Why Even the Most Bad-Ass Outdoorsmen Need a Life Jacket

Think you're too cool for floaties? Think again

Out on the water, accidents happen, and people drown every year regardless of their boating or swimming ability. If you get thrown out of a boat, especially in a river, there are any number of ways you can be incapacitated. If that happens, a life jacket is the only real chance you’ve got. I never used to wear one. But this spring, a drowning incident hit a little too close to home. Now I won't run the river without one.

Your life jacket will save you from drowning, but in remote areas, drowning can be just the first of your worries. If you get separated from your boat or your boat sinks (which does happen), you will have to depend only on the gear you've go on your body to survive until you are rescued. And, that could be a day or several days. If you get dumped in a cold river or it's nasty weather, and you don't have any survival gear, you’ll succumb to the elements quicker than you might expect. Here are five items I keep in my life jacket, so I'll have enough to keep me going until help arrives.