Introduction: Bushcraft, Survival Kit for Extended Durations - Part 1 - Life Support Vest

Picture of Bushcraft, Survival Kit for Extended Durations - Part 1 - Life Support Vest

This is not an EDC, BOB or anything else the elitists would put a name on. I decided to make an instructable on the kit I use out in the woods. I like the outdoors and use this quite a bit. It's always being improved and I wanted to post it up here and see what others may think of it. I have my own personal methods / needs out in the bush and they've kept me alive out in the middle of nowhere for extended camping expeditions. When I say camping.. I mean taking just this kit and my wits with me into the woods where no one can hear me and having a good time surviving off the land. This kit could be modified to serve many purposes but I'll explain everything in this review for those who are wanting to get started as well as those who already have but are looking for new ideas. I will not be showing off firearms here as I don't want to start any related discussions on what/why I carry. Just know it's for self defense and not for harming myself or others. In this instructable I'll be going over the vest on the right. The breakdown of my pack is coming soon. The vest is set up so that if I happen to lose my pack.. I will be ok still. The pack is for comfort, the vest is for absolute needs. Lets get to it then.

As a sidenote.. I have a very important personal rule. "I'd rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it."

As I add things and take stuff out, I'll do my best to keep this updated for yall. - 04 APR 2014

Amendments Section added as final step of this instructable. - 09 APR 2014

Step 1: Left Side

Picture of Left Side

The left side of my vest is dedicated to ammo. You can assume I'm packing AR15 mags in these but I assure you.. Many types of mags will work in these army issue double mag pouches.

As you can see in the pictures

x4 Double Mag Pouches. Holds Ammo

x2 Pistol Mag Pouches. Holds Ammo. (Adding 2 more in the future.)

x1 Frag Grenade Pouch. Holds 1 military tourniquet.

Lets talk ammo for a moment. This kit is geared towards a long stay in the woods. NOT for taking into battle. (I guess you could.. but I don't recommend trying to be Rambo with this in a SHTF situation.) If you're out in the bush for awhile.. a couple weapons can really help you in many ways.

1. Hunting.

2. Hunting.

3. Hunting.

4. Self Defense From The Local Wildlife.

80 rounds of rifle ammo may sound extreme.. But if you're out in the bush and aren't having any luck foraging or fishing.. You may need all the meat you can get. 80 kills seems like a lot. But if you're really in the bush you need to conserve it. Take larger animals only, if you have a choice. Deer, turkey, bear, bigfoot.. In my area that's what is available. hehe..

Bag your mags. Like I said.. we're not looking for a firefight.. This ammo would last me years in the bush. So I bag them to keep the ammo dry and free of corrosion. Nothing like having a nice rifle with no ammo due to your own negligence right?

Tourniquet. Think about it.. You fall. You take a stick through the back of your calf. You're bleeding pretty good. You're gunna need some stitches once you set up camp. How are you gunna stop the bleeding long enough to clean up the wound, stitch it and dress it? With THIS. Carry one. Have easy access to it with BOTH hands in case one of your arms is the issue.

Step 2: Left Drop Leg.

Picture of Left Drop Leg.

My left dropleg is dedicated to food and water sustainment. I spent several hours making the main pouch that attached to the thigh rig I found at a flea market. Then attached some PVC pipes to keep my stuff dry. As you've seen so far.. I don't like my stuff getting wet. Any step I can take to prevent water damage is a good step. Everything here is very modular to give easy access to the things you need at the time without having to unpack the whole kit. The less time I spend fumbling around for the right tool.. the more time I can spend relaxing and regaining energy spent doing other things. It also helps morale. Have you ever drove yourself mad looking for your car keys? You don't want that issue out in the bush. Keep things where you can find them.

Large spool of fishing line. Custom spool made of plastic cut out circles and a plastic pen for the bar. super glued.

Fishing sinkers. Small sinkers inside paracord. Larger Sinkers on outside of paracord.

Fishing Hooks. Inside plastic cord stays. The ones that you press on and the hole gets bigger for a cord to pass through.

Small Roll of Duct Tape. Wrapped around a piece of a q tip.

Cotton Swabs

Spices. Salt and Pepper inside drinking straws to help keep moisture out.

Flashlight. It's not for everyday use. Just for when I drop something in the dark.

