This is an emergency survival kit that I originally put together to keep in my wife's car. She travels a great deal for her job and particularly a lot during the winter months. This kit is designed to help 2 people to survive if stranded during cold weather. However, most of the components are multipurpose and are useful in any season or geographic area. Since the first kit was constructed, I have replicated it and keep one in all of our vehicles. It would make a great base kit if it becomes necessary to quickly evacuate your home in a disaster situation.
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Step 1: A Lot of Gear in a Small Pack
All of the gear on the table is kept in the pack with a little room to spare for additional items if required. This kit is organized in purpose groups and includes tools, survival aids, utensils, sheltering items, sanitation supplies, first aid supplies, food, and water.
Step 2: Protectective Gear & Sheltering Group
In this group I have the following items to help keep you warm and dry in the event you become stranded during inclement weather:
1. Military surplus casualty blanket. This is a light weight, heavy duty, reusable mylar backed blanket with grommets along the edges. It can be used as a blanket or a shelter.
2. A light weight bivy shelter tent. It comes packaged with the tent, poles, stakes, and guy cords.
3. (2) stocking caps.
4. A zip seal bag with a variety of chemical body and hand warmers.
5. (2) mylar space blankets.
6. (1) pair of leather work gloves.
7. (2) pair of brown cotton jersey work gloves. These should probably be exchanged for wool gloves or mittens, but these are what I had on hand when I put the kit together.
8. 50' of 550 para cord.
9. A zip closure bag containing a box of strike anywhere matches.
10. A zip seal bag containing (2) tea candles, (1) 9 hour emergency candle, and a small roll (about 6') of duct tape. The candles can be used for light and to melt snow for drinking water. The duct tape case fix or repair just about anything.
11. A large bandana handkerchief. This can be used as a handkerchief, head scarf, bandage, sling, signaling device, and many other uses.
12. A military surplus triangular bandage or cravat. Larger that the bandana, the cravat has many possible uses.
13. (2) vinyl rain ponchos.
Step 3: Tools & Equipment Group
Included in the kit are several multipurpose tools:
1. Air Force pilot's survival knife. Any medium sized fixed blade knife with about a 4 inch blade will do. I like this knife because it is very sturdy, and has a heavy leather case with a sharpening stone.
2. Folding stainless steel trowel with nylon case. This trowel can be used to scrape away ice and snow or to bury your toilet waste.
3. Mini LED Maglite with nylon case. The LED model is a little more expensive, but it gives better light and has longer battery life.
4. Pocket note pad and pencil.
5. Map reading compass w/ lanyard and magnifier.
6. Gerber multitool w/ nylon case.
7. LED headband light. This model uses the same AA batteries as the Maglite.
8. Zip seal bag with spare AA batteries and a commando style wire saw.
9. Pocket survival guide. I included this in the kit mostly to remind me of the things I should already know and to keep my mind occupied.
10. Pocket Survival Kit. I included this mini kit just in case one person had to leave the vehicle to go for help. My Instructable on assembling a PSK can be found here
11. (2) 8 hour chemical light sticks. You'll need to keep track of the expiration dates for these and replace them when the get out dated.
12. Waterproof match case with strike anywhere matches.
13. Rescue whistle.
Step 4: Water Storage & Food Prep Group
These items were included to provide containers for water storage and sterilization and to prepare hot food it you're stranded for an extended period of time. The Nalgene bottle and canteen are kept full of water most of the time until the temperatures stay below freezing. The canteen cup and the metal graniteware cup can both be used to melt snow for drinking water or to make coffee or tea.
1. 32 oz (1000 ml) Nalgene water bottle.
2. 1L Swiss Army canteen. I chose this canteen because it came nested in an aluminum cup and it fits nicely in the side pocket of the backpack.
3. Metal graniteware coffee cup.
4. French military surplus 3 piece mess kit. Look at the next photo to see what is stored inside.
5. 1 quart collapsible plastic water bottle. This bottle takes up very little space in the pack when it is collapsed. This container can be used to treat drinking water or for a urine bottle so you don't have to get out of the car during inclement weather. Just don't forget what you used it for!
6. Lite My Fire plastic combo spoon spork.
Step 5: Emergency Food Group
I included several shelf stable emergency food stuffs just in case you get stranded for an extended period. Although these items have a long shelf life, you will need to keep track of their expiration dates and replace them when necessary,
1. 2400 calorie Mainstay ration bar. This food bar can be broken into (6) 400 calorie servings and has a 5 year shelf life. It is SOLAS approved as a survival ration. It is supposed to taste a little like a lemon bar and is not thirst inducing.
2. (2) 2-1/2 oz cans of Underwood Deviled Ham. As long as the cans are not bulged out the food is edible.
3. (1) package of MRE crackers (to spread the Deviled Ham on).
4. (4) packages of instant soup mix in a zip seal bag.
5. (2) Oatmeal breakfast bars.
If you're planning a road trip it might also be a good idea to make up a couple of travel food packs like this one.
Step 6: First Aid & Sanitation Group
This group contains some sanitation and comfort items to use while you are stranded and after you get rescued.
1. 3 pack of hikers/backpackers toilet paper.
2. Toiletry kit with travel sized health & beauty items.
3. Package of wet naps.
4. Large and small plastic trash bags.
5. First aid kit in waterproof dry sack.
6. Water purification tablets & neutralizing tablets.
Step 7: Additional Items to Keep in Your Vehicle
Here are a few items that are also kept in the vehicles along with the jack, lug wrench, small tool kit, and warning triangle.
Step 8: Final Thoughts...
These are the items that we keep in our vehicles for emergency situations. Hopefully, we will never find ourselves in a position that requires us to rely on them, but I think it is cheap insurance. With OnStar, Garmin, and cell phones, the odds of being stranded for a prolonged length of time are pretty slim, but it can happen. Even if you can reach the auto club or police, they might not be able to immediately reach you due to storms, floods, blizzard conditions, etc. I believe fate favors the prepared and I prefer to have control of my situation. I'm constantly tinkering with my kits adding, deleting, and changing items. If you choose to make your own kit you should customize it to your needs and the areas you travel.
Step 9: Epilogue
One of the things about making these instructables is that they make you think more about the things you've made. Since originally publishing this one, I found the need to add a few things to this pack.
1. While shopping for something else at Walmart, I came across this 3'X3' blaze orange SOS maritime marker panel. I thought it would make a great distress marker that could be attached to the car's radio antenna or waved at a passing vehicle or aircraft.
2. (2) Blaze orange hunting vests. Your first job in a survival situation is to help the rescuers find you. These orange vests can be seen from great distances especially from the air.
3. (3) fiber coffee filters. These filters can be used to strain water from a pond or road ditch into your water bottles for further purification.