Do It Yourself Survival Kits

Typically wilderness survival kits have first aid items, ways to make fire, a blade of some sort, and some water purification tablets. That’s the minimum in any case, and there are certainly other items in almost any kit that you buy. But of course not everyone is going into the same kind of terrain during the same seasons and engaging in the same activities. In other words, you might not find a kit that has just what you need in it. The solution? Build your own.To start with, you need a good nylon pouch or zippered bag to hold everything. You can start stocking it with the usual items. These should include matches, some other form of fire starter (lighter or magnesium stick), a signal reflector, whistle (also for signaling), water purification tablets, a compass, a knife, some cord, duct tape, paper, a pencil, needle and thread, safety pins, bandages, aspirin, gauze pads, sun block, antibiotic ointment, medical tape, tweezers, and moleskin.

Next, consider the types of environment you are normally going to be in. If you often hike in the desert, for example, a large garbage bag or piece of plastic might be a good idea. It can be used to make a solar still if you need water.

If you canoe to isolated locations far from civilization, fishing gear might be a good addition. A few rolls of line and a half-dozen hooks and split-shot sinkers will add only an ounce or so to the weight of the kit. This better prepares you to feed yourself should your other supplies get washed away.

If you do a lot of cold-weather backpacking you might include an emergency “survival blanket.” One of the metallic-plastic ones might weigh only a few ounces, yet work to warm you as well as keep the rain off of you.

If you hike in the mountains and are prone to twisted ankles or knee problems, add an ace bandage. If the metal hooks snag on things in your kit, you can leave them behind and just tuck the wrap into itself. I also sometimes carry an elastic knee-brace that weighs just a few ounces.

If you travel very far from roads or civilization in general, food can be a great addition as well. Find some granola bars or something else that has an expiration date a year away or more. That way you can leave the emergency food in your survival kit between trips, so you don’t forget it.

If you travel in cold wet places, add a good fire tinder that will light when wet. This could be cotton balls soaked with petroleum jelly, cardboard soaked in wax, or something similar. Alcohol-based gel hand sanitizer can help wet things burn as well (and can be used as a disinfectant).

Finally, consider making small survival kits for your pocket. Losing gear is not that uncommon, but you rarely lose the clothes you are wearing. This kind of kit should have aspirin, waterproof matches, a bandage, and a small amount of duct tape. You can add other items, but keep the whole thing small enough and light enough to comfortably carry in a pocket.

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