Water filter. 4 chambered custom filter. layers = Polyurethane Cotton. Large Gravel. Small Gravel. Sand.

Step 3: Extra Tools.

Picture of Extra Tools.

This section is about some optional tools to think about.


Fixed blade knife.

Belt Cutter.

Lets talk pistol first.

In case you dont like firearms.. Just skip this section. I wont force my political views on you. Don't force yours on me. Thanks.

Mine is attached to a drop leg system as you can see. When my right hand is hanging naturaly it sits right on the handle perfectly so I can quickly draw my weapon if I need it. Why would I need it? Picture this.. You're building a campfire.. getting out the food you're about to cook. And hear a snap of a twig in the distance. You look around and see a bear coming in to take your meal from you. What are you gunna do? Sure you try a mexican standoff with him.. or ball up on the ground lol.. but if that doesn't work.. you cant outrun him. Your hunting rifle is out of reach. Time for your sidearm in this worst case scenario. I don't condone shooting animals for no reason. If I kill something I'm either eating it or keeping it from eating me. Carry a large caliber. Not a 9mm.

Fixed blade knife.

I've come to love the knife in the picture. It really has been a love/hate relationship. I reshaped the blade on it. It used to not be a tanto style blade. I was in the military when I reshaped it for combat use though. The handle fitis very nice in my hand, the metal is decent.. but the blade is very thick and can take a beating. Holds an edge over several skinnings. Don't goto BudK for your knife. Find one that really fits you and does what you need it to. Your fixed blade will see a lot more use than your firearm ever will.

Belt cutter.

Another love/hate relationship that I developed with a tool in Iraq. This little guy has so many uses. From Cutting paracord to skinning animals to cutting.. you guessed it.. Seatbelts hehe

Step 4: Weapon Cleaning Kit

Picture of Weapon Cleaning Kit

This is a kit I put together to suit the firearms I carry.

CLP. Cleaner, Lubricant, Preventative. For helping you clean out the nasties.

Oil. Prevents rust.

Bore Snakes. Instead of push rods. These take up less space and work better IMO.

Punches. I carry only the ones I would need to perform a full breakdown of my rifle and sidearm as needed.

Brass brush. I just grabbed a bore brush for a caliber I dont have in my collection to use in my kit. This will help remove grime and rust.

Hand Saw. I'm guilty. Wasn't sure where to put this yet so it ended up in my cleaning kit.

It's not in the picture.. But I also have a microfiber rag in this kit.

I think this kit is pretty much self explained. Carry what you need to perform maintenance on your firearms out in the bush. If you're gunna have firearms out there.. have a way to clean them or you wont have them for long.

Step 5: Basic Medical Pouch

Picture of Basic Medical Pouch

By Basic.. I mean bare essentials. There's a lot more medical stuff in my pack. But this it what I find most useful on the spot. I wont be going into grave detail on how to use each thing. But with proper training this stuff goes much further than a bandaid in dire situations.

Ziplocks. Many uses.

Wound Seal. This's for just in case you have a very bad situation... like accidentally shooting yourself. This could help in some situations.. but you're probly a goner out in the wild if that happens.. Dont be stupid.

Medical Tape. It's like duct tape.. for your skin.

Pressure Bandage. If you need a lot of pressure to stop the bleeding.. This is the answer. (Dont use it on your neck plz) lolz

Combat gauze. Contains quick clot. It's a powder than makes your would clot up faster. Washes off with water. Best used for extreme puncture wounds in an emergency.

Suture Kit. Lets face it. If you get a nasty cut.. you're gunna use this on yourself whether you like it or not. Do yourself a favor before getting this though. Learn how to use it before you need it!

Nasal Pharyngeal. I carry this.. Because it was in my kit in Iraq honestly. I cant think of many reasons to have it other than opening an airway to breath if you eat something you're allergic to and didnt know. You're probably still dead.. but it's a possibility.

Gloves. Have at least 2 pair. You're out in the woods.. your hands are dirty.. You dont want infections. Use these as needed.

It's not shown here.. But I have a bottle of Iodine for cleaning wounds.

This kit is a work in progress. It's been really hard for me to get out of my soldier mentality on this part. I know what I needed in Iraq and how to use each piece. I can save lives with these tools. Do the research. Learn to use every medical device you can fit into your kit. Hell.. If you know a thing about dental work.. I'd suggest having some teeth pullers lol.. this stuff can really extend your life expectancy out in the bush.

