Pocket Survival Kit




Most of the time our outdoor activities don't take us more than a mile or so in any given direction from a road or know trail.  However, many of us occasionally take the path less traveled (actually my preferred path) and we venture into wilderness areas, large tracts of forest, or great acres of open prairie.  Anyone who has spent much time in the great outdoors will tell you that Murphy and his Pandora's box of misfortunes is likely on your trail and laying in wait for you.  To keep Mr. Murphy and his furies at bay, I keep this pocket sized survival kit on my person whenever I'm in the woods.  It contains essential tools and materials to help you survive an unexpected outdoor experience.  Good planning, some common sense, and good equipment will normally keep you out of trouble.  However, even the best laid plans often go astray and this kit may help turn an unexpected situation into an amusing camp story and not a tragedy.

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Step 1: The Components

I will spend close to a hundred days a year in the field hunting, fishing, camping, or working and I've found it essential to have good equipment.  I'm not saying that you have to spend a lot of money or buy the newest gadgets on the market, but get good quality and keep it in good working order.  That being said, most of the over the counter commercially packaged "Survival Kits" leave a lot to be desired.  Many of the components are low quality and not always very realistic.  I've tried to keep my kit simple and practical.  I've used just about everything in this kit at one time or another and the components have not failed me.  The following list of items is what I keep in my kit.  I'm constantly adding, deleting, changing, and trying new items and different configurations.  If you choose to replicate this setup please feel free to modify it as you desire.  This kit will not replace good planning and sound judgement but it might help you overcome some mistakes and unforeseen circumstances. 

A survival kit should be developed to help you survive a specific scenario or a range of situations.  In example, a cold weather kit would have many of the same components of a hot weather kit but each would have different items specific to the climate, season of the year, or geographic area that you plan to be in.  A kit that has everything you might need for any given occurrence would be so large and heavy as to make impractical to carry.   A great comprehensive kit left back at camp because it is too heavy to carry won't do you any good when you're lost in the woods or get drenched by a sudden down pour.  My kit is made up of groups of components designed for basic needs.  It is light weight (about 10 oz) and is designed to be carried on your person.  It should be supplemented with additional supplies and equipment as needed based on the activity you participate in.  This is a simple bare essentials kit with with some redundant features.  In general, the kit is made up of 6 groups of components:

1.  The container.
2.  The signaling group.
3.  The fire making group.
4.  The sharps or cutting group.
5.  The food gathering and repairs group.
6.  The medical group.

Step 2: The Container

The criteria for my container was that it had to fit into a cargo or jacket pocket, be waterproof, and light weight.  What I chose to hold my kit was a 5"x7" clear vinyl dry sack made by Coghlan's.  It is small enough to fit in my cargo pocket, holds everything for a basic kit, is water proof, is clear so I can see what's inside, its light and durable, and it was fairly inexpensive.  The bag can be emptied of its contents and used for water storage,  It is small but it will hold about 12 oz.  It came with a 5' yellow nylon cord.  I replaced it with about that much 550 para cord.  The 550 cord is stronger and of course has the internal strands that can by removed and used for a plethora purposes.  You can use the cord as a dummy cord or place it around you neck to make sure it doesn't get lost.

Step 3: The Signaling & Navigation Group

The signaling & navigation group is comprised of the following items to help searchers find you.  In a "you've gotten yourself lost" scenario most experts recommend that you stop, find shelter, and wait for a rescue team to find you.  You know people will be looking for you because you remembered to leave a trip plan with a responsible person telling them where you are going and when you should return, right?  So, this being the case, your first duty should be to help the search team find you.

1.  Vector 1 signaling mirror:  Use for signalling search & rescue personnel.  Used properly, it can be seen for miles.  Make sure it has a functional retro-reflective aiming circle.  Many cheap models do not have this feature.  It is a must to accurately aid your signal flash.  Practice with this tool before you go out on your adventure.

2.  ACR rescue whistle:  Any loud whistle will do. A shrill whistle will travel farther and can be heard easier than a shout and can be maintained longer.  Three sets of 3 blasts on a whistle is an internationally recognized distress signal.  I chose the ACR model because it is loud (SOLAS approved), very slim and pealess so it will work in freezing weather.  There are several other good models to choose from.

