Do you carry a pocket survival kit when you are in the field? You probably should. It’s all too easy to get lost, hurt, or separated from your gear, and to find yourself in a no kidding survival situation. It happens all the time and a simple pocket kit can make the difference between life and death. You can buy one of the hundreds of pre-made kits, but the problem is most of them are crap. I recommend you build your own. Survival kits can be as big or small as you want. I like to take a modular approach. I have a pocket kit with the essentials, a day pack kit to supplement the pocket kit, and my hiking kit. In my mind, backpacking is just a controlled survival situation and my backpack is a well equipped survival kit. A good survival kit will address the five survival priorities:
- First Aid
- Signaling, and
Start by addressing the things that will kill you first (heat, cold, hydration, and injury), add in the means to signal rescuers, drop in a few general purpose essentials (compass, knife, cord, and duct tape) and then address comfort items (food). My kit fits in a 4″ x 8″ zippered pouch and weighs a scant 12 ounces. I could certainly make it smaller, but I like the capability of this kit. These kits aren’t cheap, mine set me back $40 or $50, but if you can buy in bulk and outfit your friends or sell a few then you could cut the price in half.
Here’s what I carry in my pocket kit:
- Carry bag
- Emergency Blanket
- 55 gallon Trash Bag (improvised poncho, shelter, or carry sack)
- Metal Match and/or Butane Lighter
- Tinder (I use dryer lint)
- Oven Bag (for water storage, still looking for something better)
- 1/2 oz Bleach in Eye Drop Bottle (purifies up to 3 gallons of water)
- 2 ft Rubber Tubing (for drinking from Oven Bag & other assorted uses)
- Motrin and Antihistamine Tablets
- Antibiotic Ointment & Alcohol Wipes
- LED Light
- Signal Mirror
- Button Compass
- Cord (I have 30 ft of Kevlar cord, but 550 cord is good too)
- Aluminum Foil (use as a cup, pot, etc)
- 3 ft Duct Tape
- Razor Knife (I love the Derma-Safe knife for survival kits)
- 3 or 4 Tea Bags & a couple of Bullion Cubes (these are a huge moral boost)
- I’d add a square of logan bread or a ration bar before heading out
That’s my pocket survival kit. I’d be interesting in hearing how many of you carry something similar and what you have in it.
© 2010, The Desert Dog Journal. All rights reserved.
About the Author: Tucson, AZ Realtor & Investor. My true passions however are hiking and whisky (although generally not at the same time). If you have a question about any of these just drop me a line!