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Wilderness Survival Kit

In a previous article (Altoids Survival Kit) I talked about making your own ultra-compact survival kit.  In this article, I will talk about creating a slightly larger survival bag that contains additional items that will compliments the original kit. 

If you're lost out in the woods, having the right items on you will make it easier for you to survive, and assisting others in finding you.  Although, without knowledge on what to do (e.g. survival skills) and how to use the tools that you have with you properly they can be next to useless. 

For example, you can have wire in your kit for creating an animal snare or fishing line to catch a fish.  But if you don't know how to use these items properly they can be useless.  Unique skills are required for the different environments you're going to be traveling in.  For example skills that are required for traveling in the desert are different then those required for traveling in the mountains during the winter.

Every survival kit needs items from the following categories included in it:
  • Fire and Light (e.g. matches, disposable lighter, etc.) - For creating a fire for warmth, cooking food, or finding your way around at night.
  • Knives and Tools (e.g. saw, trowel, etc.) - Tools for fixing things, gutting an animal for food, or for personal protection.
  • Signaling (e.g. signal mirror, whistle, etc.) - If you're lost and people are looking for you, the easier you make it for them the faster they will find you.
  • Navigation (e.g. compass, maps, etc.) - Maps and compasses can help you find where you're at, so you know which way to go to get out.
  • Shelter (e.g. survival blanket, poncho, etc.) - The temperature and weather conditions of where your at will determine the type of shelter you need.
  • First Aid (e.g. bandages, antibiotics, etc.) - Have some supplies and treatments can help prevent wounds from getting infected, and creating more problems.
  • Multipurpose (e.g.  aluminum foil, duct tape, etc.) - These are items that can serve multiple roles,  for example duct tape can be used for repairing clothing or closing an open wound.
  • Water and Food (e.g. water purification tablets, snare wire, etc.) - Bring anything you can that help you stay alive for as long as possible until you're found or find your way out.

For the survival bag, you will need some type of pouch you can use hold your equipment and your supplies.  The hard part will be finding one that will meet all your needs.  You might have to do a lot of experimenting.  Think of creating the right survival bag has a journey and not a destination. 

Below is a list of items that you should consider carrying with you or including in your poutch that you're using for your gear.

  • Space Blanket - Can be used as a small shelter or to keep you warm in cold weather
  • Multi-tool - Like a knife, it has a million use.
  • For example: SwissTech Micro-Max® 19-in-1
  • Pocket Tissue - For use as toilet paper.
  • Pocket Knife - Has a million uses, from cutting rope, to scraping magnesium or sparking flint, to gutting an animal
  • Pocket Knife, Meritline, SKU 188-421-001
  • Rain poncho - Obviously useful for keeping the rain off of you.
  • Signal Mirror - The easiest way to use a signal mirror with or without a peep hole is to; (a) extend one arm out, (b) form a "V" with two of your fingers, (c) place the target you want to signal between these two fingers, and (d) reflect the sunlight first onto your arm and then up through the "V" and the reflected sunlight should be seen by the target.  
  • Bandanna - Can be used for keeping the sun off your head, to filtering small particles from a water source before you purify it.
  • Garbage bags - Can be used as a poncho or taped together to make a shelter.
  • Tip: The thicker the plastic, it is generally measured in "mils" (recommended is 4 mils if you can find it).
  • Frontier water filter - A small straw-type filter that lets you drink directly from a water source (such as a stream or lake). 
  • Food - Protein bars, bouillon packets (mostly just a conform food, if there is nothing else), MREs, etc.
  • Flint & Steel fire starter - Can be used for lighting a fire.
  • Tip: At night it may come in handy as a signal.  When you strike the flint, it generates a bright light for a few seconds.
  • Warning: be careful using this tip, and don't accidentally ignite any nearby dry brush.
  • Paracord - Paracord is a strong cord that can be used for creating a shelter if you have a plastic tarp, tying-up your food in a tree, etc.  It can also be separated into seven strong lines for making nets and snares, as fishing line, etc.  
  • Fire Starter - Jute twine is very flammable when unwound into the basic threads.  It can also easily be acquired at just about any hardware store.
  • Tin Foil - Can be used used for creating a pot to boil water.
  • Needle, Thread, Extra Material - Can be used for making repairs to clothing and equipment made from cloth.
  • Sun Block (small bottle) - In you're going to be in the sun, this will be an essential item to have with you.
  • Tip: You can buy a small bottle that are very light to carry in the travel sections of most stores.

  • Wearable Survival Gear
    By wearing some of your gear it doesn't use up space in your survival kit.
    • Paracord bracelet - Paracord is a strong cord that can be used for creating a shelter if you have a plastic tarp, tying-up your food in a tree, etc.  It can also be separated into seven strong lines for making nets and snares, as fishing line, etc.  
      • Tip: There are several videos online how to make one yourself by tying together paracord (article).
    • Watch - Lets you plan how much sun might have to built a shelter, collect food and water, etc