3.  Mini Maglite LED flashlight w/ AAA battery:  The LED light gives out good illumination and has good battery life.  Another good choice would be a Inova mini led light or a Freedom Photon model.

4.  Brunton liquid filled button compass:  This should be a backup to the map reading compass and/or GPS unit that you should carry.  It is small (approx 25mm dia) and is liquid filled.  It will help give you general bearings and will work in low temperatures.

5.  3 sheets of Post-it note paper.  Can be used as tender to start a fire, record information, leave a note, record your experience, etc.

6.  Small lead pencil.  Use to write your notes or can be whittled into a fuzz stick to start a fire.

7.  Brass trap tag with my name and address.  I included this item that records my name and address to identify me in the event I'm not able to do so myself.  Hopefully, this will never be necessary.

Step 4: Fire Making Group

In a survival situation the ability to make and maintain a fire is one of the most important skills to have.  A fire will keep you warm, cook your food, keep animals (and the boogieman) away, and can be used as a signal for help.  Three fires in a triangular shape is an internationally recognized distress signal.  A good mental attitude is one of the most essential tools in any survival situation.  In an unexpected overnight stay in the woods, a fire can go a long way to keep your spirits up.  This kit contains at least 4 ways to start a fire.  Fire making is a skill that takes practice to master.  The middle of the night during a snow storm with one injured hand is no time to begin learning how to make a fire.  As seen on TV, you can make a fire by rubbing 2 sticks together, if you're a 32nd degree Eagle Scout, an aboriginal tribesman, or Bear Grylls (don't get me started).  The rest of us will fare much better with some fire making tools and a little practice.  Basic fire making preparation requires selecting a appropriate site, collecting tender, kindling, and fuel, and producing a flame, or at least a spark that can be coaxed into a flame.  Please be extremely care building a fire.  Make sure you can control it once it is made.  You will probably get noticed if you start a brush or forest fire, but if you're not a victim of your own negligence, you'll probably have to answer some serious questions from the authorities.  These tools have been proved to successfully help start a fire and I include them or a variation in all of my kits.

1.  Fresnel magnifying lens.  This lens can by used to magnify the suns rays to start a fire. It can also be used to read a map, or see to remove a splinter or tick.

2.  Military damp proof matchbook from an MRE packet.  I got these at a gun show, but they are available on Ebay or you can eat an MRE and save them.  I used these because they are moisture resistant (not waterproof) and fit well in the kit although any book of matches will do.  I seal them in a small zip lock bag.  You can get the small zip seal bags at most hobby stores.  They really come in handy for a variety of uses.  These matches are a backup item as you should have a matchbox with waterproof matches in your left breast pocket, right?

3.  Mini Bic butane lighter.  Again the size is convenient for the pocket sized kit.  You've got a full sized butane lighter in your right breast pocket next to your body to keep it warm, right?

4.  Magnesium bar with an attached ferrocerium rod and steel striker.  You can shave a pile of the magnesium bar into a pile about the size of a dime and use the striker against the ferrocerium rod to make a shower of sparks that will ignite the pile.  Magnesium burns at approximately 4000 degrees F and will start even damp tender.  I purchased this one from Survival Resources ( www.be prepared to survive.com ).  It is large enough to grip and small enough to fit on a key chain.  It also has both the magnesium and fire steel in one piece. 

5.  Spark Lite Tender-quick tabs.  This commercially prepared tender works great.  It will catch fire from just sparks and will burn for about 2 minutes.  You could use any commercial brand or even make your own from cotton balls or dryer lint.  Sparks from the ferrocerium rod or even an empty butane or flint wheel liter will ignite them.

Step 5: The Sharps or Cutting Group

Next to the ability to start a fire, a knife is probably the most useful survival tool.  You should keep a sharp medium sized fixed blade knife as part of your everyday field equipment.  In addition to the knife I wear on my belt I keep the following sharps in my pocket kit:

1.  Gerber slimline folding knife.  This stainless steel folder will perform most light camp chores, cut cord, skin and dress small game, whittle a snare trigger, make a fuzz stick, used as a fire steel striker, dig out a splinter, or just about anything else you will need to do.

2.  Folding surgical prep razor.  A back-up to the Gerber folder.  Will cut cord, cloth, & leather.  It can be used to lance a wound, or shave an area around a cut or puncture wound for first aid dressing.  I find this razor is much easier to use and safer than the plain razor or scalpel blades that are commonly found in off the shelf survival tins or pocket kits.

