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.