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Thread: My lightweight 2 day survival kit

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    Member Rancid Crabtree's Avatar
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    Default My lightweight 2 day survival kit

    I made this kit a few years back. I teach wilderness survival to the Boys and Girls Scouts. I will have Wilderness survival merit badge weekends where I have the kids make a kit based on what they think they will need to survive 3 days in the wild. (You would be surprised to see what some kids think they need to survive) I stress that they need to make a kit that covers the basics like shelter, water procurement and purification, Signaling, fire starting, first aid and food.The second day they have to make an impromptu shelter and spend a night in it. Spending a night alone in the woods in a shelter that you made, helps remove the biggest fear that people have about getting lost. Here is the kit I made. It weighs six pounds and has 101 items/uses (some items have multiple uses) It even includes a tent that is 4 feet wide by 3 feet tall by 8 feet long.

    The entire kit kits into a fanny pack with multiple pockets. If it is not comfortable and easy to take along, you will end up leaving it at home, or in the truck.



    This is my son Jake modeling the pack





    Here is the left side pockets as packed



    Here is what is in the pockets



    A rain poncho which can also be a shelter and a water gathering device and it's bright orange so it can be a signaling device.
    A Swiss Army multi function knife. (need I say more) 50 feet of mason twine which is by far the strongest and lightest stuff around (use your imagination for it's uses)

    pin

    Compass

    warmers

    A small flashlight

    a few large pieces of aluminum foil folded into small squares which can be used as drinking and cooking utensils

    A deck of cards because boredom will kill you and it stresses the fact that you need to stay still (don't get more lost) You can use them for starting fires too food including homemade granola bars and jerky, beef bullion cubes, sugar packets, gum and hard candy



    The right side pockets as packed



    Here is what is in the pockets.



    Another rain poncho

    A large black plastic garbage bag for shelter and water gathering

    it is wrapped with bright orange signal tape

    A signal mirror (plastic, not glass)

    A whistle

    A PAL survival flashlight which I also use for fire starting

    Water purification tablets

    A bottle of denatured alcohol for fuel for my stove

    a mesh stand for my stove

    The center or main pocket as packed



    Here is what is in the pocket



    The tent which I made from rip stop nylon and waterproofed ( will explain more later )

    A Kutz-All saw ( I will explain more later )

    50 feet of parachute cord

    A Mylar space blanket

    An Altoids tin that contains another saw (I will explain more later) the tin is also the stand for my stove.

    soda can stove ( I will explain later )

    glow stick

    Toilet tissue ( the single biggest moral booster there is ) It is also a fire starter

    first aid kit

    A fire starting kit ( I will explain later) The tin is also a cooking and drinking vessel

    The tent



    Made from rip stop Nylon and bug netting. It has a zippered front entrance.

    The tent poles are made from aluminum arrows that I cut down. They nest together for storage but slide together when assembled

    Tent lines from mason twine

    tent stakes

    A large piece of Tyvek house wrap to act a floor to keep you off the wet ground. (very light weight and very hard to rip )
    This is a pic of the tent made out of blue nylon





    The Kutz-All saw



    It has a hollow handle to store the blades which are really Sawz-all blades including a knife blade

    the zip saw and the tin



    The soda can stove



    This stove, when filled with the denatured alcohol fuel will burn for 25 minutes and bring a container with 2 cups of cold tap water to a boil in 2 1/2 minutes

    The fire starting tin or the tin foil will be the cooking vessels

    The first aid kit is pretty basic but I added an instant scab powder that stop bleeding instantly



    The fire starting kit as packed



    The contents of the kit



    A small flint and steel

    A blast match ( a one handed flint and steel)

    Steel wool, which is the worlds best tinder. I use the 9V battery from the PAL light and the steel wool as a very fast fire starter.
    Small birthday candles

    Wax paper ( another good tinder when wrapped around small sticks and pine needles )

    A butane lighter with a built in light

    Sugar packets and a container of Potassium permanganate. I can eat the sugar or mix it with water to drink. The Potassium permanganate when mixed with sugar makes an excellent fire starter if you use the fire by friction method (bow and drill) It is also a signaling device as it turns bright purple when sprinkled on snow. It is also a water purification powder (an oxidizer) if you use more of it in some water it is an anti bacterial wash

    Water proof/wind proof matches (only one shown)

    A small vile of magnesium shavings for instant and hot fire starting

    Large candles

    Rubber Bands ( I'm not sure why they ended up in the fire kit but still good to have)

    A cotton make up removal pad soaked it melted paraffin wax is another good waterproof tinder

    Alcohol wipes for cleaning and also a good tinder

    fishing kit just fit nicely into the tin as well

    I keep several methods of fire starting in my fire box in my survival kit.

    1. Waterproof/windproof matches

    2. Butane lighter

    3. Blast match

    4. Flashlight (more later)

    5. Steel Wool

    More important that the actual method of striking the flame or the spark is the next step. What do you strike it onto??????????
    Good Tinder is the key. A whole box of matches is useless if your trying to light a log on fire. I think the absolute best tinder in the world is 0000 Steel Wool.

    Steel wool weights almost nothing, compresses/fits into whatever container it's placed in. Works even when wet, Never goes bad, ignites with every known

    spark flame method (even a magnifying glass) It burns really hot, the more you blow in it. The hotter it gets. lasts a long time so it will ignite the next lager pieces of tinder. I tell all my Scouts that Steel wool is the first thing they should put into their fire starting kit.