3.  Military P-38 can opener.  This may be one of the best inventions ever devised by the military.  It can be used as intended as a can opener, or as a screw driver.  It can be sharpened to a cutting edge, used as a fire steel striker, or a small pry bar.  When I was in the service I kept one on my dog tag chain and another on my key ring.  It seems like I used it for something just about every day.

Step 6: Food Gathering & Repairs Group

This group has several items that are muti-taskers.  They can be used for various purposes from repairing clothing and gear to making shelter to gathering food.  Generally speaking, food is pretty low on the priority list for short term survival.  Depending on your health and other conditions you can actually survival several weeks without food.  But, while you are waiting for the rescue team to arrive or if your situation may extend beyond a day or two, you might as well keep occupied by repairing damaged equipment and  trying to find some sustenance.  My kit contains the following items:

1.  (1) 18"x24" heavy duty aluminum foil sheet.  This sheet can be used for cooking, sanitizing water, making fishing lures, as a solar reflector, food storage, or a signaling device.

2.  40' spool of military surplus trip wire.  I got this particular spool on eBay.  It is about 2" long and approx 1/2" dia. plastic spool with 2 nails inside the spool.  This wire can sometimes be found on the internet or at local military surplus stores.  If you can't find this kind of trip wire any light gauge brass wire will do.  You should have at least 10' in your kit.  It can be used to repair gear, make snares, lash limbs to make a shelter, replace boot laces, secure equipment, and many other uses.

3.  10' to 12' feet of 100 lb test braided fishing line, the kind you would use for catfishing wound on a floss bobbin.  Cordage is very handy for a variety of purposes. You can get plastic floss bobbins at you local craft or fabric store.  The bobbins are about an 1-1/4" square and have ears that hold the line nicely.  They hold quite a bit of line and don't take up much space. I use a piece of scotch tape to keep them from unraveling inside the pack.

4. 25' or so of 30 lb test Spider Wire braided fishing line wound on a floss bobbin.  Spider Wire is very thin and strong.  The 30 lb test Spider line is the diameter of 8 lb test monofilament.  I like Spider Wire better than mono because it is stronger per diameter, it has less memory on the spool, and it doesn't get brittle with age.  It can be used for fishing line,  sewing thread, lashing cord, or in a pinch even sutures.

5.  (1) #6/0 Stainless steel O'Shaunesy style fish hook with a carpet tack.  This hook can be used for fishing on a line or as a gaff.  You can attach the hook to a limb with the carpet tack driven through the eye and the shank whipped with cord to make a simple gaff.

6.  Small styrofoam fishing float.  People have used a cork and a line to fish for centuries.

7.  About 6' of 2" duct tape.  You can use duct tape to fix just about anything.

8.  Various sizes of safety pins.  Use the pins to repair tears in gear, replace lost buttons, attach gear articles to you jacket to keep them from being lost, use them as a field expedient fish hook, or even in an emergency, to close a wound.

9.  (1) 1/8th oz crappie jig.  A proven fishing lure.  Choose your favorite color.

10.  Spare carpet tack for the gaff hook, just because they're easy to drop and lose.

11.  Fish hook and sinker assortment.  I include (2) each size 6, 8, &10. and (6) split shot sinkers.

12.  (1) sewing needle and a spool of nylon thread.  The nylon thread can be used for repairing torn clothing or gear and is strong enough for light fishing. I actually caught several brook trout in Colorado last year using this thread tied to a limb with one of the #6 hooks and a grasshopper.  Make sure the thread will fit through the needle you select.  In an emergency you can use the needle and thread as sutures (just like Rambo).

13.  Small plastic vial.  This vial holds the small safety pins, crappie jig, tack, fish hooks, sinkers, and needle.  It makes a great little sewing and fishing kit.

14.  15' of 100 lb test waxed braided fishing line (like is used for trot line fishing).  You'll find cordage of all types very handy and should be kept close at hand for lashing, fastening and carrying purposes.

Step 7: The Medical Group

I keep just a few medical items in my pocket survival kit as I normally carry a small first aid kit either in my pack or in the left side cargo pocket of my trousers.  These items are just for minor issues.

