Survival 101 > Survival Kits

What Do YOU Carry?

According to Search and Rescue statistics, the quickest killer in the outdoors is Exposure. This is the cause of either Hypothermia or Hyperthermia. These conditions arise from rapid weather change, dehydration, extreme heat or cold and exhaustion. The ability to adequately address these conditions in an emergency is vital.
To meet these unexpected challenges, all outdoorsmen should prepare both physically and mentally. Physical preparation should begin with assembling or purchasing a survival kit. These kits should meet the following: 
  • Capacity to meet various environments and seasons.
  • Lightweight and dependable.
  • Portable, convenient to carry.
  • Waterproof and durable.
  • Multiuse, high quality ingredients.
  • Multiple signaling and fire starting tools.
  • Effectively addresses survival priorities, Rule of 3’s.
  • Provide INSTANT shelter and fire.
  • Contain water collection and treatment items.
  • Form of INSTANT energy.
  • Field-tested.
  • Affordable.
All survival kits should adequately address “real” survival priorities in an emergency. To discover these “real” priorities, a clear understanding of the survival “Rule of 3’s” is essential.
Rule of 3’s:
No matter what environments you find yourself in, all humans require basic survival needs, the “Rule of 3’s” is a simple formula to help you understand and rank those needs. This simple “rule”, creates a Baseline, on which a solid foundation of all survival skills should be built.  The survival “Rule of 3’s”:     
You can survive…     
minutes without: Breath. Ventilate any enclosure and beware of carbon dioxide. Perform first aid: ABC’s.
hours without: Warmth or Shelter. Exposure is the quickest killer in the outdoors. Your Core body temperature of 98.6° F must be preserved at all cost. Leading causes of Exposure include; cold, fatigue, wetness and the most common, an ill-prepared victim. Your clothing is your primary shelter and first line of defense; use the V.I.P. layering system to dress suitably for your environment. 
days without: Water or Rest. It is estimated the human body is comprised of 70% water, a mere 10% drop in hydration, could produce life threatening affects. In general, your body needs, 1 gallon of water a day for day-to-day function. Remember: Conserve sweat NOT water! Clear urine is a sure sign of hydration.
Rest; without adequate periods of rest & sleep, the human body can succumb to fatigue which makes one more susceptible to exposure and shock.
weeks without: Food. Most healthy Americans carry enough stored calories around their waistline tolast much longer.
seconds without: Hope, a Positive Mental Attitude, and a rapid reaction time needed to respond to a life threatening situation.
These "Rules" may change according to environment and time frames should not be taken to their duration. As stated above, these priorities may fluctuate with differing extremes and situations. Adjust accordingly, the life lost may be your own!
Your Kit:
The following list of kit recommendations not only reflect the “Rule of 3’s”, but are presented in a progressive three level system. The highest level (#3) providesthe greatest degree of comfort and emergency preparation, while level #1 provides the bare necessities. Each level builds upon the next, and as your skill level progresses, fewer and fewer itemsmay need to be carried. Even the skilled survivor, however, should always carry a “Bare Bones” kit.
Bare Bones Survival Kit:(Level #1, small). This simple kit is meant to fit into a cargo pocket, tackle box or jacket. Its purpose is to help you get through an unexpected night out while carrying the bare minimum essentials.
  • Fire:Magnesium/Ferrocerium fire starting tool with emergency tinder.
  • Shelter:Emergency poncho, bivy bag or 55 gallon trash bag.
  • Water:bottle, canteen or zip-lock freezer bag with purification tablets.
  • Rescue:Plastic “pea-less” signal whistle.
  • ToolsLocking or fixed blade knife & brightly colored bandana.
Pocket Survival Kit:(Level #2, medium). This kit looks much like the “Bare Bones Kit” (Level #1) however; it includes multiple tools for addressing your greatest needs: fire, shelter and rescue. This redundancy adds another Layer of protection to your gear options. These “extras” can make a crisis a bit more bearable.
  • Fire:Magnesium/Ferrocerium fire starting tool, wind/waterproof matches, Spark-lite, windproof lighter, Fire-steel.
  • Tinder:Quik Tinder, Vaseline soaked cotton balls, pitch wood, steel wool, Fastfire cube, paper or dryer lint.
  • Shelter:Pocket shelter, Bivy Bag, 55 gal. Trash bag, Emergency poncho, Space bag.
  • Water:Poly Bottle, canteen, freezer bag, roll-up water bag, purification tablets, metal cup or tin to boil.
  • Rescue:Pea-less signal whistle, signal mirror (glass if possible), orange surveyors tape, bright colored bandana. 
  • First Aid:small pocket size kit, built to address scrapes and cuts, blisters, basic meds to address; fever, stomach ailments, allergies and dehydration. Tailor to meet the skill level and training of the carrier.
  • Tools:Duct tape, 550 Para-cord (50 ft.), back-up lock blade pocket knife or multi-tool, LED flashlight or headlamp, button compass. 
Day Pack Kit:(Level #3, large). This comprehensive level contains items that some would consider as ultra-light camping or wilderness living gear. This level offers the highest degree of “comfort” gear, next to carrying an entire backpacking outfit.
  • Fire:Magnesium/Ferrocerium fire starting tool, wind/waterproof matches, Spark-lite, windproof lighter, Fire-steel, Flint & Steel, 9 v battery, Fresnel magnifying glass.
  • Tinder:Quik Tinder, Vaseline soaked cotton balls, pitch wood, steel wool, Fastfire cube, paper or dryer lint.
  • Shelter:Tarp, sleeping bag w/ bivy sack, 1 person tent, poncho, bag liner, survival bag, tube tent, extra clothing, beanie and leather gloves.
  • Water:Hydration pack, water bottles (metal or plastic), purification tablets, water filter, “Billy” can or tea kettle, transpiration kit.
  • Rescue:Pea-less signal whistle, signal mirror (glass if possible), orange surveyors tape, bright colored bandana, flares, smoke signals, Personal Locator Beacon.
  • First Aid:Larger, comprehensive kit designed for trips lasting up to a week, and small group size.
  • Tools:Duct tape, 550 Para-cord (100 ft.), Zip Ties (25), lock/fixed blade pocket knife or multi-tool, Pocket Chainsaw, LED flashlight or headlamp, base plate compass and map, paper and pencil, fishing kit, snare wire, comfort items. 



All Materials contained in this web site are protected under Copyright and Trademark laws and may not be used for any purpose whatsoever other than private, non-commercial purposes. Unauthorized use of text, artwork and photos, without written consent, are expressly prohibited.
Copyright 2000-2011 Header Image: Stefan Cloo used under CC License. All rights reserved.