Things to consider adding to this that I haven't yet.

Painkillers. (not morphine.. geez.. you druggies lol)


Bandaids. (I have a crap ton in my pack.. i'm honestly not sure why I never put any in this)

Toothbrush. (I'm torn between putting mine in here or leaving it in my pack)

Step 6: Another Sustainment Pouch.

Picture of Another Sustainment Pouch.

x1 US Army Issue, 1 QT Canteen.

x2 Firesteels.

x3 Bic Lighters. (Only One Shown)

The Canteen is just an easy way to pick up the water to boil it after filtering. My pack has a large camelback bladder in it to store clean water. I'd like to get a matching metal cup. My water flow would go like this..

Dirty Water in plastic canteen > Poured through filter > Emptied into metal canteen > Metal canteen is boiled > Poured into camelback bladded once cooled.

I have 2 small firesteels. One had a magnesium block attached to it (was made in china so i removed it). The other was from a "sparkie." I removed it from its prison as well. Wrapped one side in duct tape for grip. Works Great.

Sometimes.. a firesteel will take awhile to get your fire lit. And for that, I carry 3 bic lighters for emergency. You only need a couple seconds of fire from them. Bics are pretty rugged, can get wet and last a long time. So I carry a few of them. I can start a fire with a steel no problem.. but sometimes Im tired or lazy and just want a feckn fire!

Step 7: The Stuff Pouch

Picture of The Stuff Pouch

It is what it sez.





Survival Straw.

Poison Ivy Itch Spray.

This pouch is for the extra tools and useful stuff I find. I'd like to add a tinder box. Probly an altoids tin. Lets get to into what I've got sofar.

The scissors I have are pretty sturdy. You never know when you're gunna need to cut something. A good pair of scissors like mine can even cut a penny in half. Once they dull down they come apart for resharpening. Also has a bottle opener and flat screwdriver tip for various uses.

I wrapped up about 200ft of paracord. I'm not going to get into how useful this stuff is. But just know that the more you have the better off you'll be. The doughnut I made is very easy to get any length you need from. Just grab the end and pull. It's a quick release. But very time consuming to put back together.

I have a headlamp that runs off of a single 3v battery. I have more batteries in my pack for it. It's not for everyday use. Just in case my other flashlight breaks.. or I need to skin an animal in the dark.. I have this. It has several settings for light. Including Soft White, Bright White, Red, SOS signal and a Dazzle effect (which is quite annoying if you look at it directly)

The notebook and pencil.. well.. You never know when you wanna write something down.. From what degree you're traveling to some brainstormed idea that you don't want to forget.

Having a survival straw is not a long term fix for clean water.. In fact it's a pretty bad idea since you skip boiling after filtering. I keep this for dire emergencies. I've never had to use it and I dont plan to. But as my favorite rule applies.. I'd rather have it and not need it.

I'm the type of person that can stand downwind from poison ivy and break out. So i have an itch spray. You may not need this.. But I really do.

Step 8: A Few More Tools

Picture of A Few More Tools

Lensatic Compass.

Distance Counter.


If you don't know how to use a compass like this, go look it up right now. This thing is awesome but is only as reliable as the person using it. Get the real one though, not the plastic look a likes being made in china. While you're at it you will probably come across something people like to call "Ranger Beads" lol.. I just use a piece of paracord with sever paracord knots tied to it that slide up and down. Every 100 or 1000 meters you travel you can slide up a bead/knot. Helps you count how far you've traveled on foot.

Multitool. People have mixed experiences with these. I broke 5 of the Gerber ones that were issued to me in the military doing basic stuff. Maybe I'm hard on my tools? I don't know.. But what I do know is that I've never broken my SOG or Leatherman. This is a must have for any outdoorsman/woman. The uses are unlimited.

Step 9: Conclusion

Picture of Conclusion

So there it is. My vest. This was my first Instructable but I hope you enjoyed the tour as basic as it was. If you have any questions or comments I'm always looking for suggestions and constructive criticism. Just know that I'm not the least bit interested in having a discussion about firearms/safety/religion/politics. I made this instructable assuming children will get supervision and adults will be adults. Like I said before, If you liked this enough to wanna see what's in my pack just let me know. It's fun.

