Introduction: The Survival Bottle

About: Second year engineering student studying at the Beautiful Okanagan campus of The University of British Columbia. I like to tinker with electronics and meddeling with 3D printing. I also have a penchant for rea…

This is a basic first aid and survival pack cleverly contained in a 1L water bottle. It has all the basics: Fire, Fishing, First Aid, Food, Tools, and Rescue Beacons.

This is a relatively light but comprehensive kit of tools and resources that should help anybody who is stuck in the backcountry.

Step 1: First Aid

First I'm going to describe all the tools and resources that are going into the bottle and at the end describe how to fit it all in.

I'll start off with first aid, everything in my bottle came out of a Adventure Medical Kit (pic 1), however all the individual pieces should be easy to find in a drug store.

(pic 2)
- Mole skin
- Blister Shield
- Iodide Capsule
- Medical Tape
- Safety Pins
- After-Bite Swabs
- Alcohol Swabs
- Band Aids
- Tweezers
- Duck Tape
- Gauze
- Wound Closure Strips ( or super glue)
- Non Adhesive Pad
- Medical Sponges
- Rubber Gloves
- CPR Shield (in with the rubber gloves)

So that's what's contained in the first aid kit and therefore the water bottle.

It's best to divide the supplies into two groups and then put them in sperate ziploc bags. One bag that will go near the top of the bottle, and contain the items used more regularly, for small cuts and other less serious afflictions. So the after bite swabs, band aids, mole skin, tweezers, alcohol swabs and duck tape go in one bag. The medical sponges, rubber gloves, gauze, CPR shield, Medical sponges, Non adhesive pad, Wound closer strips, medical tape and safety pins; the supplies for more serious and (hopefully) less frequent injuries go in another bag that will go in the bottom of the bottle.

Step 2: Fire!

There are tons of fire starting methods not only on this website but all over the internet. So choose your favorite and pack it into a ziploc.

My method of choice is hand sanitizer and a small amount of table salt. Make sure the hand sanitizer is alcohol based, usually methanol.

I choose hand sanitizer because it is multi purpose, obviously it is great for cleaning your hands, or in emergencies an open wound. Also if you add a small amount of salt, which is also multipurpose, hand sanitizer becomes a very flammable fuel source which can be used all on it's own or as fuel in an alcohol stove.

The salt can be used for it's original purpose to flavor food, which could make a survival situation a lot more comfortable, or as bait for traps, many animals are attracted to salt, that's why you see so many dear near train tracks

FYI methanol (and all alcohols) burn clear so be careful when you are testing or using them as a fuel source.

Step 3: Knife(s)

Knives, the most useful tool in the world. Knives were one of the first tools developed by early man, and therefore can be used (and where used) to make just about anything else you need to survive.

So what is the best knife to get?
( I am not an expert but I just went through the process of selecting a great knife for me so I'm pretty well informed).

Well that depends on you. But here is some helpful advice.

Size really doesn't matter.
A large machete that was built poorly is less useful than a small well built folder.

What does matter is if it is a fixed blade or a folder.
Fixed blades can (usually) take more abuse, unless they are poorly made, than a folder. So if you plan on using your knife more like a hatchet and building a whole house with it then you probably want a good fixed blade, see the RAT-7 ($100).

However the other school of thought is similar to that of cameras, the best knife is the one you have with you. This is were the folders really come into their own. The RAT-7 is great for a survival situation but its not very convenient to carry or store. A folding knife can do just about anything a fixed blade can as long as you are more careful while doing it. My choice for an affordable and high quality folder is the camillus VG-10 carbon fiber ( yes that's what its called). It has very high quality steel (Japanese VG-10) and a nice feel and look, it also won't break the bank at around $60 online.

Serrations or no Serrations?
I don't like serated blades because they are generally not long enough to be used as a saw, I don't cut a lot of rope, and they are hard to sharpen. Also most carving and precision work is done at the base of the blade were the serrations usually are.

