Intro: Bushcraft, Survival Kit for Extended Durations - Part 1 - Life Support Vest
This is not an EDC, BOB or anything else the elitists would put a name on. I decided to make an instructable on the kit I use out in the woods. I like the outdoors and use this quite a bit. It's always being improved and I wanted to post it up here and see what others may think of it. I have my own personal methods / needs out in the bush and they've kept me alive out in the middle of nowhere for extended camping expeditions. When I say camping.. I mean taking just this kit and my wits with me into the woods where no one can hear me and having a good time surviving off the land. This kit could be modified to serve many purposes but I'll explain everything in this review for those who are wanting to get started as well as those who already have but are looking for new ideas. I will not be showing off firearms here as I don't want to start any related discussions on what/why I carry. Just know it's for self defense and not for harming myself or others. In this instructable I'll be going over the vest on the right. The breakdown of my pack is coming soon. The vest is set up so that if I happen to lose my pack.. I will be ok still. The pack is for comfort, the vest is for absolute needs. Lets get to it then.
As a sidenote.. I have a very important personal rule. "I'd rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it."
As I add things and take stuff out, I'll do my best to keep this updated for yall. - 04 APR 2014
Amendments Section added as final step of this instructable. - 09 APR 2014
Step 1: Left Side
The left side of my vest is dedicated to ammo. You can assume I'm packing AR15 mags in these but I assure you.. Many types of mags will work in these army issue double mag pouches.
As you can see in the pictures
x4 Double Mag Pouches. Holds Ammo
x2 Pistol Mag Pouches. Holds Ammo. (Adding 2 more in the future.)
x1 Frag Grenade Pouch. Holds 1 military tourniquet.
Lets talk ammo for a moment. This kit is geared towards a long stay in the woods. NOT for taking into battle. (I guess you could.. but I don't recommend trying to be Rambo with this in a SHTF situation.) If you're out in the bush for awhile.. a couple weapons can really help you in many ways.
4. Self Defense From The Local Wildlife.
80 rounds of rifle ammo may sound extreme.. But if you're out in the bush and aren't having any luck foraging or fishing.. You may need all the meat you can get. 80 kills seems like a lot. But if you're really in the bush you need to conserve it. Take larger animals only, if you have a choice. Deer, turkey, bear, bigfoot.. In my area that's what is available. hehe..
Bag your mags. Like I said.. we're not looking for a firefight.. This ammo would last me years in the bush. So I bag them to keep the ammo dry and free of corrosion. Nothing like having a nice rifle with no ammo due to your own negligence right?
Tourniquet. Think about it.. You fall. You take a stick through the back of your calf. You're bleeding pretty good. You're gunna need some stitches once you set up camp. How are you gunna stop the bleeding long enough to clean up the wound, stitch it and dress it? With THIS. Carry one. Have easy access to it with BOTH hands in case one of your arms is the issue.
Step 2: Left Drop Leg.
My left dropleg is dedicated to food and water sustainment. I spent several hours making the main pouch that attached to the thigh rig I found at a flea market. Then attached some PVC pipes to keep my stuff dry. As you've seen so far.. I don't like my stuff getting wet. Any step I can take to prevent water damage is a good step. Everything here is very modular to give easy access to the things you need at the time without having to unpack the whole kit. The less time I spend fumbling around for the right tool.. the more time I can spend relaxing and regaining energy spent doing other things. It also helps morale. Have you ever drove yourself mad looking for your car keys? You don't want that issue out in the bush. Keep things where you can find them.
Large spool of fishing line. Custom spool made of plastic cut out circles and a plastic pen for the bar. super glued.
Fishing sinkers. Small sinkers inside paracord. Larger Sinkers on outside of paracord.
Fishing Hooks. Inside plastic cord stays. The ones that you press on and the hole gets bigger for a cord to pass through.
Small Roll of Duct Tape. Wrapped around a piece of a q tip.
Spices. Salt and Pepper inside drinking straws to help keep moisture out.
Flashlight. It's not for everyday use. Just for when I drop something in the dark.
Water filter. 4 chambered custom filter. layers = Polyurethane Cotton. Large Gravel. Small Gravel. Sand.