Thanks for reading and happy bushcrafting motherfuckers!!! :D

Step 10: Amendments

Picture of Amendments

1. Fire Starter Tin added to the Stuff Pouch.


Survivorkidjr (author)2014-04-04

Very good. Spent you time. What about a sleeping kit?maybe some jute twine too?

Rkaynjehll (author)Survivorkidjr2014-04-04

It's in my pack separate from this vest. Havent documented my pack yet tho. The sleep system sofar consists of a poncho liner.. pathetic I know. But I'm making a hammock out of paracord that's pretty sturdy and can hold probly around 600 lbs depending on what you tie it to. Jute twine? for tieing things off? I have around 200ft of paracord in the vest. And another 1000 ft in my pack.Thx for the look tho. I hope this helped you get some ideas for your setup

KROSSRLSH777 (author)Rkaynjehll2017-11-12

Hi I was browsing 3 gun competitive belts on Google and came across your picture.

I have a few questions.


I wanted to know what the name and brand of this backpack was and the name and brand of chest rig next to it was .

(Nice camo by the way)

2)what Paracord for survival can you recommend for some one getting into this stuff.


And what places are nice to got and visit the wild and wilderness to to do this stuff in?

brennus.fogarty-pryor (author)2017-05-20

what vest did you use/where can I get myself one

4WantofaNail (author)2015-09-19

hey mate. Great ible. When can we look forward to part 2?

Rkaynjehll (author)4WantofaNail2016-01-26

Sorry I haven't uploaded a parts 2. Right after creating this I ran into a huge financial shitstorm. My kit is all packed up in a storage container about 1500 miles away from where I live now. Unfortunately I don't see that changing any time soon either.

kielmj (author)2015-05-07

Looks great! Very thorough and well thought-out. I'm jealous.

Rkaynjehll (author)kielmj2016-01-26

Thank you.

wolf112 (author)2014-12-07

Add a sling the weapon. And a handkerchief.

Rkaynjehll (author)wolf1122016-01-26

There's a microfiber rag in my cleaning kit. Slings on your weapon are optional and highly opinionated by most. I use a 3 point sling on my rifle. Others may only need a 2 point.. while COD fanboys will likely go for a single point because their favorite game character used one.. lol

ballread (author)2014-05-06

Did you do your a own camo on your pack I'd love to see a video if so on how too

Rkaynjehll (author)ballread2016-01-26

I did not do the camo on the pack, no. I did it on the vest and parts.

kward13 (author)ballread2014-10-23

I agree, that camo is beautiful. I would love to know how so I can put it on a few of my items.

Rkaynjehll (author)ballread2014-05-15

Yes I did. I call it Rattlesnake Camo lol.. It's really a hackjob with a bunch of krylon spraypaint. I have a few things to paint soon. I record it and post it for you. Thanks for your interest :)

Fishyfish123 (author)2014-04-15

Dude don't swear there are kids here

Thank you for your service

Rkaynjehll (author)Fishyfish1232016-01-26

I'm not here for kids. Sorry.

Mattakers (author)2014-05-17

I really like it!! I have one question though. Can you wear the vest and pack at the same time?

Rkaynjehll (author)Mattakers2016-01-26

Yes, I do. For about 10 miles per day over easy terrain. 3 over rough.

Bittermann (author)2015-09-16

Dig it.

gaieb (author)2015-05-31

In place of the jute cord,(most of it anyway) get what is called bank line, it is rated at 150 to 250# test, smaller than most jute so you can carry more, get the kind that is covered with a tar type substance and it will hold a knot forever, It also burns better if needed for starting a fire. The kind they sell at the local wall mart is not coated, less mess but won't hold a knot as well. I use a one liter water bottle instead of the canteens, two stainless steel lighter than the plastic canteen and both can be used for boiling water. I also carry the old WWII steel canteen with the steel cup. I use the cup most of the time for boiling water and soup. takes up little space, I don't have a water pack so the three water bottles serve me well, I don't venture that far from water so I can resupply. I use the round cotton makeup wipes to make my char cloth, I have also made some from cotton clothesline can't say which I like best, both have plus and minuses, All in all you have more than I carry. I use a painters cotton tarp for shelter. Living in the Philippines, no need for a sleeping bag, just a bug net and a sheet. You might consider a snake bite kit also.

