Its all fun and games until your lost...it's getting dark...you have no water...and no place to stay. It's never fun to think about, but for all you outdoor enthusiasts, it's wise to consider. Someday you may find yourself in a life/death survival situation. Being prepared for such a situation will only make you that much more likely to live to tell about it. This is a little kit I put together to carry with me on my hunting/fishing trips.
Step 1: What to Bring?
If I were to ask Les Stroud, Bear Grylls, and Cody Lundin (all three top dogs of survival) what you should put in a survival kit, you'd get three different answers. Some of what goes into your kit will be totally up to you. However those three gentlemen would also definitely have the same answers when it comes to some things. For example fire-starting, very important, all three would tell you that's an essential. In my kit I carry a little coffee, that's important to me, coffee helps me relax, keeps the headaches off, and gives me energy. That's not essential to those guys, but for me it is. Whatever it is, think about what's important for you to bring. Later on I'll list out what I think is essential to bring.
Step 2: Essentials of Survival
In a survival situation to make it out alive you'll need water as your first priority, shelter as your second, and finally food as your third (food gets more important if your stranded for many days). Below is a list of what I consider a MUST to have in your kit.
1. Cigarette Lighter
2. Waterproof Matches
3. Ferro-cerium Fire Starter
4. Candle (I like having at least three different options to get me a flame)
5. Mini Compass
7. Aluminum Foil
8. Change (for bus fares or pay phones)
9. Para cord
10. Fish Hooks and Line
11. Razor Blade
12. Mini Saw (I used part of a hacksaw blade)
13. Survival Diagrams (e.g. How to make a bow drill, figure four deadfall trap, spring snares)
14. Band aids
15. Duct Tape
16. Safety Pins
17. The Altoids Tin
The lighter, matches, fire starter, and candle are all obviously to help you get a fire going for warmth, water purification, or to ward of bugs and animals. You might want to bring your own tinder like char cloth or cotton balls. Like I said earlier keeping at least three firestarting methods is definitely a good idea. The compass, whistle, aluminum foil, and change is all to help with your escape from the wilderness. The compass, well that's obvious. The whistle, you can send distress signals that can be heard by nearby rescuers. The aluminum foil is a multipurpose item. It can be used as a signal mirror, formed into a pot for boiling water, or used to cover food. The change, it's probably not an essential, but when you make it out it sure might help to be able to make a call. The para cord, fish hooks/line, razor blade, and saw are all to help you get your food. The para cord is a multipurpose item, it can be used to lash shelters together, replace a broken shoe lace, and set snare to catch your dinner. The fish hooks/line is kind of self explanatory. Often time fishing is overlooked as a way to score a supper, but it takes very little energy, and is fairly easy. The razor blade is your "knife" you should be carrying a real knife at all times on you when your in the wilderness anyway, but in case your caught without one it'll at least help a little. You can skin small critters, gut fish, and cut cords with it. The mini saw is also maybe not an essential, but you can cut through bone and meat with it. It's also a useful backup to your razor blade. The survival diagrams, bandaids, duct tape, and safety pins are there to help repair what you got. Survival diagrams make it a little easier to remember how it was they started that fire from sticks on the internet or how they skinned that squirrel. Print yourself out some reminder cards and put them in your kit, you'll be glad you did. Bandaids for when you get a boo boo. Duct tape for whatever you can possibly think of fixing (duct tape is just one of those things you should always have handy). Safety pins, they make quick repairs for torn clothing, or they'll work as a fish hook if need be. And lastly the Altoids Tin, can be used to cook and boil water in. If you have room in your kit fill it with what's important to you individually. Like for me I said coffee is important. Even though it's a survival situation it's really, really important to keep your morale up. Half the battle for survival is wanting to survive. Maybe for you it's a picture of your family, or a piece of candy, whatever it is that's gonna give you drive to keep going, stick it in.
Step 3: Packing and Finishing the Kit
Now comes the tricky part, fitting everything into that little Altoids tin! It can be a chore to do, but with enough arranging and rearranging, it can be done. To waterproof your kit seal the lid with caulk all the way around. To finish it off wrap the para cord around the tin (you fit a longer length of cord on the outside than you ever would on the inside). Thanks for taking the time to read. Be safe on your outdoor adventures!