Step 3: Extra Tools.
This section is about some optional tools to think about.
Fixed blade knife.
Lets talk pistol first.
In case you dont like firearms.. Just skip this section. I wont force my political views on you. Don't force yours on me. Thanks.
Mine is attached to a drop leg system as you can see. When my right hand is hanging naturaly it sits right on the handle perfectly so I can quickly draw my weapon if I need it. Why would I need it? Picture this.. You're building a campfire.. getting out the food you're about to cook. And hear a snap of a twig in the distance. You look around and see a bear coming in to take your meal from you. What are you gunna do? Sure you try a mexican standoff with him.. or ball up on the ground lol.. but if that doesn't work.. you cant outrun him. Your hunting rifle is out of reach. Time for your sidearm in this worst case scenario. I don't condone shooting animals for no reason. If I kill something I'm either eating it or keeping it from eating me. Carry a large caliber. Not a 9mm.
Fixed blade knife.
I've come to love the knife in the picture. It really has been a love/hate relationship. I reshaped the blade on it. It used to not be a tanto style blade. I was in the military when I reshaped it for combat use though. The handle fitis very nice in my hand, the metal is decent.. but the blade is very thick and can take a beating. Holds an edge over several skinnings. Don't goto BudK for your knife. Find one that really fits you and does what you need it to. Your fixed blade will see a lot more use than your firearm ever will.
Another love/hate relationship that I developed with a tool in Iraq. This little guy has so many uses. From Cutting paracord to skinning animals to cutting.. you guessed it.. Seatbelts hehe
Step 4: Weapon Cleaning Kit
This is a kit I put together to suit the firearms I carry.
CLP. Cleaner, Lubricant, Preventative. For helping you clean out the nasties.
Oil. Prevents rust.
Bore Snakes. Instead of push rods. These take up less space and work better IMO.
Punches. I carry only the ones I would need to perform a full breakdown of my rifle and sidearm as needed.
Brass brush. I just grabbed a bore brush for a caliber I dont have in my collection to use in my kit. This will help remove grime and rust.
Hand Saw. I'm guilty. Wasn't sure where to put this yet so it ended up in my cleaning kit.
It's not in the picture.. But I also have a microfiber rag in this kit.
I think this kit is pretty much self explained. Carry what you need to perform maintenance on your firearms out in the bush. If you're gunna have firearms out there.. have a way to clean them or you wont have them for long.
Step 5: Basic Medical Pouch
By Basic.. I mean bare essentials. There's a lot more medical stuff in my pack. But this it what I find most useful on the spot. I wont be going into grave detail on how to use each thing. But with proper training this stuff goes much further than a bandaid in dire situations.
Ziplocks. Many uses.
Wound Seal. This's for just in case you have a very bad situation... like accidentally shooting yourself. This could help in some situations.. but you're probly a goner out in the wild if that happens.. Dont be stupid.
Medical Tape. It's like duct tape.. for your skin.
Pressure Bandage. If you need a lot of pressure to stop the bleeding.. This is the answer. (Dont use it on your neck plz) lolz
Combat gauze. Contains quick clot. It's a powder than makes your would clot up faster. Washes off with water. Best used for extreme puncture wounds in an emergency.
Suture Kit. Lets face it. If you get a nasty cut.. you're gunna use this on yourself whether you like it or not. Do yourself a favor before getting this though. Learn how to use it before you need it!
Nasal Pharyngeal. I carry this.. Because it was in my kit in Iraq honestly. I cant think of many reasons to have it other than opening an airway to breath if you eat something you're allergic to and didnt know. You're probably still dead.. but it's a possibility.
Gloves. Have at least 2 pair. You're out in the woods.. your hands are dirty.. You dont want infections. Use these as needed.
It's not shown here.. But I have a bottle of Iodine for cleaning wounds.
This kit is a work in progress. It's been really hard for me to get out of my soldier mentality on this part. I know what I needed in Iraq and how to use each piece. I can save lives with these tools. Do the research. Learn to use every medical device you can fit into your kit. Hell.. If you know a thing about dental work.. I'd suggest having some teeth pullers lol.. this stuff can really extend your life expectancy out in the bush.
