The fine folks over at Field & Stream created an incredibly thorough glossary of DIY survival kits. Some are excessive, some are minimal, some unnecessary; but all together they offer a rad starting point for you own stow-away kit based on your own specific needs. Take a look, make a kit! Let us know how it goes and where you take it!
Make Your Own: Three Steps to a Life-Saving Kit
Think about skills – Focus not on the components but on the tasks you’ll want them to perform. In a survival situation, you’ll need to do most of the following: build a fire, construct a shelter, collect and purify drinking water, gather food, signal for help, navigate back to civilization, and administer basic first aid. Once you know what types of functions you must be prepared to carry out, you can select the proper items.
Pick your tools – Choose at least one component from each of the groups below. Some items can meet the requirements of more than one. Fine-tune your selection to match your location or the season, and remember that you may want more than one item from certain categories. For example, I always bring at least three ways to start a fire. Fire and Light: matches, disposable lighter, flint and striker, magnesium fire starter, tinder, candle, and a magnifying lens. For the latter: flashlight, headlamp, and chemical light sticks. Shelter and Personal Protection: survival blanket, poncho and rain gear, tarp, tube tent, parachute cord, headnet, hat, extra clothes, sunglasses, sunscreen, lip balm, and bug repellent. Water and Food: basic needs are water purification tablets or a filter, and a water container. Add snare wire and fishing kits for food collection, plus emergency rations, a small cup or pot, and a small stove. Signaling: signal mirror, whistle, smoke signals, flares, dye markers, and emergency strobe.Navigation: compass, maps, and GPS unit. Knives and Tools: knives, saw, trowel, and shovel. Medical: first-aid supplies for wound management, like bandages and first-aid ointment; plus antibiotics, pain medicine, and personal medications. Multipurpose: aluminum foil, wire, duct tape, large garbage bags, bandanna, surgical tubing, zip-seal bags, dental floss, sewing thread and needles, glue stick, and safety pins can all fill more than one function. Miscellaneous items include a survival manual, knife sharpener, thermometer, pencil and paper, toilet paper, and a cellphone.
Build your kit – Determine what size kit you want to carry, then decide on what you’ll pack everything into. This can be a tin, a waterproof container, or a soft case such as a belt pouch, waist pack, or backpack. For mini kits, I usually prefer a tin, like the kind that Altoids come in; since you don’t have room for a cup, you can use it to boil water. To make a mini kit, select the smallest components from each group. Be innovative when choosing items. Repackage them compactly if necessary, and whenever possible, select things that can perform more than one function.
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