In a previous article, I proposed the idea that instead of thinking of survival knives as a single, all-purpose, tool, that you instead think it them as a three part system consisting of a heavy duty chopping too, a camp knife, and a bushcraft knife because the all-purpose survival knife concept simply does not work very well. However, the same concept seems to exist in people’s minds when it comes to survival kits and thus, instead of thinking of your survival kit as a single, all-purpose kit, I suggest that you also think of it as a three part system just like survival knives. In fact, when I venture into the wilderness, my three part survival kit system consists of the items I have in my pockets, the items I have in my survival kit, and the items I have in my day pack.
While I would never actually choose to be limited to the survival items that I carry in my pockets, I personally consider them to be my most essential items because, as long as I have those items, I can build a fire to provide both warmth and light and I can obtain enough food to maintain my health. Thus, all I would be lacking at that point is shelter and, because I know how to build a debris shelter, I can also create a warm, dry, space for myself with no more than the items I carry in my pockets. Therefore, I carry a butane lighter as well as waterproof matches in a waterproof container, a Stockman pattern pocket knife, a large, folding, camp knife, a DMT Duo-fold diamond hone, a small medicine bottle with monofilament fishing line, snelled hooks, and lead split-shot sinkers, and a couple of pre-formed snares made from lightweight, stainless steel, wire. That way, even if the worst happens and I somehow lose either my backpack or my survival kit or even both at the same time, I still have the bare essentials necessary for survival in my pockets.
Next, there are the items that I carry in my survival kit which I have packed into a U.S. military surplus canvas pouch that has an interior that has been coated with a rubber film to make it waterproof that I carry on a military surplus utility belt along with two military surplus canteens. Of course, because I have more room in my survival kit than I do in my pockets, the items that I carry in my survival kit are far more varied than those I carry in my pockets and I even have them divided into various categories such as items for making a fire which include a butane lighter, a magnifying glass, and fire starter blocks, items for procuring food such as fishing tackle, snare wire, and atlatl dart heads, first aid items such as a hiker’s first aid kit, a tube of antibiotic ointment, and water purification tablets, items to help provide shelter from the elements such as string and/or cord, an emergency rain poncho, and a mylar sleeping bag and last, a compass to help me find my way along with a signal mirror and a coach’s whistle to enable me to signal rescue personnel.
Last, there are the items that I carry in my day pack because they are too bulky to fit into my survival kit but which are also absolutely essential to wilderness survival. For instance, I carry a Personal Locator Beacon, extra food, a portable water filter, a small flashlight, a folding pruning saw, fleece underwear, and a fleece sweater among other items. That way, I have an emergency food source if I need it, a means of removing microbial contaminates from any water I may find, a means of seeing where I am going after dark, a means of cutting firewood, and warm clothes to put on after dark. Plus, if I know that am going to be venturing in an area where there are creeks that contain fish, I also have an ultra light, 5-piece, spinning rod and a box of single hook spinning lures that I can include.
So, as you can see, by thinking of your survival kit as a three-part system just like your survival knives, you will be far better prepared to handle any wilderness emergency that may arise; be a matter of wondering off of the trail to explore a particularly interesting feature of the terrain and then becoming lost to incurring a bite from a poisonous insect or reptile to a fall resulting in serious injury. Thus, because these are all common situations that are experienced by hikers each year, you should always be prepared when venturing into the wilderness by carrying a three-part survival kit system.
Leave me a comment with your thoughts!