Things to consider adding to this that I haven't yet.
Painkillers. (not morphine.. geez.. you druggies lol)
Bandaids. (I have a crap ton in my pack.. i'm honestly not sure why I never put any in this)
Toothbrush. (I'm torn between putting mine in here or leaving it in my pack)
Step 6: Another Sustainment Pouch.
x1 US Army Issue, 1 QT Canteen.
x3 Bic Lighters. (Only One Shown)
The Canteen is just an easy way to pick up the water to boil it after filtering. My pack has a large camelback bladder in it to store clean water. I'd like to get a matching metal cup. My water flow would go like this..
Dirty Water in plastic canteen > Poured through filter > Emptied into metal canteen > Metal canteen is boiled > Poured into camelback bladded once cooled.
I have 2 small firesteels. One had a magnesium block attached to it (was made in china so i removed it). The other was from a "sparkie." I removed it from its prison as well. Wrapped one side in duct tape for grip. Works Great.
Sometimes.. a firesteel will take awhile to get your fire lit. And for that, I carry 3 bic lighters for emergency. You only need a couple seconds of fire from them. Bics are pretty rugged, can get wet and last a long time. So I carry a few of them. I can start a fire with a steel no problem.. but sometimes Im tired or lazy and just want a feckn fire!
Step 7: The Stuff Pouch
It is what it sez.
Poison Ivy Itch Spray.
This pouch is for the extra tools and useful stuff I find. I'd like to add a tinder box. Probly an altoids tin. Lets get to into what I've got sofar.
The scissors I have are pretty sturdy. You never know when you're gunna need to cut something. A good pair of scissors like mine can even cut a penny in half. Once they dull down they come apart for resharpening. Also has a bottle opener and flat screwdriver tip for various uses.
I wrapped up about 200ft of paracord. I'm not going to get into how useful this stuff is. But just know that the more you have the better off you'll be. The doughnut I made is very easy to get any length you need from. Just grab the end and pull. It's a quick release. But very time consuming to put back together.
I have a headlamp that runs off of a single 3v battery. I have more batteries in my pack for it. It's not for everyday use. Just in case my other flashlight breaks.. or I need to skin an animal in the dark.. I have this. It has several settings for light. Including Soft White, Bright White, Red, SOS signal and a Dazzle effect (which is quite annoying if you look at it directly)
The notebook and pencil.. well.. You never know when you wanna write something down.. From what degree you're traveling to some brainstormed idea that you don't want to forget.
Having a survival straw is not a long term fix for clean water.. In fact it's a pretty bad idea since you skip boiling after filtering. I keep this for dire emergencies. I've never had to use it and I dont plan to. But as my favorite rule applies.. I'd rather have it and not need it.
I'm the type of person that can stand downwind from poison ivy and break out. So i have an itch spray. You may not need this.. But I really do.
Step 8: A Few More Tools
If you don't know how to use a compass like this, go look it up right now. This thing is awesome but is only as reliable as the person using it. Get the real one though, not the plastic look a likes being made in china. While you're at it you will probably come across something people like to call "Ranger Beads" lol.. I just use a piece of paracord with sever paracord knots tied to it that slide up and down. Every 100 or 1000 meters you travel you can slide up a bead/knot. Helps you count how far you've traveled on foot.
Multitool. People have mixed experiences with these. I broke 5 of the Gerber ones that were issued to me in the military doing basic stuff. Maybe I'm hard on my tools? I don't know.. But what I do know is that I've never broken my SOG or Leatherman. This is a must have for any outdoorsman/woman. The uses are unlimited.
Step 9: Conclusion
So there it is. My vest. This was my first Instructable but I hope you enjoyed the tour as basic as it was. If you have any questions or comments I'm always looking for suggestions and constructive criticism. Just know that I'm not the least bit interested in having a discussion about firearms/safety/religion/politics. I made this instructable assuming children will get supervision and adults will be adults. Like I said before, If you liked this enough to wanna see what's in my pack just let me know. It's fun.
Thanks for reading and happy bushcrafting motherfuckers!!! :D
Step 10: Amendments
1. Fire Starter Tin added to the Stuff Pouch.