Introduction: Pocket Survival Kit (Not a Candy Tin!)

Picture of Pocket Survival Kit (Not a Candy Tin!)

This is my entry for the Survival Skills Challenge, and my first Instructable.

Here is my little utility/emergency* survival pouch that I carry while camping, hiking, and fishing. Now, I do all of these activities in nice weather (late spring-early fall), so I wanted a small, compact kit that would still encompass all of the vital elements of woodland survival, as well as whatever else I deemed necessary...because nobody wants to be lugging around a big ass backpack in hot weather, however, at the same time, a few matches and a razor blade in an Altoids can won't do a civilian much good. Yes, I'm sure a survival expert could make do with a mediocre Altoids kit, however, an EXPERT would not get lost in the first place!
*Note: This is my back-up kit. It is only carried by itself in low-risk situations, or as a supplement to my main gear. 

The pack is comprised of a few categories of items:

A) First Aid - Untended medical issues can easily become a death sentence in the wilderness. Your survival skills mean nothing when your health is rapidly deteriorating; you need to last long enough to find rescue. Include a broad spectrum of supplies that will address the most common accidental injuries, as well as your personal medical conditions.

B) Navigation is the most important part of any kit, because if you can avoid getting lost, there will be no ordeal. GPS is great, but the good ol' compass and map don't need batteries or antenna reception.

B) Signaling is the next most important aspect of the kit, because if you are found right away, survival won't be necessary. Include both visual and auditory devices, like a flashlight and a whistle.

C) Fire - If it does come to survival, you want to be sure that you can start a fire. Redundancy is key. Atleast have three different fire starting devices, and a couple different types of tinder.

D) Repair - Your clothing is your primary shelter. If you can't sew, safety pins and duct tape will suffice.

E) Shelter - Protect yourself from the elements; exposure is the greatest danger in the wilderness. Cordage alone is great, but building a rudimentary debris/brush shelter from raw materials is both difficult and time/energy consuming. Save yourself the trouble and get an orange garbage bag, and/or a Mylar space blanket, and your quick shelter will also serve as a signaling device. *Remember, you want to be found, so living in a tree house is not going to help your cause*

F) Water - Dehydration is the next greatest danger. Here, redundancy is also key: include ways to filter, boil, chemically treat, and store/carry your water.

G) Food Collection is not usually a main priority - most people are found within 72 hours of being lost. If you live in the lower 48 States, "extended survival" situations are about as frequent as plane crashes. Nonetheless, the concept behind a survival kit is preparedness, so, include some ways to hunt and trap birds, fish, and small game, as well as ways to cook them. Besides, even though you CAN last a while without food, who says you have to? Also, fishing would be a great way to kill time while awaiting rescue, if you are literally bored out of your mind. (Insanity is another danger)

H) Tools - Your knife is your life. Fixed blades are preferable, but anything is better than nothing. If you insist on carrying a folder, carry one with a good lock - flimsy linerlocks will fail under hard use, and this is a potential cause of injury. Also, include other tools, such as a saw blade or wire saw for wood processing, and a multitool for other various tasks. These are not necessary, but they will make your life much easier.

As I said, this pack includes all of the above elements, and only weighs about a pound, give or take. It slips comfortably into my shorts pocket, and an aluminum water bottle goes in the other pocket.

Thanks for viewing, and vote for me! ;)

UPDATE: The seventh photo slide is of newly added items, mostly suggested by other users. If you have any suggestions, please share them and I will probably add them if they aren't already in my kit.


sissiboo_smith (author)2016-02-22

Oh yeah, hard candies. They'll keep you going and happy and cheerful. Plus some jerky - it'll keep you alive.

sissiboo_smith (author)2016-02-22 compressed paper tabs the size of a dime, unfold for wiping / well, almost anything, but good arsewipe.

