Cheap Survival Kit
If your a person who likes the outdoors, whether it be hiking, camping, mountain climbing, rock climbing, hunting, fishing, etc. I highly recommend that you carry a small personal survival kit on your trips to the outdoors. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, or expensive, or filled with all types of handmade or custom items. But having a few basic essential items will help make an unplanned overnight stay in the wilderness a lot more comfortable and can keep it from escalating into a full blown crisis. Emergency situations can arise from a variety of situations and the bottom line is that you just never know when, where or how something bad could happen. Carrying a small personal survival kit may sound pretty basic and straight forward to some, but to others it may sound a bit overwhelming. Someone who has never used a personal survival kit before may not know where to start or what to put in one. So this post is directed at the Survival Kit beginner. Those people who love the outdoors and spend time in the outdoors, but have no real experience with knowing what belongs in a Survival Kit.
This post will focus on the basics – the absolute bare essentials that will help keep you alive for a few days until you can be either be rescued or effect your own self rescue. The good news is that the most of the items you will need for your “starter” personal survival kit can all be purchased at a pretty reasonable price at your local Wal-Mart, K-Mart or other large department store. The items included in the personal survival kit pictured below can be purchased for under $50.00 and it weighs less than 2 pounds and takes up very little space. As I said before this is just a basic survival kit and you could/should add to it as you are able to do so.
Personal Survival Kit Contents List
A good personal survival kit should try to address the following areas at a MINIMUM:
Personal Protection – Items that will help you keep your core body temp at 98.6 degrees. Typically this will be sometime type of shelter material, an emergency blanket, and fire starting items.
A basic backpackers tarp like the one above is very compact, lightweight and has multiple uses aside from just a shelter. It could be used to as an emergency litter, you could make a hammock from it, strips could be cut from it to use a part of a pressure bandage, you could improvise clothing, use it as a ground cloth, etc. Your imagination is your limit with this piece of equipment.
An emergency blanket is another multi-use item, not only can it be used to warp around you to keep the evening chill off, but it could also help to signal for rescue (in this kit, I don’t include a signal mirror, because this blanket could be used in its place). A portion could also be cut to use as a part of an occlusive bandage in the event of a puncture lung. It could also be used to help reflect sunlight for making a solar oven, or for use while trying to use solar pasteurization for getting water prepared to drink.
Nylon cord – 550 Cord also has tons of uses. Not only for tying up the corners of your shelter, but can be frayed apart as a possible fire starting tinder, or could be used on the bow of a bow and drill fire, the inner cord could be used for fishing line, the possible uses for this piece of equipment are truly endless.
Multi-Tool, I think the name says it all. But was primarily included to use with the fire starter below, as well as just you tons of options.
The fire starter is self explanatory, but you may not have known that the grey magnesium portion is meant to be shaved off into a little pile and then ignited with the spark. The magnesium burns very hot, but also quick, so shave off plenty and have your other tinder and kindling ready to lay on top after its ignited.
Water – Items that will help you to procure water and prepare it for drinking. Typically this will be iodine tablets, chlorine bleach drops, water filter, and some way to carry water. Carrying a stainless steel water bottle would also be good, because then you could just boil your water and you wouldn’t need the iodine tablets.
These Bota bags are not the most high quality, but they hold a liter of water are lightweight and can be packed down to a compact size. There are other lightweight and compact water containers on the market, but you may need to go to a specialty sporting goods store to find them.
Iodine tablets, are good for purifying water. There are also other products that purify water as well. Check the directions to make sure the product you select will purify water sources found in the areas you will be going into.
Signaling and Recovery – Items that will aid in your expedient recovery. Typically this will be a compass, signal mirror, whistle, flares, etc.
Effecting self recovery is one of the best and most reliable methods of getting out of an emergency situation. Having a map of the area you will go to and even a simple button compass like this will allow you to navigate in the general direction of major lines of communication like roads, rivers, train tracks, etc.
A small flash light, just in case the sun goes down before you get back to your vehicle or in case you need to gather fire wood or build a shelter, or flash at rescue to let them know where you are.
The sound of a whistle can go quite a distance in some areas, especially at night. They don’t take much effort but can go a long ways to helping rescue find you.
A small “bear bell” is also another sound based signalling device that could help someone find you. This may redundant if you were perfectly healthy, but if you were injured and couldn’t effectively blow a whistle, you could still strap this to a small stick and rattle it as often as you could. Its obviously also good, if you happen to travel in bear country.
All of this stuff can be stuffed into this a very small, light weight bag/pack like the one pictured above. Its not super fashionable, but having a personal survival kit like this one could save your life.
Most people in most situations probably don’t venture far off into the remote wilderness, and as such you really don’t need to worry about food, although you could throw in a couple of granola bars or other energy bars for additional calories if you wanted. Also not pictured above are just some very basic first aid supplies. A few 4×4 gauze pads, a roll or two of gauze and some medical tape, would suffice.
I recognize that the items in this personal survival kit, are basic and not of the highest quality available, but my opinion is that the items here are functional enough to do their job for most wilderness survival situations, which typically last less than three days. Obviously, if you venture deep into the woods in highly remote areas for extended periods, you would or should have a back pack full of items that will help to keep you alive. But if you only take occasional trips into the outdoors and never stray too far from civilization a small personal survival kit like this will serve you just fine in an emergency situation and it all costs less than fifty bucks at your local Wal-mart.
If you are interested in purchasing a pre-packaged personal survival kit consider taking a look at http://www.equipped.com/prsnlkit.htm which will give you an evaluation of several different personal survival kits that are on the market today.
What items not listed above do you carry in your personal survival kit?
For a look at two different survival kits take a look at the links below:
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