A survival kit will vary form person to person, it all depends on that individual’s specific needs and knowledge. A very important point to remember is that the moment to learn to use everything in your kit is now, not when you’re in a survival situation and panic may be getting the best of you. When this examiner heads out into the woods there are certain things that go in his pack and without them a dayhike is a no-no.
These articles are obviously important when on an outing, just think, most people who get in trouble and have to end up being rescued are those who tell their spouse, ” Honey, I’m going for a hike, I’ll be back in a few hours” these people know for a fact they’ll be home by dinner time watching their favorite CSI show, they go out ill prepared with not enough water, not leaving vital information with their loved ones, without any way of making fire or purifying water and things go horribly wrong. We’ve created an overpowering dependancy on electronics, things that run on batteries, such as cell phones and GPS devices but as we all know a little rain and your phone is toast and batteries do run out of juice eventually.
The basic kit this examiner carries when in the green consists of: a main fixed blade knife and a backup blade i.e. a swiss army knife. Humans have depended on their cutting tools since the moment they broke that first rock and discovered they could slice through animal hide and meat so much easier, don’t underestimate the importance of a good cutting tool on your belt. A compass, as mentioned before, batteries die, a compass doesn’t have that weakness and just to be sure carry a smaller button compass simply for the reason that two compasses indicating direction is more reassuring than just one, specially in a stressful situation. Learn to use your compass with a map, there are several good books about orienteering and very good videos on the web, take time to learn this most important skill.
A fire making tool, You should have at least 3 ways to start a fire, most people will automatically think about a lighter and that is a good option granted it doesn’t get wet or the fluid evaporates without you having noticed. A ferro rod is always a great option, it will even work when wet. Water proof matches are also good, just be sure you have a striking surface for them. As tinder waxed impregnated cotton balls or the just as effective but a little messier cotton ball smeared with petroleum jelly, they both burn for a good while sometimes up to and beyond 10 minutes, giving you plenty of time to set your kindling and fuel. All these techniques require practice in order to make it as effortless an endeavour as possible.
Considering the rule of 3’s , a person can only last 3 days without water, making a way to transport and purify this precious liquid a top priority, a 32 ounce Nalgene bottle is the minimum that should be carried on a day hike, a metal cup is helpful in the event it should need to be boiled for consumption, a minute in a rolling boil is considered enough to sterilize it. Water purification tablets are also a great asset in your bag.
If push comes to shove and you need to spend the night out, a light source with extra batteries will be worth it’s weight in gold, headlamps have made things so much easier leaving your hands to deal with other things. Signalling devices are also a good idea, a whistle blown 3 times is a recognized sign of distress, a signalling mirror in case of air rescue, even a small air horn is acceptable.
And last but not least the ever humble bandana, yes a bandana, this overgrown handkerchief has a multitude of uses, it can be used as a filter to keep nasty floaties out of the water you’re going to boil, it can be as a hat to protect your head from the sun, wet it and wrap around your neck to help lower your temperature in broiling heat, it can also be used as a sling for an injured arm or for tying a tourniquet or as a basket, or a rescue flag etc etc.
The boy scouts got it right, “Be prepared” listen to and follow that advice and an unpleasant experience need not become a life and death struggle.
Gear up and let’s get out there!