GSchelp (author)2015-06-17

Y-Geo (author)2012-07-03

Very neat, but we were taught to carry 2 female sanitary towels just in case of a more major trauma.

punkhead58 (author)Y-Geo2012-07-15

That's probably a good idea, but in my opinion (as a man with a large ego), the embarrassment from being caught carrying tampons would be much more painful than any major trauma. Of course, I'll regret it when I'm bleeding out. Thanks for the interesting comment. :)

gen81465 (author)punkhead582013-05-23

Tampons not only help in major trauma situations, but they are very effective as dry tinder for fire starting; assuming they were unused for other things. If are really worried about your ego and image, just make sure to bring along your lady friend, girlfriend, wife (or all three if you feel daring). One of them will most likely have one handy. You can even make the situation a bit more romantic by singing "Come on baby, light my fire!" to her.

StormNexus (author)gen814652013-12-10

That's one way to guarantee a major trauma situation.

Y-Geo (author)StormNexus2013-12-10

while tampons do make good fire lighters (as seen recently on tv ) sanitary towels are some what larger and are in some makes fire proof they do make very effective wound bandages.
more than 1 buddy is still walking around thanks to have them to hand.

Mattakers (author)2013-10-23

Isn't water one of your main priorities?

emarusa (author)2013-07-16


trisomy21 (author)2013-03-20

Do you have the good ol' petroleum jelly soaked cotton balls? great for fire steel and burns long. Bicycle inner tube has 1000 uses, mixed grade sand paper and your leather belt = great knife sharpening and as for emergency blankets there's some really good quality - reusable ones out there. I got one for $15 and it is amazing. Also, hope you have another knife - well, something bigger for heavier use like in the Becker BK line.
Nice kit though!

BudgetBugout (author)2013-03-10

Great kit! Although I keep an Altoids survival tin on me at all times (which I've recently uploaded on this site) I also keep a more comprehensive kit like this in a pocket attached to the sheath of my KaBar. I keep this kit in my car (as well as a 72 hour bag) and utilize it for an easy to reach survival situation or when I'm enjoying an outdoor adventure. I will probably be uploading it soon so be on the lookout for it! Once again, great job!

panzerfaust379 (author)2013-02-24

I've used the same Gerber knife for over 30 years without a problem. And a Puma since 1963. Treat your tools right and they will reward you withgood service,

Schmidty16 (author)2012-07-30

you should make for the candy tin

okoshima (author)2011-11-15

The only thing I can say is lose the gerber knife and get something that can take a little more punishment, more down to personal experience but im yet to find anything with gerber that hasn't failed on me.

punkhead58 (author)okoshima2011-11-15

The Gerber is just a throwaway knife. I have a Rat3, but I prefer the Gerber when I go fishing in the summer, since I wear shorts. It's very small and lightweight, and I wouldn't be heartbroken if it fell in the water.

I might get a Becker Necker in the future, but for now, the Gerber works fine for me, since I only use it for light-medium duty work.

Thanks for the comment.

Ther is nothing to fail with that model Gerber, I've beat the snot out of mine and it's still like new.

UtilityThrall (author)punkhead582012-02-07

i find having a mutlitool and a sharp knife never hurts. if one isn't fit to task the other usually is, using while sharpening the other etc. (speaking as a viking age reenacter)

meddler (author)2011-10-08

Take apart a dental floss box and take out the spool of floss. That stuff is tough as heck and I would think useful in any number of situations.

punkhead58 (author)meddler2011-10-10

Hmm, I would have to find plain dental floss, since the sugary taste/smell of regular dental floss might attract bees and other insects to my shelter.

But thanks for the comment, I will try that!

curious youth (author)punkhead582012-01-14

you can get just plain waxed floss with no taste whatsoever and that could be used in place of you cotton and your waxed thread. funnily enough its what i always use when i get a hole in clothing. only if i can sew it up concealed of course though

Tim Temple (author)meddler2011-11-10

The Eskimos love unwaxed dental floss. They use it for sewing hides together. They also use it for sewing somebody together who got too close to a bear.

darthbindy (author)2011-12-13

what about switching the mini bic lighter with a flameless lighter? theyr much hotter (1000+ degrees celsius) and the wont go out if it windy or raining

punkhead58 (author)darthbindy2011-12-13

Thanks for the comment.

punkhead58 (author)darthbindy2011-12-13

Yes, they won't go out in the rain, but if they get wet, they won't start to begin with.