1.  Standard 3/4"x3" adhesive bandages.  Use these for minor cuts and scrapes or to cover a foot blister.

2.  (2) Alcohol swabs.  I keep these in the kit more for additional fire tender than anything else.  A spark from the fire steel or lighter will lite them.  They can also be used to clean wounds or to sterilize suturing materials.

3.  (1) packet of toilet paper from an MRE accessory pack.  This can be used for fire starting tender or more important paperwork.

4.  One thing that is missing from this kit that I normally keep in it are water purification tablets.  Normally there would be 4 to 6 tablets in this kit.  The ones I had were old and I haven't replaced them yet.

NOTE:  If you require medication it might be a good idea to include a dose or two in your kit.

Step 8: Final Thoughts

Survival is mostly about overcoming mistakes and bad judgement.  If you had put a map in your pack you might not have gotten lost.  If you had left a trip plan with a responsible party, a rescue team might know that you are overdue and where to look for you.  If you had checked the weather forecast before you left, you might have not gone at all.  Add in a little chaos theory and you may find yourself  in a position to spend an unexpected night or two communing with nature.  As I said before, I've found most commercially produced survival kits woefully inadequate at best and can lead to a false sense of security at worst.  You don't want to risk your life on dime store quality equipment in an emergency.  This is the actual kit I keep in the right side cargo pocket of my trousers whenever I go into the woods.  I have practiced with and used all of the components and know they will not let me down when and if I need them.  This is my bare essentials kit that I keep on my person in the event I get separated from the rest of my gear.  I keep more robust equipment in my pack and additional items in camp and/or in my vehicle.  The distance you venture from home or camp and the length of time you plan to stay will dictate the type and quantity of supplies and equipment you'll need.  I can't guarantee that having this kit will keep you from harm, but it will certainly give you a better chance to overcome the conditions that put you in jeopardy.  Feel free to replicate this kit and modify it and it's components to suit your needs and the areas you travel.  Be safe, be prepared, and fend for yourself.

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    50 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Wondering after six years how many people are still against using cell phones are a survival item. Update posted late April 2017


    3 years ago

    There are survival necessities that should ever be considered, all the gear you require for emergency disaster and preparation survival available in convenient kits. You should consider the essential components had to get your basic resources.

    Survival will be lot easier if you have the knowledge, skills and the equipment’s.

    One of the first things you should do is to create a list of survival gear to keep in your kit. A Great Place to find Survival Tools, resource you need to survive and thrive in any situation. I found this discount code. Use this code "PD10"and save 10%. http://patriotdeals.com/coupon


    4 years ago on Step 8

    I plan on making this because it is nice and compact for quick day hikes. Good explanations


    4 years ago



    6 years ago on Step 2

    Very well thinked kit. I only include this items:

    - On the medica group: a small cyanoacrylate vassel like "Crazy glue" for sealing minor cuts and some antihistaminic ointment for skin allergic reactions.
    - Also I will include a garden size trash bag. It does not add too much weight and it doesn't requires too much space. It can be used as a poncho or as a sleeping bag or mat.


    I'm Sure you seen this but shouldn't you have a compact fixed blade
    like the CKRT mk5?I don't think you would be able to have enough

    The P-38 is more than just a can opener. It can be used as a flat tip screwdriver, it will work as a striker for the flint rod, it can be sharpened to a cutting edge, it can be used to pry open a container, it can be used as a scraper, and a myriad of other uses. You can open a can with a knife blade, but you risk cutting yourself in the process. It will certainly dull the blade and may break it. Is opening a can of beans work breaking one of your most valuable tools when you could carry a P-38 that takes up very little space and weighs very little?

    Your right,that just tells me I need to improvise and think outside the box.But did you know that in China,most of the imported goods are usually 10x more expensive in our currency and the only way to get it is by ordering online.

    Thank you for your time.


    This is a great survival kit but couldn't you just use a knife and still be able to open a can?


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Great kit and very similar to what I carry - though I also have one or two of the tiny anti-diarrhea pills tucked into a strong corner to keep them from turning into powder (like inside thread spool).

    Mosquito wipes. Gnats in the eyes and skeeter bites all over make an annoying situation miserable, harder to think.

    Your kit is heavier on various cordages, I just have about 50' of braided line wound around a small piece of cardboard (which doubles as tinder and notepaper.)

    tried the wire saws, they're more trouble than worth IMO. A good medium knife can do wonders - deeply score branches and break 'em off. If the branch is already off and you want to cut off a chunk then roll the knife to act like a tubing cutter. It's amazing how thick a branch you can cut.

