Read a good book this week . . . here's one I helped write . . . S.L.
The types of items you carry in your survival kit will depend directly upon the environment you are operating in. Layer your survival kits; a small kit that can be carried on your body (items in your pockets, pouches fastened to your belt, lanyards around your neck), more items carried in a small backpack (your "bugout bag"), and a larger kit (packed in a rucksack and carried in the back of your vehicle). Keep important items on your body or in your small backpack, with your phone and other devices. For example; GPS, map and compass, and basic life-sustaining items (knife, lighter). Place bulky items in the rucksack, such as a tarpaulin or other shelter, cans of food, a couple gallons of water and perhaps a sleeping bag.
Items in your survival kit(s) should fall into the following categories:
• Water (filtering, purifying, storage & transportation)
• Food (acquisition & preservation)
• Weapon (and/or tool, and/or the means to make primitive weapons or tools)
Each category should contain items that allow you to sustain your basic needs. For example; water - you should have items that allow you to scoop up, draw up, soak up, or suck up water; something to gather rainwater, condensation, or perspiration; something to transport water; and something to purify or filter water. Some examples of each category are as follows:
• Water - collapsible canteens or heavy duty plastic bags for carrying water; purification tablets, bleach or povidone-iodine drops (for purifying water), scarves, small towels or scarves, sponges, small plastic or rubber tubing.
• Fire - lighter, metal match, waterproof matches, magnesium bar, candle, magnifying lens.
• Shelter - parachute line (550 cord), tarpaulin or poncho, space blanket, hammock, mosquito net, wire saw.
• Food - knife, snare wire, fishhooks, fish and snare line, bouillon cubes or soup packets, high energy food bars, granola bars, gill net, aluminum foil, zip-lock bags.
• Medical - oxytetracycline tablets (to treat diarrhea or infection), surgical blades or surgical preparation knife, butterfly sutures, lip balm, safety pins, sutures, antidiarrheal medication (imodium), antimalarials (doxycycline), broad-spectrum antibiotics (rocephin and zithromax) and broad spectrum topical ophthalmic (eye) antibiotic, antifungal, anti-inflammatory (ibuprofen), petrolatum gauze, and soap. Medical items may make up approximately 50 percent of your survival kit and could certainly be the subject of a stand-alone article.
• Signalling - signal mirror, strobe, pen flares, whistle, International Orange scarves or panels, flashlight, laser pointer, solar blanket.
• Weapon and/or tool - and/or the means to make primitive weapons or tools - even a small penknife or multi-tool can fashion primitive weapons or tools from bamboo or branches. Think of frog gigs, clubs, crossbows, or even wooden knives for killing game and preparing meat and hides. Digging tools, bamboo water containers and cookware, and walking sticks are useful tools you can easily make.
• Miscellaneous - compass, needle and thread, money, extra eyeglasses, knife sharpening stone or steel, salt, and survival manual.
Given your circumstances, you might carry a large sheath knife, machete or hatchet. Learn survival techniques in the references at the end of this article. Consider the environment in which you are working or traveling through, then prepare your survival kit(s) with items that are durable, multipurpose, and lightweight.
In preparing your survival kit, select items that are multipurpose, compact, lightweight, durable, and most importantly, functional. An item is not good if it looks great but doesn't do what it was designed for, or breaks after the first use. Items should complement each other from layer to layer. A signal mirror in your pocket can be backed up by pen flares in your personal survival kit, and a signal panel in your bug-out bag. A lighter in your pocket can be augmented by a magnesium bar in your survival kit and additional dry tinder in your bug-out bag.
Survival kits need not be elaborate. You only need functional items that will meet your needs and a container to hold the items. A soap dish, tobacco tin, first aid case, ammunition pouch, or plastic food container might be a suitable case. This case should be waterproof, easy to carry or attach to your body, suitable to accept various-sized components, and durable.
You are only limited by your imagination; indeed, creative thought combined with basic skills can replace many of the items in a kit. Combined with the will to live, it can mean the difference between surviving to return home with dignity or not returning at all.
US Army Field Manual 3-05.70 Survival (formerly FM 21-76)
The SAS Survival Guide by John “Lofty” Wiseman
The Boy Scout Handbook
12 Outdoor Survival Skillsw Every Guy Should Master
5 Basic Survival Skills You Can Practice In Your Backyard Now
Since I retired from active duty I've had my ups and downs and been knocked around a bit in this crazy world . . . nowadays I find myself right back where I started seven years ago - albeit under much better circumstances and for a significant amount more pay. Intelligence + Experience = Wisdom . . . that and a robust network will get you to where you want to go in Life - its working for me . . . cheers -