I am not a survivalist or a prepper. I am a guy who plans on doing more hiking (mostly day hikes) and maybe some overnights. I haven't been hiking in some time and while getting in shape (if that can be done at my age), I have been working on my equipment. Even though I will probably be hiking in somewhat familiar areas, they can still be large and foreboding. There is absolutely no reason to hike without a survival kit of some kind. So, I set out to create a kit that I could use if necessary and that would make me as comfortable as possible for a day or so.
That said, sorry Altoids fans; I don't think you can put everything you need for 2 or 3 days in an Altoids tin. While I plan on carrying a day pack, survival planning should assume you will be without this important item in a true survival situation. You drop your pack in the water and can't retrieve it or you set it down while you dash into the woods to take care of personal business and a raccoon walks off with it. This is when a pocket survival kit is needed. There are three things you should always have while hiking: First, you should keep your head on (this will be important for part of my kit) and secondly, you should keep your pants on. Finally you need a comprehensive survival kit.
If you have kept your head on (I told you this was important) you can attach the lanyard pouch around your neck. This pouch contains several items that are useful in an emergency and only weighs about 5.5 oz. In addition, keeping your head on includes keeping your wits about you. Getting disoriented, lost, or hurt out in the wilderness requires the right state of mind as well as the right equipment. Here's where keeping your pants on comes in. In my pants pocket is a qt. size Zip Lock freezer bag that easily fits in almost any pants pocket and certainly in a cargo pocket. This kit weighs approx. 12 oz., is quite comprehensive, and while you can add or delete things in any kit, this kit should provide you with shelter, fire, water, first aid, signalling, and repair stuff to make you comfortable for a few days.
I don't hunt or fish, so there are no provisions for snaring animals, catching fish, or shooting down birds with a slingshot. Most people who are lost are found within 3 days. This kit has provisions to keep you warm, relatively dry, and hydrated for that amount of time. So, you will see the list and pictures along with an explanation of some of the storage containers used, along with pictures of the packed kit. I hope you can take some or all of my ideas and make an easy to carry comprehensive survival kit that weighs just over 1 lb.
Step 1: Shelter:
2 - 39 gal. trash bags. (use as tent, ground cover, poncho, etc.)
10 ft. 550 Paracord (for ridgeline, tie downs, or for additional cordage if needed)
Step 2: Water Collection, Purification, and Storage:
1 qt. size Zip Lock freezer bag (for scooping or storing water)
2 Aluminum mini loaf pans (These fold almost flat and can be refolded many times before cracking. Unlike aluminum foil, you can actually boil water in these.)
2 standard 12 cup coffee filters (Obviously for filtering the crud out of your water before boiling.)
10 water purification tablets in a sealed drinking straw (Not pictured. There are many Instructables explaining how to seal the straws.)
Step 3: Fire Starting:
- 1 - 3" Ferrocerium rod (Sparks when scraped with hacksaw blade)
- 1 - 3" Carbide steel hacksaw blade (Mainly for striking the Ferro rod, but can be used to cut small twigs for tinder.)
- Approx. 3 petroleum jelly soaked cotton balls (stored in 2 - 3" sections of heat sealed jumbo soda straws)
- 8 Strike on the box matches (Stored in nasal inhaler tube)*
- 1 - mini Bic lighter.
* To ready the inhaler tube for storage, remove the inhaler from the tube and cut it just above the threads. The medicated portion will drop out and the threads will screw back into the tube. I attached a piece of striker to the lid portion. It's as simple as that.
The Ferrocerium rod and hacksaw blade are stored in jumbo straws, heat sealed at one end only so they are easily removed and will not tear the storage bag. These and the cotton balls are placed in a small zipper lock style bag,
The lighter and homemade match tube are placed loose in the kit.
Step 4: Signalling:
1 small rectangular mirror (about 2" x 3", stored in first aid kit to prevent breakage.)
I Maglite Solitaire LED flashlight (On the neck lanyard.)
1 Fox 40 Micro whistle (On the neck lanyard)
These should all be self explanatory.
Approx. 20 ft. of 3/4" orange flagging tape. This is wrapped around a piece of plastic credit card notched at both ends to prevent the tape from sliding off the sides. (For marking your trail if you need to move from your original position.) Not pictured.
Step 5: First Aid:
3 Standard Band Aid style bandages
2 Knuckle or Butterfly bandages
1 small Fresnel lens (For checking splinters or ticks. Can also be used as a fire starter in good light.)
1 Single edge razor blade. ( This is stored in an SD card case for safety.)
6 Extra strength aspirin (In a heat sealed drinking straw.)
6 Immodium tablets (In a heat sealed drinking straw.)
1 Single use packet of Neosporin or other anti-bacterial cream in a sealed drinking straw tube.
All in a small plastic zip seal type bag.
Step 6: Repair:
Sewing kit: (Stored in another nasal inhaler container.)
2 Wide eye needles
Thread, wrapped around a short piece of bamboo skewer.
3 Assorted safety pins
Approx. 2 ft. of 3/4" yellow PVC tape wrapped around one of the inhaler tubes.
Approx. 2 ft. of Duct tape wrapped around the other inhaler tube.
1 - 3" Multi tool. (Found this one at Target in the $1 to $5 section at the front of the store.)
Victorinox Classic knife (On the neck lanyard.)
Approx. 3 ft. of 1 1/2" Velcro One Wrap. (Wrapped around completed kit.)
Velcro One Wrap, wraps around itself and can be used to bundle firewood, wrap a sprain, hold a splint in place along with many other uses. Good to have, light weight, and easy to carry.
Step 7: Navigation:
Silva Companion Compass: (On the neck lanyard.)
This compass is easy to read, accurate and much less likely to get lost than the typical button compass found in the Altoid tin kits.
A topo map or at least a trail map of the area you are hiking in. (Not shown.)
Step 8: Wrapping Things Up"
The neck lanyard and pouch:
The pouch is about 2.5 inches by 4.25 inches and has a zipper top and a loop inside for attaching keys. I have attached the items pictured earlier to this loop with paracord. The Silva compass is attached separately to keep it free from the metal of the flashlight while in use. Everything packs neatly inside and the breakaway lanyard hangs conveniently around your neck. This weighs about 5 ounces.
You may notice in the picture that I added another Ferrocerium rod to this. This gives me fire starting, navigation, and signalling in this pouch alone.
The kit fit slightly uncomfortably in a Pint size Zip Lock freezer bag, so I up-sized to a 1 qt. size and fold the excess over and wrap it in the Velcro One Wrap.
As I said in the Intro, This is a pretty comprehensive kit for its size. I also carry a Mora HD Companion sheath knife.
If you like it please VOTE for it in the Survival Contest. If you have any comments, I would like to hear from you.
Hope you all have safe hikes and don't ever need your survival kits.