    I learned a lot of knife tricks from Don Paul's "Everybody's Knife Bible"

    I like the carry pouch, I may trade my hard case for one to try it out, though I do like having everything protected from external crushing and internal abrasion on other items. On second thought I'll keep the hard case. Different strokes... :-)

    2 replies

    I keep the imodium and the wipes in my first aid kit. This set was beginning to get too big and bulky. I think you're probably right about the wire saw. There is a saw blade on my multi-tool and I can always beaver a pretty good sized limb with my knife blade if necessary. I have a couple of variations of this kit that I do keep in a hard case, one in my truck and another in my kayak. I keep this one in a cargo pocket, I tried the hard case in my pocket and found it noisy and uncomfortable. I think a hard case would be fine in a pack though. This is what is best about this site, the feedback and exchange of ideas.


    7 years ago on Step 8

    thanks for the thoughtfully-written instructable...its appreciated


    7 years ago on Introduction

    This is very similar to my survival kit. I experimented with many different item choices, cases/containers, and organization "techniques", until I was satisfied with that one.

    But enough about me, now onto your kit. :D

    These are my comments and suggestions for your kit, so please do not be offended. It is merely constructive criticism:

    A) Signaling is well covered - this is probably the most important aspect of the kit

    B) Fire is also well covered - another important aspect

    C) Water Collection is one of the most important elements in any survival kit, next to first aid, signaling, shelter, and fire...and yours needs improvement - you have the tin foil, but say you don't get a fire going...then you're screwed. Add some chlorine dioxide tablets, and then you can either add a ziplock bag, or use your waterproof container for purification/storage in a pinch.

    D) Food Collection is not really a priority - most people with a properly functioning brain are found within 72 hours of being lost, and that would be the worst case scenario. If you live in the United States, "extended survival" situations are about as frequent as plane crashes. Ditch the fishing kit and snare wire.

    E) First Aid is also important, since, if you are sick or injured, you want to live long enough to get rescued - you have the thread and needles for makeshift stitches, and duct tape as a covering. But, I would replace the regular band-aids with a gauze pad and steri-strips. Also, add a packet of antibiotic ointment (infections = bad), Imodium (this is not good for you, but is better than dehydration), and Benadryl (in case you discover a new allergy in the wild).

    F) Repair is well covered - your clothing is your primary shelter

    G) Shelter definitely needs to be addressed. Cordage alone is great, but building a rudimentary debris/brush shelter from raw materials is both difficult and time/energy consuming. Save yourself the trouble and get an orange garbage bag, OR better yet, a Mylar space blanket, and stuff it in your kit. There should be room once you remove the food collection items. String it between two trees and nail it to the ground, and you have yourself both a quick shelter and a signaling device. *Remember, you want to be found, so living in a tree house is not going to help your cause*

    H) Tools - It maybe a personal preference, but I have always preferred lockbacks to liner/frame locks; they are more durable. The small Kabar Dozier is a great high value knife. Get the one with the orange handle, so you don't lose it at night. Also, get a wire saw: it's not necessary, but it will allow you to collect larger pieces of wood, so you are not forced to burn twigs all night.

    4 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I disagree with your dismissal of the fishing gear and snare wire, as well as with your assessment of having little need for certain things simply because you are in the 48 states. Many areas of our Rocky Mountain states are still wilderness, sometimes circumstances can leave one stranded and not expecting rescue in the STATISTICAL average of 3 days. Survival is simply that, staying alive, not statistics.MOST people are found in 72 hours, what if you are not one of those "most" people? Knowing that you made it the 3 days and were NOT rescued will be of little comfort to your hungry belly.I would recommend ditching the float(s), plenty of little pieces of wood around for that. The addition of a mylar blanket is a must, but don't plan on it as a primary shelter in colder weather. All the talk about how much body heat it reflects is great, but it is still only a few mils thick. Mylar is tough, but once it is punctured or torn it rips badly. A structure of limbs or branches with a mylar sheet sandwiched in will offer much better protection. Plastic trash bags are good, but especially bulky for a "pocket" kit. Definitely correct on the need for water disinfecting tabs and plastic bag for water. Most persons are not going to be able to do the Rambo thing and stitch themselves up. Besides, they will most likely only stitch infection into their wounds, Thin strips of tape, holding the wound together would be better, unless one is actually trained on the right way to stitch it, AND has STERILE materials, not just thread, needle and alcohol. I am fully trained and legally qualified to do such things and would not attempt it without the right stuff. I have seen too many infected wounds and even a few amputations caused by the "Rambo Repair". Also, building a basic shelter from available materials is not difficult, IF you have the training and experience.If you do not, go out and learn, and PRACTICE !! Before you need it.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    First of all, I’d like to say that I appreciate your response. It annoys me when people DON’T respond to my posts. But anyway, before I answer your replies, let me just say that I explain everything in greater detail on the page for my survival kit. Now, to begin:

