MSAR members must acquire gear to be qualified to respond to searches; a “24 hour pack” or emergency response pack. All team members are required to carry the same set of items, so we always know what our resources are. A 24 hour pack provides all of the supplies necessary for survival for 24 hours.
Backpack – The 24 hour pack should be both comfortable and low profile with a hip belt, an internal frame (or frameless) design, durable, weather resistant, and relatively light-weight.
Breakdown by essential systems:
Protection from environment: The pack itself (protects gear); clothing/boots/gaiters/gloves/raingear/helmet/goggles, as needed; sunglasses, sunscreen, bug spray. Also, tarp, space blanket, trash bag, duct tape, rope (to help make a shelter, protect a person, or collect rainwater). Personal medications and first-aid supplies, including blister prevention (the most common ailment for hikers).
Navigation: compass & map (preferably topographical); notebook & pen (to record information), wristwatch (to time distances covered, take a pulse-rate or keep track of medical symptoms and interventions); GPS unit (not to be depended upon, since either battery power or reception may fail).
Illumination: headlamp (leaves hands free), flashlight, candles.
Communication (in addition to the human voice): whistle, cellphone, radio, extra batteries
Detection (by other personnel): whistle, flagging tape, high-visibility vest.
Combustion (for warming, cooking or signalling): lighter, matches (storm-proof), magnesium rod or flint
Hydration: water (2 liters minimum) and water purification.
Nutrition: high-calorie, balanced easily prepared non-perishable food
Elimination: trowel/toilet paper.
Other Considerations (making a fire, rigging a hauling system, wrapping a subject, etc.): knife, caribiners, Prusik loop, tubular webbing, paracord