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Best Gear for Backwoods Camping

Heading into the wilderness? Here are some essentials you won't want to be without.

Sometimes you just need a little time to yourself. And while most of us aren’t ready for the danger and isolation of an off-the-grid survival test like the one undertaken by participants on “Alone,” a solo wilderness adventure tops many a bucket list. Plan your trip-to-remember with this gear guide that will keep you safe, warm and eager to do it all again.

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A HANDY HATCHET

Chopping. Clearing. Fighting off a zombie apocalypse. With BladeMate’s Survival Hatchet, which comes with a 4.5-inch stainless-steel black blade, an ergonomic handle (and a lifetime warranty), weekend campers and hard-core survivalists alike will be ready to face the wilderness—or the walking dead. About $23, Amazon

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HEAD IN THE GAME

Love it when things serve multiple purposes? Get ready to fall for the Buff, a veritable Swiss army knife of head/neckwear. Made of a moisture-wicking, quick-drying fabric, it can be worn in more than a dozen ways—as scarf, face mask, cap, headband, neck gaiter, balaclava, hair tie and more. It also comes in a slew of cool prints and colors. About $9 and up, Amazon

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PUT A BOW ON IT

You don’t have to have the aim of Katniss Everdeen to put the Southland Archery Supply Pioneer Traditional Wood Long Bow to good use. The fiberglass-and-wood 68-inch recurve is made for high-performance shooting, whether you’re just buffing up your archery skills—or fighting for survival, Hunger Games-style. About $190, Amazon

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ONE DIRECTION

Never lose your way with Eyeskey’s Military-Style Aluminum Alloy Compass. A must for any true outdoorsman or woman, this rugged camo-metal compass includes a fluorescent light so you can read it at night, and a built-in bubble level for better accuracy. Plus, it’s waterproof and shake-proof so you’ll always know where you’re going. Around $20, Amazon

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HANG-OUT TIME

When you’re loading your bag for an expedition, you have to think light. (No towering, top-heavy monster packs, thank you very much.) Eagles Nest Outfitter’s DoubleNest hammock weighs a mere 19 ounces, stuffs into its own bag, is made with quick-drying nylon and even works as a place to sleep. Straps not included. About $70, Amazon

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LET IT POUR

When you’re in the wild, you’re going to need rain gear. Be prepared for Mother Nature’s worst with Outdoor Research’s Men’s Helium II jacket. Made with 100 percent nylon, it’s waterproof and windproof, but still breathable and lightweight. When it’s not raining? It packs down into an internal pocket, doubling as a stuff sack (or pillow, in a pinch). Starts at about $80, Amazon

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DRINK IT IN

It doesn’t really matter if you’re planning to stroll a suburban greenway or hike deep into the backcountry—you’re gonna need water. So why not make your must-have accessory the coolest around with Bottled Joy’s BPA-free Military Canteen? Not only does it come with straps, it holds one quart, won’t leak and, when you make it back to civilization, it’s dishwasher safe. About $12, Amazon

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FIRE AWAY

Whether you caught your dinner in the wild or hit the supermarket before hitting the trail, using the portable BioLite CampStove 2 Wood-Burning and USB-Charging Bundle lets you not only boil water and fire up meals. Because its nifty thermoelectric generator converts heat into electricity, you can also use it to power up your LED flashlight, phone and other gadgets. About $200, Amazon

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HIT THE SACK

When you want to ditch the heavy tent—but still like a little nighttime protection from the elements, you’ll want to pack Outdoor Research’s Alpine Bivy Sack. The sleek, ultralight shelter keeps your sleeping bag dry, features a no-see-um mesh to keep out bugs and a pole to make some space over your head. Handy straps will keep you in place if you find yourself dozing in a precarious position. About $249, Amazon

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IN A FLASH

Don’t let its diminutive size fool you. The handy ThruNite MINI TN30 Flashlight boasts a beam distance of more than a thousand feet and a 20-year life span. It features three regular modes (low, medium and high), plus firefly and strobe functions, while weighing in at less than a pound. Who says size matters? About $79, Amazon

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