WHY THIS KIT IS SO CHEAP. UNDER $4:
Here's a list of all the $$$ I spent on the kit. Depending on what modifications you make and what you have lying around the house, it could even be free. If it's not listed, I already had it or got it for free.
Mini Bic - 99 cents. I have to admit, I was pretty lucky in convincing the guy to sell this to me. No, I don't smoke. Never will
Thread Bobbin - 25 cents
Zippo Tinder Stick - 61 cents
FireSteel - 89 cents.
FireSteel Striker - found in my garage if you were wondering. That place is a gold mine.
Produce Bag - "borrowed" from local Jewel - Osco
Salt - "borrowed" from local restaurant
Earplugs - 43 cents for the pair.
Razor Blade - 29 cents
Wire Saw - 89 cents
Comes out to well under $5 if my math is right. Plus, most people probably have a Razor Blade and can use cotton for the tinder stick. Now, it's under $4.
Step 1: Kit MVP - the Ranger Band
This thing is one of the greatest discoveries I have made during my time constructing this kit. It's made from a section of old inner tube tire. Come on - we all have an old bike tube stashed away in our garage. Just cut a section off using a razor blade or some scissors. They are easily over 5 times stronger than a rubber band, and it greatly helps to keep this kit shut. The ranger band can also be used as tinder in a pinch. It burns for at least a few minutes - best used cut up into small strips using the razor blade.
Step 2: Inside the Kit
Step 3: Part One - Fire
1 Firesteel - Pretty self explanatory. A backup in the case my trusty Mini-Bic does fail me.
1 Fishing Line Spool - This is in the fire section because of the tiny bit of cotton tinder inside the hole in the bobbin. See it?
1 Zippo Tinder Stick - A compact way of storing tinder. Used as the bottom level of tinder. Just fluff up and light with either the Mini-Bic or a spark from the Firesteel.
1 Wire Saw - Experts disagree on their usefulness, so make your own choice here. It takes up a decent amount of space, but can be invaluable in the construction of a shelter. Also, it can be used to cut down larger pieces from firewood.
You can include waterproof matches, but I think those are unnecessary. The Firesteel and Mini-Bic have nearly unlimited uses, and although bigger than the matches, are much more reliable. The Firesteel will work just about forever, and the Mini-Bic can be used as a sparking device if the fuel does run out.
Step 4: Part Two - Shelter
1 Paperclip - Can be used to hold glue sticks to glue something, among many other uses which will be revealed if you are ever in a survival situation.
1 Battery Terminal - Another MacGyver tool. Who knows when this thing will come in handy - it's here because it fit in a tiny corner.
2 Glue Sticks - Can be used to glue stuff. Duh. Cut into 2 pieces because it fit better. Also, in case I screw up, I get a second chance.
20 lb. Fishing Line - You can use it for fishing with the hooks. Also, screw the screw eyes into 2 trees and tie on the holes to assist in the construction of a shelter. Be careful - 20 pounds supports less sticks than you think. Try leaning the sticks against each other instead of on the line as you progress in building your shelter.
2 Screw Eyes - Use in conjunction with the fishing line to make a shelter. Again, many other uses.
3 Nails - Can be used to build a snare, among other things. Another MacGyver tool.
2 Swivels - Hold up to 35 pounds. Can be used in making a shelter, for fishing, keeping things attached, etc.
1 Key Ring - Takes up almost 0 space. I guess you could make a necklace with the fishing line or use as a lanyard.
1 Produce Bag - Can be used to make a [small] roof. It's the kind you put veggies in at Walmart/Target. It fits inside a milkshake straw quite nicely.
1 Straw - Can be used as tinder once the bag is taken out. After you use the bag, it's not going back in. Period.
Step 5: Part Three - Food
20 lb. Fishing Line - For Fishing. Duh!
5 Fishing Hooks - Found these around the house. I put 5 because they are small and can be used to set up multiple bait stations. Plus, one is shiny to attract fish.
1 Aluminum Foil - About 2 square feet. Can be used to purify water by boiling, or cook any fish and game I may catch. That black thing is a bit of tape to hold it together.
2 Earplugs - Mostly used for their intended purpose, but in a pinch, pieces can be sliced off and used as a colorful bait. They compress down thinner than the GearTie very easily.
1 Gear Tie - Can be used to hold things to other things, to make snares, among other uses. Basically, it's a metal rubber band.
2 Salt Packets - More of a convenience than a necessity. Makes that smelly, bloody, fish you filleted with a fingernail halfway edible. Plus, it's got Iodine, so I guess it's a last resort for water purification if you screw up the tin foil.
1 Toothpick - Surprisingly enough, this thing is pretty good at picking teeth.
Step 6: Part Four - First Aid
2 Large BandAids - Duh. Bandaids.
2 Small BandAids - See above.
2 Alcohol Prep Pads - to clean wounds. Duh. They prep stuff. Like, with Alcohol.
1 Q-Tip - For cleansing wounds. Can make the Alcohol Pads last a bit longer if you just dab on some alcohol instead of using up the whole pad. I guess if you're really starving, you could eat your earwax. Hey, at least it's got some flavor in it.
1 Razor Blade - Can be used as a last resort medical aid. Yuck.
1 Coffee Filter - To get the larger crud bits out of water. Can also be used as gauze or as a last resort face mask if there is a lot of dust. 9/11, anyone??
4 Ibuprofen - Load up on these if you need to make it somewhere without the pain, or for a bad headache. Hopefully you don't need these for an amputation.
2 Glue Sticks - So you don't need to sew yourself back up from a medium sized wound. Just drip the glue on your wound. Basically, a liquid bandaid.
1 Fishing Hook - Emergency stiches. The glue will work better and be much less painful, assuming you haven't used it yet.
Step 7: Part 5 - Rescue
1 Mini Pencil - Used to leave notes on the paper, or a last will. Yikes.
1/2 Sheet Computer Paper - Goes along with the pencil.
1 Mini-Bic Lighter - Start a signal fire.
1 Zippo Tinder Stick - To get your signal fire started.
1 Firesteel - Again, to get your signal fire started.
1 Wire Saw - To gather larger pieces of firewood so that you can sustain your signal fire.
Step 8: Packing Your Items
Step 9: Finished!
Please make sure to leave your modifications in the comment section. They'll be extremely useful to me and everyone else in making our kits as effective as possible.
EDIT: I put my kit underneath something heavy, such as a bag of dog food, overnight. This way, it can "smoosh" down the components to keep them as compact as possible.
Until Next Time,