Essential Back Country Safety Gear
It's easy to call 911 when you are in a populated area, but when crossing the country on back roads you have to be prepared for some self-rescue. Being prepared only works if everyone in your group knows who is carrying which essentials.
Having your vital information saves a lot of time during an emergency. Chad and I ride with an In Case of Emergency Identification (ICE ID) product stuck to the outside of our helmets containing D.O.B., blood type, insurance, contact info, medication, allergies, and any medical conditions. I got mine from www.vitalid.ca.
Cell phones are iffy in the backcountry. Do not rely on one to save you in an emergency. There are many companies on the internet that rent satellite phone for less than $40 a week.
You can't get help if you don't know where you are. The SPOT Personal Tracker (findmespot.com) is a satellite GPS messenger that links to family, friends, and an international rescue coordination center. Simply press a button and emergency services will be notified.
A sturdy knife, water, lighter, first-aid kit, and high-energy food can save a life.
Make room for a first aid kit and know how to use it. I recommend that at least one person in the group be certified as a Wilderness First Responder through a reputable company like NOLS (nols.edu).