Introduction: Life Out There: Survival Kit
"Out there;" a phrase often used to describe the vast wildernesses that cover a large amount of the world. It is a place where human beings fear to go, where terror reigns and a travelers' only companions are the thoughts in his head, and the rustling of the wind. Those who venture into this land of fear and adventure unprepared seldom make it out unscathed, and in many cases, alive. The only way to make it through an ordeal, out there, is to have the ultimate survival kit ready at your disposal. This Instructable will show you the key concepts and items that should go in to a good survival pack.
Step 1: HIKING EQUIPMENT
Some of the most important things to include in a survival kit are basic hiking tools. These tools can help you navigate and stay safe as you travel through the wilderness. Items that will protect you and help guide you through the climate and terrain of the wild are included in this section.
Items to include:
-A small umbrella: An umbrella will allow you to travel further during inclement weather conditions without risking sickness or exposure, and can also be used for shelter.
-A knife: A knife will allow you to easily kill food and cut down plants to navigate through dense foliage. It can also be used to build shelter and to provide protection.
-A compass: One of the most basic yet necessary of all hiking tools. This item will help you navigate and find your way through any environment, and also provide a means of documenting landmarks and goal points for travel.
-An emergency blanket: An emergency blanket is necessary for keeping warm at night, providing shelter, and, in intense survival situations, to provide shelter from fire and heat. Easily foldable enough to fit in a pocket, these blankets are a must-have for any survival kit and any environment.
-A whistle: A whistle not only will allow you to contact others in a group survival situation, but can also be used to alert rescuers of your location and need. They can also be used to frighten off predators such as bears and mountain lions, and to measure the depths of caves through their echoes.
Step 2: IMPORTANT BOOKS AND GUIDES
Books and guides for a survival situation are of utmost importance. While they are not a necessary tool, they can provide invaluable information about survival tactics. They can also be taken to provide means of entertainment to keep the mind from panicking, and, in dire need, for fire kindling.
Books of interest may include:
-The US Army Survival Manual: or FM 21-76, is the ultimate guide to taking on and surviving any conditions in any situation. Full of useful tips and tactics, it is the primary must-have book for any survival kit.
-A Bible: or any book pertaining to your religion can provide hope and a sense of security to an otherwise panicked situation. Although not entirely necessary, it is a good idea to take one along.
-A guide to first-aid: An injury in the wild can be magnified multiple times by your situation. Infection. aggravation, and bleeding are all very serious dangers. A guide to administering the correct first-aid to a wound or cut is absolutely necessary for the health of all involved in the ordeal.
-A map of the area: A map can prove invaluable in navigating through an environment. Not only can it shorten your ordeal by leading you safely out, but it can also provide a sense of security by giving you an idea of where you are.
-Also, the SAS Survival Handbook (not shown), which provides almost every thing you would ever need to know about a survival situation! Special thanks to HollyMann for this recommendation.
It is a good idea to wrap all books taken in a watertight bag to keep them from getting ruined by a watery environment or rain.
Step 3: FIRE STARTING MATERIALS
Fire; without it survival is nearly impossible. Fire not only provides heat and protection, but can also be seen as a companion in an otherwise lonely and desperate situation. A fire can cheer the mind and soul, and keep out fears of what lies in the darkness. Fire is also necessary for cooking and sterilizing food, so anything fire-related is absolutely necessary and definitely a top priority when packing your survival kit.
Things to include in this section are:
-Waterproof matches, which can withstand moisture and be stored safely. It is a good idea to have at least 100, enough to last a few months. These should be stored in a waterproof container.
-Items for kindling: Sometimes as simple as scraps of paper, kindling is necessary to start a fire in that it carries the initial spark. Without it, starting a fire is much harder.
-Sparking devices: such as Pop-Its, can provide the necessary ignition to start a fire. They can also create enough noise to capture the attention of rescuers, or to scare away predators.
-Spark creating rocks: such as marcasite, flint, quartz, pentlandite, iron pyrite, etc. can create sparks for fires when you have run out of matches. Getting the spark to light a fire, however, can be difficult.
All of these materials should be kept in a waterproof bag.
Step 4: LIGHTS AND MULTITOOLS
Means of creating light are a need for survival, as are multitools. Such items can allow you to travel places and create things you would otherwise not be able to. It's a good idea to have as many of these items as possible, so that they can be replaced or shared with others.
Good lights and multitools are:
-Flashlights: Flashlights are of course the best form of providing light while traveling. They can be used to angle light off of mirrors and walls, and can point a straight beam if necessary. In some cases they can even be used to start fire. You should definitely have at least one in your kit.
-Flare lights: not to be confused with actual flares, which are pyrotechnic. Flare lights are basically light sticks that glow and can basically attract or distract attention from rescuers or predators. Most flare lights have multiple functions, thus making them even more useful in a survival situation. Although not necessary, they are recommended.
