Outdoor Gear for the K9 Search and Rescue Team

Coaxsher search and rescue pack

Flagging tape search and rescue

Your SAR Ready Pack with your outdoor gear is like a house on your back. It allows you to be self reliant and comfortable if you need to spend an overnight or two in the wilderness. You need to carry what you need personally, and what the subject might need if encountered.

A 24 hour pack is the absolute minimum that should be carried during a mission. You will need to include all items that will help you function safely and effectively. For a complete list of items required to pass the SAR Tech II Test, click here .

The Outdoor Gear
Personal Body Management and Protective Equipment

  • Consider the importance of carrying: Sunscreen, Insect Repellent, Eye protection, and Head Protection.

    Insect Repellent

  • Wear clothing made of slippery material
  • Chemical repellents that contain DEET, Indione, Rutgers, or DMP
  • Skin So Soft
  • Netting

    Eye Protection

  • Protect your eyes on missions!
  • When working in brush
  • At night
  • In hot, sunny areas or at elevation in now conditions eye protection search and rescue

    Head Protection
  • A helmet might be necessary
  • Provides protection where injury is likely and can provide ear and neck protection
  • A hat that protect ears and neck in cold environments

    Sleeping Systems - In the event you do have to spend the night, are you prepared?
  • Sleeping during SAR missions may be required on occasion
  • Consider: Ground protection, and sleeping bag systems as part of your outdoor gear items.

    Ground Protection - Important considerations:
  • Insulation and comfort
  • Lightweight, soft, compact, waterproof, and efficient insulation
  • Other options:
  • Air mattress
  • Ensolite or polyethylene pad (closed cell)
  • Nylon cloth
  • Natural surroundings

    Sleeping Bags

  • Rectangle
  • Modified
  • Mummy
    mummy sleeping bag Sleeping Bag Insulation
  • Synthetics - Polyester, (Polarguard, Primaloft, Dacron, Holofil, and Quallofil)
  • Natural - Down

    Sleeping Bag Construction

  • Consider Loft
  • Manufacturer reputation
  • Key is to trap dead air
  • Different types of construction/baffling

    Sleeping Bag Baffling

  • Quilted (sewn through)
  • Box
  • Shingle

    Shelters - The multipurpose tool for protection against discomforts.

  • Consider Weight
  • Water repellency
  • versatility

  • Tarps - Lightweight and versatile
  • Inexpensive
  • Not durable
    Tarp Search and Rescue

    tent Search and rescue


  • Heavier and more expensive
  • Provide maximum security

    Mess Kits and Utensils

  • A bowl, cup, and spoon are the only utensils needed.
  • Plastic holds heat longer than metal and won't burn your lips
  • Metal is easier to clean

    Camping pots and utensils

    Types of Stoves

  • Chemical
  • Pressurized gas
  • Liquid gas - Alcohol, White gas/Coleman fuel,other
    JetBoil stove

    Whisperlite stove

    Water Bottles and Hydration Systems

  • An important part of outdoor gear!
  • Hydration is essential! Consider:
  • Durability
  • Access
  • Weight
  • Drinkability

    Walking Stick

  • Can be helpful when carrying a heavy pack over a long distance
  • Consider: Durability, Weight and length, Portability


  • Consider Spot or focus
  • Battery usage and compatibility
  • Incandescent vs. LED
  • Headlamp vs. handheld
    camping headlamp

    Swiss Army Knife

    Other Outdoor Gear and Tools

  • Knife - All purpose "Swiss Army" type is ideal
  • Repair/sewing kit - for minor repairs
  • "Hell" box - Anything that might come in handy for comfort, repairs and emergencies.

    Hygiene and Sanitation

  • Many "necessities" can be done without, or improvised from other pack items.
  • Rinsing with water and scrubbing teeth with a towel can get mouth clean.
  • Toilet paper - No one should be without it in the wilderness.


  • Consider - Intended use and needs
  • Combined weight and space of all the items you intend to carry
  • Your body structure

    Internal Frame

  • Better suited for activities requiring balance and freedom of movement
  • Fit close to the back and are flexible

    External Frame

  • Rigid pack frames with fitted bags
  • Most comfortable and convenient method of carrying large loads on extended trips

    Search and Rescue Coaxsher backpack

    Packs -Look for:

  • Frame Construction
  • Shoulder straps and hip belt
  • Back support and adjustments
  • Quality and reinforcements
  • Pockets/compartments and access
  • Lash points

    Been on a memorable search and want to share your experiences? What was your most memorable search and why?

    All of us has had some sort of experience while on a search. Want to share yours? What were some of your most memorable moments and why? What would you have done differently if anything? Have a funny moment, or a great picture? Share it!

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