How to Make a Survival Kit
In creating a survival kit, remember to is to keep it simple, because when it comes to survival, it’s easy to get lost in the world of options. Also, keep it small. You’ll be more likely to take a lightweight, compact kit with you, even on small outings, than you will a large bulky kit.
#1 Emergency Contact. Let someone know where you’ll be going and when you’ll be back.
#2. Proper Clothing. Bring layers for the most extreme weather you’ll be facing for the season. In the summer and warmer climates, that can usually be accomplished with two layers. You should be able to survive in cold winter weather with just 3 to four layers. Have at least one brightly colored layer that would be easy to spot in an emergency.
#3. Map. It’s not enough to have a map. In case you loose the map, Always have an exit strategy before you start and know whether you need to head East, West, North or South to the nearest road, unobstructed by natural obstacles such and canyons or rivers. And if you become lost, stay put, make noise, be seen.
#4 Compass. You don’t need to have a super fancy compass. You likely won’t be trying to find way points. You just need to be headed in the right direction.
#5 Food. Bring enough food to last the duration of your outing, plus one day. The extra can be as simple as several high energy protein bars or a sandwich bag filled with Good Old Raisins and Peanuts.
#6. Water container. Use a metal or plastic container that can store enough water to sustain you through your trip, or between water sources. Many survivalist say to use a metal water container so you can sterilize your water by boiling it, but it’s difficult to find a sealed metal container that isn’t lined with some sort of plastic which is meant to minimize corrosion and a metallic flavor to the water.
#7. Water Purification. Boiling water takes a lot of energy. Finding wood, collecting water, boil watering, and then cooling water…. with a broken leg could take hours. On the other hand, it takes almost no time to insert a lightweight filter straw into nearly any water source and drink. Ultra violet water purifiers are nearly as fast and allow you to purify more water at once- there’s nothing like taking big gulps of water when you are really thirsty. Water pumps are another good option, but a bit heavier. Use iodine pills as a last resort because they taste terrible, which could add to an already uncomfortable situation.
#8. Flint or lighter. Firesteel is nearly indestructible and diehards survivalist will tell you it’s the only option. However, flint can be tricky for even the experienced, it requires very dry tinder, and a knife or steel to light. A Bic lighter on the other hand can add speed in a desperate situation because it combines fire steel, striker and fuel. They usually work when they are wet, but if you are really concerned pack two in a ziplock bag.
#9. Knife. A knife is especially helpful in gathering fuel when it’s wet. A knife that also has a saw blade makes it possible to gathering wood from small standing dead trees and branches that are drier inside because they are not absorbing moisture on the ground.
#10. Headlamp. Make sure your headlamp has a blinking option, so it can be set out as an emergency light beacon. It’s always a good idea to have a spare set of batteries too.
#11. Whistle. You can only yell for help for about 15 to 30 minutes before loosing your voice, whereas a small whistle can be blown indefinitely with little effort.
#12. First Aid. A basic first aid kit should include bandaids, ibuprofen and a compression wrap
#13. Emergency Blanket. For most situation, a light Mylar Emergency or Space Blanket is sufficient. Just make sure to get a new one every year because the edges of the thin plastic easily wears as its jostled around in your pack while you hike. More active outdoor enthusiasts might prefer a thicker Emergency Bivvy or Tarp that is reflective on one side and brightly colored on the other to signal for help. An Emergency Tarp is better for extreme weather or regular use as an alternative shelter to tent camping.
#14. Cellphone or Emergency Beacon: Cellphones are a great tool for summoning help, if you have cellphone coverage. Many people get themselves in trouble by assuming they’ll have coverage in the wilderness, but thats often not the case. An emergency satellite beacon is an excellent alternative since it will work in nearly every location open to the sky. However, subscription costs are a detomrant to some and electronic devices should never be completely relied on since they have batteries and can malfunction.
#15. Make a list of these items and check them regularly when packing and keep in mind that many wilderness emergency occur after a series of safety measures fail. Making sure you have all your safety gear in place increases your chance of survival.