-Fake battery candles: can be used as a last resort for light, and can spread light across a good distance. Be warned, they are fragile, and can break easily.
-Pliers-style multitool: good for twisting wire and and many other things, these tools are the best option when picking survival equipment.
-Screwdriver-style multitools: although not always needed, they are still a good idea to take if you need to change the batteries of or take apart some of your equipment.
-Swiss army knife-style multitool: comes in handy for cutting and sawing. Small and compact, they are a good thing to add to your kit.
Step 5: RESCUE RESOURCES
In a survival situation, one of the key goals of the person surviving is to be rescued. Catching the attention of planes, ships, or sometimes rescue hikers is a high priority, however, doing so can be difficult, unless you have the right equipment.
-Noise makers: such as air horns and whistles can catch the attention of anyone from a relatively long distance. Easy to use and easy to store, they are a good thing to have in your kit.
-Smoke grenades: Pyrotechnic smoke grenades can be purchased at any fireworks store and can create enough smoke to capture the attention of passing planes. The best kind will have a pull-pin, but fuse-lit grenades work just as well.
-Battery radio and headphones: Can keep you updated on weather, location, and time. They can also let you know if you've been missed, and can provide comfort in hard situations.
-Flares: Often as simple as roman candles, flares can let people know where you are at night, and can also be used to start fires, and kill prey. Store these carefully, however, or they could explode in your hand or pack.
-"HELP" sign: A bright orange and yellow sign with the word "HELP' on it can show possible rescuers your need. It is a definite necessity.
All of these items should be kept safe from water, if possible.
Step 6: CAPTURING/COOKING FOOD
Food and water is of utmost importance in the wilderness. Without it, your time to survive is decreased from possible months to days, or hours. You ABSOLUTELY NEED to bring along means of catching prey, as well as cooking and eating it safely.
Some things to include are:
-Fishing gear: fishing equipment, no matter how simple, can prove invaluable to the weary hiker. With it, you can catch fish to replenish your energy and prepare you for the next part of your travels. You need to bring something, anything, along with wich you can catch fish. These things should be kept together in a bag.
-Small frying pan: can make cooking easier and allow you to cook without touching potentially infected food. It isn't necessary but makes cooking a lot easier.
-Eating utensils: such as forks, plates, spoons, and straws can make eating a lot easier, safe, and, in some cases, less unappetizing. Remember you may have to eat less common things such as bugs, frogs, mice, and even snakes out in the wild. These items can make eating a bit more bearable.
-Gloves: If you have to pick up freshly killed prey, the last thing you want is for pathogens to get into your skin. Gloves can add a layer of protection and also take the 'gross factor' out of eating fresh prey.
As many of these items as possible should be kept in a watertight bag to keep them clean.
Step 7: FOOD AND WATER
Although it is good to take things with you to catch food with, it is also smart to take some food yourself. It can come in handy when you are in a place where no food or water is available.
Things to bring can include:
-Bottled water: Water is the most important thing you will need to stay alive. You should bring along enough to last at least a week, and the containers you keep it in should be sealed from any outside water, that could be polluted, getting in.
-Granola bars: Can be a long-lasting source of energy. Take as many as possible. Replace them as necessary.
-Lemon juice: For cleaning wounds (note that this can lead to infection). Lemon juice is also acidic enough to slightly cook and sterilize food. Replace as necessary.
-Sugar and sweeteners: TO BE USED FOR ENERGY AS A LAST RESORT ONLY. Using sugar for energy can give you a quick burst of energy if you need it, but afterwards you will feel very tired. Use it only in dire need!
All food should be kept in a waterproof bag or container.
Step 8: PERSONAL HYGIENE/FIRST AID
Taking things to clean yourself with is a must. If you are not clean, it is easier to get infections. Sterilization is very important.
Things to help you stay clean include:
-Bars of soap
-Shaving cream (optional)
-A small first aid kit
-Garbage bags, (for use as pillows, shelter, raincoat, insulation, bandages, ect.)
-Mints (for oral hygiene)
-Combs (not only for hair, also for survival tools)
-Toilet paper (flattened to fit in kit-yes it is necessary)
-A fan (to keep cool and avoid heat stroke, and to help build fire)
As many of these things as possible should be kept in a watertight bag.
Step 9: ROPE AND STRING
Rope and string are musts for traveling in rough terrain. They have infinite uses, and should definitely be kept in your kit.
Step 10: OTHER IMPORTANT ITEMS
There are various other items with no definite purpose that are also good things to take with you, such as:
-Batteries of all sizes
-Writing utensils and stationery + scissors
-Safety pins (for fish hooks and other uses)
-Plastic paper (in the form of prank no-tear toilet paper, can be used for bandages and to help with shelter.
