential items, and having these in a small fanny pack with multiple inner pockets will come in handy. Trying to quickly fish out a tool, and searching through multiple pockets, is a waste of time. I've had many of these items in an old Army field jacket. Naturally they are very practical and designer for this purpose, and useful in lots of weather, cheap, and blends in due to its color. Try wearing that in the heat of summer though. If I could find a Army field jacket with a polar fleece liner, then it would be perfect.
So despite all that, a fanny pack will suffice, since most people don't like wearing Army surplus, and is always practical. Many are waterproof, and made of tough material. That's important if you're near the water. I often had to step into a river, lake, or rushing streams, and my bag got wet, but everything stayed nice and dry inside, including my food and matches.
They are made to be strong, and have tough nylon belts to clip them, and stay out the way. I think some people don't wear them since they don't like the appearance. Who gives a darn?That kind of thinking is stupid. Stupid thinking will kill you. Here's a fanny pack list of items that will save your kid, or you, is cheap, and practical.
All of us have heard of kids getting lost in the woods. It's the most natural thing in the world to happen. It can happen because they wandered off by themselves. It can happen because they didn't know the area, went looking for something YOU sent them for like some violets (tasty leaves or tea for headaches) or plantains for field greens or pine needles for tea or tinder or whatever. It can happen because several people fall down an embankment, the leader hits his head and is stunned, and the kids spread out looking for help and get lost. I've seen kids get lost because they were distracted by a coyote or fox in the woods and followed it, absorbed in its beauty. They knew the terrain in one direction, but going back, the trees looked different since they had never gone that direction before, and got temporarily lost. Kids will get lost if alone, and panic, and then you've got a major problem on your hands. Try covering a lot of terrain by yourself looking for someone. Worse, if you're leading a group of kids, then other kids can easily be lost since they're already a little freaked out, and now you've got multiple problems.
The whistle and mirror are cheap and essential tools for lost folks. They will see a flashing mirror at a distance. It is very noticeable. You get hoarse very quick yelling. A whistle can be heard for a mile.
If you and your family have fanny packs, and they're stocked with cheap supplies that are practical, then it might be the edge to save them. More importantly, these tools will allow them to stealthily walk in the woods, hands-free so they can use them to make their way, and get out tools out as needed.
It goes without saying that buying one that looks different from others will be helpful if everyone is carrying specific things, or if you're taking ten kids or if you're trying to quickly find one in a pitch black tent at 3am.
Everything can be used in multiple ways. I used my signal mirror to shave once a week in the wild, just to stay human, and keep my neck from itching. Easiest way is a tiny bottle of oil to lubricate the beard(2 drops) and an el cheapo razor. All of that could be useful since I might have someone with an injury, and shaving away a little of their hair, and I clean the wound better. I could consume the edible oil for calories(not the tea tree oil that is an antiseptic). I could lubricate one spindle end of a bow drill. The oil from the sides of your nose work well. I could break the razor's tough plastic and fashion a tool. Get me? My personal fanny pack might have other things than a kid's. Make it your own. This one is generic
Parachute cord, whistle, signal mirror, waterproof matches, cheap lighter, magnifying lens, emergency blanket, $20, cheap lockblade knife (I paid a $1), snare wire, 3 Cliff Bars, Raisins, small nylons bags for collecting things in assorted sizes, 2 Garbage bags, a multitool, soapbox with cut up firestarter block, magnesium firestarter (not essential but helpful), sewing kit I got for free from a hotel (unused for a decade), fishhooks/lure/fishing line (all in one little kit unused. I'd probably make a fish trap instead), survival blanket, inexpensive LED flashlight (you checked the batteries...right?), candle, iodine tablets, tea tree oil, a few naproxen, bit of electrical tape, caffeine tablets, free small bar of soap from a hotel, etc.
The candle I carry, is a candle in a can. It's citronella, and I've used it for a long time. Weighs nothing, and since it's sealed, has never melted or been an issue, and may keep away a few insects. It;s calming, makes things homey, saves my flashlight, etc.
You can make a little first aid kit. Realistically most bandages fall off, and are of dubious value in the wild. A bit of electrical tape, if wrapped around the cut finger, works great in a pinch. Clean it with the tea tree oil. This is a very decent wilderness bandage. The naproxen works for me since it's strong, lasts long, and might help if I'm sleeping on the ground for many days. You adjust your pain threshold, same for cold. Caffeine tablets might be a Godsend in the wild. A little stimulation, and a coffee substitute, for a minimal weight. Caffeine potentiates other drugs. That's why it's sometimes added to aspirin to knock out a headache. You must investigate any drug interactions yourself.
None of that weighs anything. It has all the essentials except water. Water is tough to carry. Carrying a canteen is very helpful too. Nobody has ever made a great way to carry water that I have found for in the wild. Nalgene bottles are tough and drop resistant, but not easy to carry. Canteens are usually bulky. Water skins are okay, but can be damaged if you're careless.
Your own will have a lot of other things that YOU find will make things easier. Medication would be an absolutely important thing to put in it, if there's the slightest chance of not returning to the main campsite. Take just what you need, maybe three doses, not all of your supply, which will shake and bet broken. Mine has a bit of cordage I made in a fifty foot section, and I often will take a cheap water bottle, and fashion a sling with the cordage. Not perfect, but if any of it is lost, who cares? If really lost, and I drank the water, I'd refill my disposable bottle, insert the iodine tablet, and keep going.
[link to www.youtube.com
] I've even used this method while rock climbing, which is thirsty work, but since you need to keep your hands free, it's difficult to handle a canteen. It dangles off to the side, you just have to watch busting the cheap container. I've never lost one. I dropped an empty one once, but it was easily retrieved.
I can burn a cup, or bowl, or spoon, if I need to, but many of you don't know how. If you can learn how to fashion basic tools, and teach them to your kids, then they'll make things if lost. Learning how to make a really fast but imperfect basket would be a great thing to learn.
If your kids have an essential fanny pack, strapped to their waist, as a common ordinary part of hiking, then if lost, they most likely will walk out alive. All this for an investment of maybe $50 over time. I spent far less.
Now you can buy emergency straws. They cost ~$10. They purify water, and look like a weird drinking straw. The water may not taste perfect, but the user can drink safe water from a lake, FAST. No collection, carrying, purification, etc. That would REALLY come in handy. I'm cheap, not used to taking them, and don't have one. 'Wish I did. They weigh nothing, and would easily fit in a fanny pack.
[link to www.campingworld.com