Look, nature is beautiful. It's fun. But it can also be unpredictable and dangerous. And while I highly encourage you to head in to the great outdoors as often as possible, you should only do so if you're prepared for an emergency. Obviously you need to be physically and mentally ready -- you shouldn't be trying to through hike the Appalachian Trail if you can't shoulder a 30-pound bag for six-plus hours a day, and you shouldn't be trying to ski isolated slopes if you just finished your first lesson. Fortunately there's plenty of gear out there you can carry with you, just in case the worst happens. According to National Geographic there were 46,609 search and rescue operations in US National Parks alone between 2004 and 2014. So, first and foremost, anytime you venture out into unfamiliar territory, you need to know where you are. This means a map and a compass are essential. Honestly, almost any compass will do, so we'll skip any particular recommendations there.