-Other miscellaneous items, such as tape, glue, rubber bands, and other possibly useful small items.
All of these things should be kept in bags to keep them organized.
Step 11: EXTERNAL ITEMS
Things such as a water canteen, a pouch, and a hat with a built-in flashlight all can come in handy and should be kept on- but outside the kit.
Step 12: CONTENTS LIST
After you finish gathering all of the things to put in your kit, you should make a contents list so you can check what is in the kit, and what will need periodic replacing, without having to search through the bag.
Step 13: THE BACKPACK
Your survival kit backpack should have two large center pockets, a few small exterior pockets, and places to keep water bottles.
Step 14: SEPARATE GROUPS
When packing your kit, you should separate the items into three groups based on use, size, and importance.
These groups should include:
Group One: Hiking Equipment; Everything from steps 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 9.
Group Two: Resources; Everything from steps 6, 7, 8, and 10.
Group Three: External Items; canteen, hat, pouch, water bottles, first aid kit, knife, roman candle, and contents list.
Step 15: PACKING: HIKING EQUIPMENT
Your hiking equipment is the most important part of your survival kit, so it should be kept closest to you. Pack all of it in the compartment closest to the straps of the backpack. If your backpack has a laptop compartment, try to put as much hiking equipment as possible inside it, as it will provide added protection from water and jostling. Try to pack everything neatly, so you'll be able to find it quickly in an emergency. After it is packed, make sure the compartment is zipped up completely.
Step 16: PACKING: RESOURCES
Resources are the second most important part of your kit, so they should go in the second compartment. Once again, try to pack neatly, and make sure the compartment is completely zipped up when you are done.
Step 17: PACKING: FIRST AID
If there is a front compartment to your backpack, the first aid kit should go there, along with the contents list. Doing so will provide easy access to both items.
Step 18: PACKING: WATER
The best best backpacks will have a water bottle compartment that will zip up. Make sure you take advantage of this feature.
Step 19: PACKING: KNIFE
On most backpacks, there is a small pocket on one of the backpack straps for a cell phone. It also makes a perfect place to store your knife.
Step 20: PACKING: EXTERNAL ATTACHMENTS
The straps on a backpack are usually attached at the bottom by a flat strap. You can easily attach a canteen and pouch to either side. You can also temporarily attach your hat to the top of a backpack strap via the adjustment strap on the hat.
Step 21: THE COMPLETED KIT
Congratulations! You are now capable of braving almost any terrain, environment, and situation! Enjoy your new survival kit! I hope you never have to use it! Thanks for viewing this Instructable, and I look forward to seeing you-out there.
Step 22: LIST OF ITEMS
All items included in the kit shown in this Instructable:
-Fish guides and gear
-Battery tea lights
-First aid kit
+Other miscellaneous items
Step 23: OTHER THINGS TO ADD
There are other things not included in this kit that you may wish to add.
-Subsidized Iodine and a glass bottle: for water purification. I myself have never tested this but it is a noteworthy item to consider.
- Fishing wire:Has infinite uses, very easy to obtain.
- Digital thermometers: Very useful in determining where to build a shelter.
- Tarp: for shelter and insulation
- Lighters, magnesium flint sticks, or other means of starring fire besides matches
- Coat: Useful, but a bit bulky
- Parachute: Again useful, but VERY bulky, expensive, and complicated.
- Gun: something good for defense AND hunting. Also good for alerting rescuers.
- Cell phones: It's doubtful they will have service in the wilderness, but they could come in handy.
- Money: In all possible forms (change, paper, etc.) Good for buying a ride home if you make it out, and/ or making calls-and as a last resort, kindling.
- Painkilling medicine
- Picture of loved ones (for comfort)
- Hand warmers (pyrotechnic heat devices)
- A hammock, which can get you up off of the cold, hard ground and away from snakes, scorpions, and pesky parasites.
- A good fixed blade knife. According to the comments on this 'Ible there are tons of great choices out there!
Step 24: PLACES TO OBTAIN ITEMS
The best places to stop would be outdoor stores, but discount stores, malls, grocery stores and even bookstores can sometimes carry what you need.
The main place I went to obtain my items: Outdoor World (A.K.A. Bass Pro Shops).
Step 25: SOURCES
-http://www.wilderness-survival.net/forums/showthread.php?1285-Rock-on-Rock-Firemaking&highlight=rocks%20sparks for information on sparking rocks
-US Army Survival Manual (FM 21-76)
-TV shows such as Survivorman with Les Stroud, and Man Vs. Wild with Bear Grylls
Step 26: NOTES
All parts of this kit have been tested,but you can add or take away what you want.
Approximate cost of kit: $250.00
Please note that I am not responsible for any problems caused by, or with, or for, this kit. Thank you.
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Please be positive and constructive.