    1) I agree, extended survival situations are, in fact, very possible, but not likely. Now, I only live in Illinois, so correct me if I’m wrong, but the only extended survival situations that I have ever heard of, within the contiguous United States, concerned avalanche victims who were snowed into caves and such – so obviously, fishing and hunting gear would be irrelevant in a circumstance like that. It would be much more realistic to just carry some non-perishable food.

    2) Now, before I go on, keep in mind: this is only a pocket kit. You can’t possibly prepare for every possible situation in a pocket kit, nor can you expect it to last for more than three days, that’s what your main gear is for. Because, if you are going on a trip into the deep wilderness, a pocket kit should only be a supplement to your main gear, to act as a temporary security in case you are separated from it. A pocket kit should only encompass the supplies to address problems that you WILL encounter if you are separated from your gear, not hypothetical problems that you MIGHT eventually encounter. If you get lost, you WILL need navigation, SIGNALING, fire, shelter, and water. You MIGHT need first aid and food. (Obviously though, you would include first aid, just because it is an imminent danger.)

    3) Yes, people with the adequate amount of training can easily build a fire and a bush shelter. However, the type of person who gets lost easily is not the type of person who has survival training, or even common sense for that matter. So without a quick shelter, they are screwed. Besides, even if they do have the training, why bother? You know in advance that you will eventually need a shelter if you are separated from your gear, so why not prepare for it? A simple garbage bag will quickly get you out of the rain, and a space blanket will keep you off the ground and relatively warm. And if it rips, patch it with duct tape – it’s only temporary.

    4) No, water purification tabs aren’t necessary at all…for people like you or me. But once again, the type of person that I described earlier can’t rely on their (lack of) fire-building skills to disinfect their water of pathogens, assuming, of course, that they have enough common sense to not drink the filthy water in the first place. Besides, it’s a waste of time: in the 30 minutes to an hour that it takes to collect deadwood, build a fire, set up a rig to heat the water with (assuming you already have a container), and bring the water to a full boil, you could’ve been that much closer to civilization.

