Most of the time our outdoor activities don't take us more than a mile or so in any given direction from a road or know trail. However, many of us occasionally take the path less traveled (actually my preferred path) and we venture into wilderness areas, large tracts of forest, or great acres of open prairie. Anyone who has spent much time in the great outdoors will tell you that Murphy and his Pandora's box of misfortunes is likely on your trail and laying in wait for you. To keep Mr. Murphy and his furies at bay, I keep this pocket sized survival kit on my person whenever I'm in the woods. It contains essential tools and materials to help you survive an unexpected outdoor experience. Good planning, some common sense, and good equipment will normally keep you out of trouble. However, even the best laid plans often go astray and this kit may help turn an unexpected situation into an amusing camp story and not a tragedy.
Step 1: The Components
I will spend close to a hundred days a year in the field hunting, fishing, camping, or working and I've found it essential to have good equipment. I'm not saying that you have to spend a lot of money or buy the newest gadgets on the market, but get good quality and keep it in good working order. That being said, most of the over the counter commercially packaged "Survival Kits" leave a lot to be desired. Many of the components are low quality and not always very realistic. I've tried to keep my kit simple and practical. I've used just about everything in this kit at one time or another and the components have not failed me. The following list of items is what I keep in my kit. I'm constantly adding, deleting, changing, and trying new items and different configurations. If you choose to replicate this setup please feel free to modify it as you desire. This kit will not replace good planning and sound judgement but it might help you overcome some mistakes and unforeseen circumstances.
A survival kit should be developed to help you survive a specific scenario or a range of situations. In example, a cold weather kit would have many of the same components of a hot weather kit but each would have different items specific to the climate, season of the year, or geographic area that you plan to be in. A kit that has everything you might need for any given occurrence would be so large and heavy as to make impractical to carry. A great comprehensive kit left back at camp because it is too heavy to carry won't do you any good when you're lost in the woods or get drenched by a sudden down pour. My kit is made up of groups of components designed for basic needs. It is light weight (about 10 oz) and is designed to be carried on your person. It should be supplemented with additional supplies and equipment as needed based on the activity you participate in. This is a simple bare essentials kit with with some redundant features. In general, the kit is made up of 6 groups of components:
1. The container.
2. The signaling group.
3. The fire making group.
4. The sharps or cutting group.
5. The food gathering and repairs group.
6. The medical group.