yourpracticalprepper (author)2014-04-06

Great list although I think you can add some things that will take the place if others (duel purpose) such as doing away with the tourniquet and homemade filter and instead add just a simple handkerchief that works for both I also like packing cotton balls soaked with triple antibiotic ointment that work as medical kit and great fire starters

I enjoy a good critique. Thanks. But I just cant agree with replacing my
water filter. I am however working on a smaller version using other
materials. Also cant see using the handkerchief in place of a full
fledged tourniquet because of experiences I had in the military. If you
suffer a wound, that needs one, on your leg. It takes a lot of pressure to stop it. Not to mention the tourniquet I carry is easily operable with one hand in case my other hand is the issue. I am however adding some pertoleum soaked cotton balls to this vest. I thought I'd added them already but as you've pointed out.. I've made a mistake. Thx again :)

Survivorkidjr (author)2014-04-06

Does anyone have any good dehydrator meals for survival or bushcraft? Long shelf life

Survivorkidjr (author)2014-04-06

Thanks for you service too. It is much appreciated

mholcomb1 (author)2014-04-05

I really like your Instructable! To me, yours holds more weight in knowledge since you are military. Would love to see more 'ibles especially geared towards those of us who were not able to get the training you did. Thank you for your service :)

lego man invents (author)2014-04-04

what caliber do you suggest

I suggest the caliber that works best for the environment you plan to use it in. Consider the following - Is it your only firearm? If so, what do you need it to do? Are there bears in the area? If so.. go large and use a rifle if you have the choice. A .308 at the very least I'd say. if you can get a 30-06 that'd be even better. Usualy bear are alone (unless theres cubs) so a scoped hunting rifle would do nicely. Are there wolves and/or coyotes? These are generally pack hunters. A bolt action rifle may not be as helpful as a semi-auto. If there are coyotes and wolves.. that sort of area will likely have mountain lions and bear as well.. so again, the .308 and up will do. I've been a fan of several calibers. But it's all just based off experience and my own opinions. You really have to know your firearm before you trust it to save your life in a kit like this. I built my rifle and selected my sidearm through quite a few choices. I ended up with a .308 semi-auto rifle and a .45 pistol.

Survivorkidjr (author)2014-04-04

Yes a fire steel lights it up good. Punch a hole it the to in case you want to make char cloth...

Rkaynjehll (author)Survivorkidjr2014-04-04

Good idea. I will do that, thx :)

discostu956 (author)2014-04-04

Resisting the temptation to bring up some question political or religious! jokes. Do you carry sleeping bag or something else for warmth in pack? also wondering why you only use the bic lighters for emergency use, preferring the flints? nice write up, cheers for putting it up

Rkaynjehll (author)discostu9562014-04-04

lol @ your "temptation." In my pack i'm still searching for a sleeping bag. Currently I rely on a hammock and poncho liner around the fire. I try to save the bics for last as best I can so that they're there when I really need them. I can start a fire with a firesteel in a couple minutes using dry tinder. But I can start a fire with a bic using moist tinder. I try to play my cards in the right order so I dont shorthand myself down the road. Just my habits. I can see though that I need to post up my pack soon lol Thx for reading :)

Survivorkidjr (author)2014-04-04

I would love to see the rest of the bag

Rkaynjehll (author)Survivorkidjr2014-04-04

I'll start getting all all the pics together tonight. There's a lot more in my pack than there is in this vest lol.. Keep in mind that if you were to go out and buy all this crap you would likely spend thousands. If you goto a military surplus or flea market you'll find it super cheap. Just dont want you thinking I got all this stuff on amazon or something ;)

Survivorkidjr (author)2014-04-04

1000 feet! Dude. I think it's good for tinder and if you forget it decays

Rkaynjehll (author)Survivorkidjr2014-04-04

ah true. In my area there always some nice tinder lying around out in the woods though. Im adding an altoids tin to my gear to put all the tinder i pick up in. Good idea with the jute tho. Very dry. Have you tried sparking an ignition on it yet?

About This Instructable




Bio: Guitarist, Tattoo Artist, Prior Service, Martial Arts Enthusiast, Computer Nerd, Gamer, Heavy Drinker On The Weekend, Go Fuck Yourself If You Dont Like The Constitution.
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