    5) Crude stitches are not at all sanitary, but an infection will take days to kill you, while blood loss will take you in minutes. Now I’ll be honest, I don’t have any formal medical training, but I assume that you’d be more likely to lose your limb from lack of circulation by leaving the tourniquet on for too long, if that is what you meant. Because, I can tell you from many personal experiences that tape alone rarely stops the bleeding, because the adhesive tends not to stick to the slippery surface of the bloody skin. Cauterization would probably be best, assuming that you already had a fire going. But once again, my medical knowledge is very limited.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Don't know what "many experiences" with bleeding you are basing your opinions on regarding bleeding and the control thereof. I'm basing mine on 25 years of medical practice, with license and specialized residency in Emergency Medicine. The primary means of stopping bleeding is, and has always been DIRECT PRESSURE> NO, the tape I referred to had nothing to do with a tourniquet. I was referring to the use of narrow strips of tape use as a substitute for "steristrips" Sutures, or stitches, are not used to stop bleeding, as a rule. On occasion one might use a suture to tie off a bleeding vessel, but it would usually require instruments you are not likely to have when dealing with a survival situation. If bleeding is so severe as to be concerned with dying from blood loss, shock would be more of a concern than trying to stitch up a wound to stop the bleeding. Shock and bloodloss would most likely render you incapable of repairing your injuries with a needle and thread. Any bloodloss that a few stitches with needle and thread will stop, will not be enough to worry about dying over. A tourniquet is rarely advised for trauma anymore. \
    Fire is and always has been one of the first priorities of survival, both for heat, cooking or boiling water, and even more significantly, for a signal. In military survival courses I have taken AND taught, pilots are taught NOT to start fires if the are in hostile areas, because it leads the enemy right to them. In the same way, a lost person will greatly increase the likelihood of being found by lighting a fire. SMOKE BY DAY, FIRELIGHT AT NIGHT.
    No, one cannot prepare for every possibility, but a pocket kit for the sake of a back up "just in case you are separated from your main gear" is a silly notion. A pocket kit is to carry all the time, for those times when you end up in a survival situation and you were not necessarily planning on roughing it in the wild.
    Many more people end up in survival situations than you may think. Many times it does not make the news nationally, but spend some time in wilderness country, and talk to those who volunteer for search and rescue units, or the hunting guides. To presume anyone who is lost or stranded is stupid or untrained, as you suggest, is very uninformed. Things happen all the time. I have attended numerous conferences and training sessions on wilderness survival and wilderness medicine. I have had the privilege of speaking and teaching at several. If a pocket kit is all you have, it needs to be the best it can be. Ideally, anyone going out into the wilderness knowingly, should take at least a good sized waist pack, even for a day hike. A fully stocked backpack if expecting to be overnight. Each should carry as much basic survival gear as is reasonably possible. But MANY times, it just doesn't happen that way. But if they at least have a good pocket kit, they have a good chance.
    By the way, one of the first principles of survival is STAY PUT !!! Your comment about wasting time with a fire or shelter, when you could be getting closer to civilization is very uninformed. It has been shown many times, persons who try to navigate their way out of a survival situation, usually get more confused and more lost. This includes many who had a compass and thought they knew how to use it. But then, they got lost didn't they? That is why they now teach youngsters to "hug a tree". Most adults should do the same.
    A few fishhooks and some line, and a few feet of snare wire take up minimal space, nice to have for those few times you may go past the magic STATISTIC of 3 days.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    1) Like I said, I'm not at all qualified to discuss the field of medicine, so I'll take your word for it.

    2) I was not questioning the usefulness of fire, I was just reasoning that most average people do not possess firestarting skills. Once again, check out my article: I emphasize firestarting tools more than anything else in my kit.

    3) First of all, I was referring to the building of a fire, while on the move, just for the sole purpose of water purification - that is a waste of time, if you're not going to use the fire for anything else. Secondly, I did not mean that shelter building was a waste of time, I meant that it takes time and energy away from other tasks. Plus, it is inefficient. If nighttime is approaching and it has just begun to rain, and you have yet to build a brush shelter, then you are in a bad position. Brush shelters are only good if you have them built in advance, which should've been done anyway, if the person had any common sense.

    4) There is no way to generalize whether or not you should stay put or move, it is completely dependent on your location and situation. If I get lost in a local forest preserve, I know it's only a day's hike to the nearest road. But if I'm in a very large state park, then I would definitely be more apt to stay put and signal for help.

    5) You say that "things happen" to trained people as well. But what things? Nothing is completely random.

    For example: I have about 18 or 19 years of camping and hiking experience, give or take, but I am only self taught - I'm NOT an expert by any means. Nonetheless, I have never actually found myself to ever be truly "lost". Is this just dumb luck? I don't think so. I think that it's because I plan everything in advance: geography, topography, weather, local plants and animals, the route I'm going to take, all of the possible problems that I may encounter - ways to avoid them, ways to solve them, etc. It may take me months to plan a week long trip. I would even go as far to say that I am overly paranoid when it comes to this subject, but regardless, nothing exceedingly bad has ever happened to me as a result of it. Now, accidental injuries do happen, and there's no way to avoid those besides just generally "being careful", but I do honestly believe that anyone who has ever gotten "lost" did so either because of lack of training and/or lack of planning. Both are equally important, but if anything, the planning part is dominant.

    5) By the way, I did include fishing and trapping supplies in my kit, however, my kit is a little bit bigger than this person's. That's why I recommended that he discard some of his to make room for more important gear.

    Once again, thank you for your input, it was greatly appreciated.

    I'm not opposed to cell phones per se, I just don't think they should be relied on as an all purpose survival tool. Mine drops calls on the interstate in the middle of Kansas City. It doesn't work at all in most of the places I hunt. Mine theory is that you shouldn't rely on an unreliable piece of technology. Your map and compass don't need batteries and will function anywhere.