The Bic lighter has never failed on me. If it gets wet, dry it off (pry the chimney off if you have to), blow on the gas nozzle, and it will work again. Even in the cold, when the butane won't vaporize, you just warm it up in your hand and it lights. And, after it does run completely out of gas, you still have a flint striker. The Bic is a necessity in any rural survival kit.

KittyF (author)2011-10-06

What are ranger bands and what are they good for? I'd love to see a how to on using all this stuff or anybody else's for that matter, but especially the obscure stuff. For instance, why do so many kits include a paper and pen/pencil? Just asking. LOL Kitty

yosusie (author)KittyF2011-10-27

Ranger beads are pace counters, they're for counting steps you've traveled. And if you know how many steps it takes you to travel 100 meters or whatever distance measurement you choose, then you can figure out the distance you've traveled. Each bead represents whatever unit of length you choose and you count those.

KittyF (author)yosusie2011-10-27

OH, thank you!! that's interesting. I'm going to have to try that.

punkhead58 (author)KittyF2011-10-06

Ranger bands are strips cut off of an old bicycle giant rubber bands. They are used to hold things together (mine hold the altoids can closed), and they can be used as a firestarter in a pinch.

Pencil and paper are usually included for the purposes of making a rudimentary map or set of directions to note water, food, and shelter locations, or for recording your experiences. This is not only a convenience, it can also help you keep your sanity in situations where you are spending long periods of time by yourself in the middle of nowhere.

Thanks for the comment.

KittyF (author)punkhead582011-10-06

OH, of course. that helps a lot. thanks,

fogman103 (author)2011-10-09

I think you should make it a full on instructable rather than just a photo instructable (or you could put the yellow description things on the pics).

punkhead58 (author)fogman1032011-10-10

I did put yellow description things on the pics. :)

fogman103 (author)punkhead582011-10-18

*apologies* I was on a different computer and it wasn't showing them.

HI-WAY MAN (author)2011-10-17


punkhead58 (author)HI-WAY MAN2011-10-17

Thanks for the suggestion, but yes, it's already in my kit. (The right side of the sixth photo slide.)

By the way, I'm a fan of Dual Survival, but I've never read any of Cody's books, I'll have to check them out.

Survivor Jack (author)2011-10-13

Very good first article. I would like to read more in the future.

punkhead58 (author)Survivor Jack2011-10-14

Thank you.

fogman103 (author)2011-10-08

Wher did you get the semi-waterproof pouch?

punkhead58 (author)fogman1032011-10-10

It's a first aid kit pouch; I got it free from a hospital many years ago.

punkhead58 (author)2011-10-07

This is a great suggestion by Sundevildaddy (sent via PM):

I would like to offer 2 items which i feel would definitely benefit your kit. Ranger Beads If you know what ranger bands are, I'm sure you know what Ranger Beads are, and how to use them. After explaining their use and 'how to use', would definitely benefit a civvie stuck in the wild. 5 feet of 1 inch, florescent flagging tape (again, thinking of inexperienced - they want to be found ;) . ) It can be compressed down to the size of a Quarter, cut in to 1/4" strips (for a total of 20') then cut into smaller (say, 4" pieces) for use as 'Turn Markers' (dont forget to write down your R.Bead counts!), shelter flagging, etc.

zazenergy (author)2011-10-03

nice work, congratulations on posting your first instructable!

punkhead58 (author)zazenergy2011-10-05

Thank you

About This Instructable




Bio: Hello there.
More by punkhead58:Improvised Emergency Handwarmer / FirestarterPocket Survival Kit (Not a Candy Tin!)
Add instructable to: