Survival Essentials

Certain events in the backcountry of New Zealand can lead to the possibility of you being in a survival situation, it is therefore up to you to understand how to prepare and how to do it. 

Did you know?

An average of 540 people are involved in a backcountry Search and Rescue each year.
– There and Back, 2016

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What can go wrong? 

Losing your way

This can be surprisingly easy to do in New Zealand's outdoors, especially if the weather changes or you run overdue. Sticking to the trail takes effective planning, teamwork and concentration along the way. 


An incident or injury

It doesn't take a significant injury to slow a person or group down and this can affect your intended plans dramatically. Take a first aid kit on each trip, along with a communication device suitable to the requirements of outdoor use. If you run out of time you may be looking at an 'unexpected night out.'

Helpful hint

Remember that water, shelter, warmth and the will to survive are the essential elements to your survival. 

What you need to know


How to effectively plan a trip

No matter how short your intended trip is, it is essential to plan carefully for any situation. Find local information and use our trip planning resources along with your fellow group members for the best result.

What to take with you

Some basic items to help you in a survival situation:

  • Communications - Find out more
  • Emergency shelter - Take a 'pack-liner'  that doubles as an emergency shelter
  • Fire-lighting equipment (matches/ lighter and a fire-lighting aid, rubber and a candle. Put these in a waterproof bag
  • Safety whistle - available in our store
  • Cord or string
  • Sharp knife
  • First Aid Kit
  • Plastic bags
  • Pencil and paper

How stay on track

To stick to your planned route, you should always carry and be able to use a map and compass or form of navigation. Location awareness skills are also important; know where you are and where you have travelled, be observant, and remember natural features. See our Navigation section.

What to do 

  • Stop - unless you are certain of the way out
  • Apply first aid if required - See more in First Aid.
  • Get warm, eat and make a shelter
  • Get help - Make your location visible for rescuers and use what communication devices you have.
  • Look after yourself and your group and wait for help.
 Watch the video


How we can help:

Learn from our resources

Outdoor Safety Code

The first thing to remember is that every trip needs a plan. A few simple steps to take before you head out can make all the difference if something goes wrong.

Helpful link


How to tell someone your plans - To get rescued, someone needs to know where you are.

Find out more

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