Multi tools are another great option, though most are either flimsy, or very expensive. There are tons out there and have all sorts of tool options. As of yet I don't have one except for the traditional swiss army knife. The largest downsides of the swiss army knife are the knives themselfs, they are very thin (in order to fit into the body of the tool) and they don't lock. As a result they are not use full for large scale tasks unless you take a long time to do it. They are also not made out of high quality steel so they never gat that sharp and dull relatively quickly.

The other knives there are just some common pocket knives that you will be able to find anywhere. All will fit in the bottle and are really cheap ($7-$20), however if you are at all a serious outdoor person I recommend buying a good knife, the difference is night and day. The most dangerous knife is a dull one, as they do not behave smoothly they tend to slip and cause injuries.

So that's my two cents on knives. The one I chose for the water bottle survival kit is the Camillus because it is small and well made.

Step 4: Let There Be Light!

A flashlight is a great tool to have if you are stuck somewhere, you can signal for help and try to find your way in the dark. Other flashlights are designed as a non lethal defense method, they are bright enough to blind an attacker. (I'm not very informed on quality flashlights though so I won't suggest specific makes and models, I'm sure you are capable of doing your own research if you are interested in purchasing a high quality flashlight). Check out the Wicked Lasers Torch for one of the worlds most powerful flashlights, it produces a powerful enough light to set fire to things.
( )

The one I used in my kit is a simple but very bright pen light that I found on the trail one day. It appears to be sealed, and we found it in the snow so I believe it is water proof or at least water resistant. It is small light and very bright, someone will be very disappointed that they lost it.

Step 5: Personal Extras

This is were any personal medications go. Even if you don't have any medical conditions consider others in your camping(Or biking, canoeing, climbing, ect..) group. I am diabetic so I brought a bag full of sugar to treat a low blood sugar. Others may want to bring an EpiPen if they have sever allergies, or even if you don't. If you have never been stung by a bee or if you have only been stung once there is the possibility that you could be very allergic to bee stings so packing an EpiPen or some benadrill is a good idea.

Step 6: Signal Mirror

A mirror is a great way to signal an aircraft or boat. I personally use a old hard drive disk instead of a traditional glass mirror, the plate is made of metal but polished to a mirror shine so it it less fragile than a traditional glass mirror, it also has a hole in the center so the traditional finger method of locating the reflection is irrelevant.

To use a mirror as a signaling device first it needs to be sunny, then place the mirror in the sun and locate the reflection, hold your hand out in front of you, move the mirror so that the reflection is positioned on your hand, open your fingers so that there is a gap between them, now position the boat/plane between your fingers and you will know that they are seeing the flash from your mirror. If you know Morse code you can use that or just hope that they see you. Naturally I recommend Morse code to signal an SOS. The code for SOS (save our souls) is three quick flashes followed by three long flashes followed by another three quick flashes.

The signal mirror is wrapped in a plastic bag and taped to the bottom if the bottle.

Step 7: Fishing Supplies

I wrapped fishing line around the outside of the bottle securing the first knot with tuck-tape and then wrapping about 15' around the outside. Then I tied on a hook and hooked it into the loops of fishing line, then covered the hook and a small amount of the wrap with more tuck-tape to ensure that it doesn't become a big tangled mess. The bottle can be used as a primitive spool for casting and trolling.

Step 8: Duck Tape

I wrapped the top of the bottle with duck tape. Duck tape really needs no explanation so I'm not going to give one:)

Step 9: Assembly

So in the intro I promised a clever way of fitting everything in a 1L water bottle. So once everything is in it's own plastic bag tie a string about twice as long as the water bottle is tall around it, that should be long enough to wrap around the bag and still reach the top of the bottle. Attach a label to the far end of the string and proceed to place everything into the bottle. Then when the situation warrants you just pull up on the string to claim the item you were trying to get. It works well but some care should be taken to place the things used less often in first.

That's my quick and dirt survival kit packed into a water bottle, because everything is in a plastic bag you could even fill the remaining space with water and drink from it.

Thanks for reading - Lucas

PS. as always all comments and votes are appreciated. The knowledge of the community is a great way to improve designs, so if there is something that you always put in a survival pack that I have neglected please drop a comment.

Outdoor Survival Contest

Participated in the
Outdoor Survival Contest