Illustration by Elias Stein
It’s easy to set up and allows you to get off the ground in areas of uneven earth, rocks, or sticks. “I use an obnoxious blue-colored hammock,” says Buck. Such loud colors are useful “so that I can signal for help and easily be seen from the sky in a survival situation.”
“The most important thing you can do while doing strenuous activity outside is get a good night’s sleep to recharge,” says Buck, who packs a down-filled Marmot sleeping bag, along with a bug-off liner and a Sea to Summit waterproof bag.
Waterproof Hiking Boots
To avoid painful blisters, Buck prefers a cloth-based, waterproof boot with no hard material except the tread. He also wears Merino wool socks, which disperse moisture faster than cotton socks do. “This setup will get your feet dry,” he says, “keeping your focus on camping and not sore feet.”
Buy a first-aid kit, take out any nonessentials, and add survival essentials. For instance, Buck packs two items to start a fire (a lighter and magnesium rod) and paracord (with many strands of cordage in the sheath), among other items.
A good knife is essential: You can trim fishing line, make bush craft items, or cut a stick for roasting marshmallows. Buck prefers a fixed blade because knives that fold are only as good as the pin that holds blade to handle.
Buck often fishes for bass, bluegill, and trout. He enjoys letting the weight of the line—a 4, 5, or 6—guide his cast, rather than the bait on a traditional pole. “Either way of fishing is great,” he adds, “so get out there and get a fish fry going.”