    The Blast match and the flashlight are about the easiest methods to use for one handed fire starting. Position your steel wool nest into your bundle of tinder and push down with one stroke of the blast match to ignite the wool. You will be amazed at the amount and heat of the sparks generated by the blast match. Blow on the steel wool and add tinder and you will have a fire in no time.





    A similar method is to use my flashlight. It is another good one handed fire starter. For this you need a flashlight that uses a 9 volt battery. other batteries will work too but require two hands to use. I use a PAL light because it is water and shock proof. It is a great light with incredible battery time due to the fact that it uses a singe bright LED. It even has a strobe feature. Take the 9 volt battery out of the light and press the two terminals against the steel wool. BLOW!!!







    My fire kit also contains a small vile of magnesium shavings that I make ahead of time. A survival situation is no time to be doing this with cold shaky hands. (which is another reason I don't care for matches) Sprinkle the magnesium shavings onto the steel wool and you have just boosted the heat range and fire starting capacity in your tinder nest by at least double.

    I am sure I could leave out some redundant stuff and add more. I am always adding and subtracting from the kit.

  2. #2
    Member GrassLakeRon's Avatar
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    Very nice. Total cost?

    Ron
    "Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure science"

    Edwin Hubble

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    Member Rancid Crabtree's Avatar
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    I wish I could recall.

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    Member hogfamily's Avatar
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    Great kit!

    You might consider replacing the zip saw with one of these. They work so much better.


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    Member Rancid Crabtree's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tip. I will check it out.

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    Member GrassLakeRon's Avatar
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    I would market the kit. So many are not as thought out as yours. I keep mine in a similar fanny pack.

    Ron
    "Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure science"

    Edwin Hubble

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rancid Crabtree View Post
    You would be surprised to see what some kids think they need to survive)
    You're not kidding. I used to teach Wilderness Survival Merit Badge, and I once took a Costco sized jar of peanut butter out of a kid's pack.

    I'm impressed with your packing skills. My fanny pack (Black's Creek All American) is way bigger than yours, has suspenders and a sternum strap, but probably doesn't have as munch as you have in yours. Mine weighs in at 20 lbs, but that counts 3 qts of water + food for the dog.

    Funny someone should ask the total price. I was just thinking about that for insurance purposes as I am about to toss mine in checked bags at United next week...mine is.....took me a few minutes to estimate it all.....I stopped at $700 (price includes the pack) but I didn't include my hand held Ham radio (another $350) or my GPS (another $250). So, yeah, about $1300. Hmmmmm....all of a sudden, I wish someone hadn't asked that question.

    Edit. Forgot my head lamp. Add in another $75.

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    Member GrassLakeRon's Avatar
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    Well when the misses asked "how much this will cost?" I need to "survive" the response.

    Ron
    "Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure science"

    Edwin Hubble

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrassLakeRon View Post
    Well when the misses asked "how much this will cost?" I need to "survive" the response.

    Ron
    I hear ya! Part of my problem (is it really a problem?) is that there is very little budget priced "Wal Mart" stuff in my pack.

    Instead of a $20 Energizer headlamp from Wal-Mart, I have a $75 Princeton Tech headlamp from REI, etc.

    The next thing I want to add is an ACR Personal Locator Beacon. I'm waiting for my REI member coupon in March, in combination with my REI dividend and tax return to buy one. I once read, in a similar discussion in this forum, where someone wrote something to the effect of "A PLB can turn what would have been a 2 week fight for survival into a 4 hour wait for your helicopter ride home."

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    Well, I was bored today lol. But ths is the time I year I go through all of my tools, gear, and equipment, and inspect, clean and repair everything as needed. I was somewhat motivated by this thread and the OP to take a few photos as I inventoried and replaced stuff in my pack to post up my rig here-just for the sake of general discussion or to give and get better ideas.

    So this is my hike, camp, hunt, fish, paddle, walk in the woods lumbar day pack. With water it weighs in right at 26 pounds. I carry spare clothes and rain gear in the eVent compression sack you attached to the webbing. That clears out room inside the pack and makes it easier to access the rain gear in a hurry.
    CIMG0226.jpg


    I like the pack a LOT. It's easy and comfortable to carry and has good support for the weight in the bag. I wish the zippers were bigger and tougher, not that I've had any problems with them, but otherwise seems to be well sewn. Unfortunately, they stopped making this pack about two years ago. I got it a Sportsman's on super quadruple markdown plus clearance sale. It was still $50, down from $150.
    CIMG0227.jpg

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    This photo is the "guts" of the bag. Everything from the middle of the table to the left goes in the main compartment, and everything from the middle to the right goes in one of the outside compartments.

    Toilet paper, disposable wipes, and hand sanitizer-I didn't plan for that to be number one on the list, but perhaps it was a Freudian slip.

    Rolled up plastic visqueen in rubber bands. 6x6 in size. Use for emeregency shelter or ground cloth for cleaning game animal. I'd like to replace this with a GI poncho (the heavy rubberized ones from the Vietnam era) but they are expensive and hard to find. That might let me eliminate my rain gear as well.

    Food. I always carry two of those builder bars from Cliff. I like them better than the original cliff bars as they taste better and have twice the protein in each one. I usually carry some fruit/nut mix and sometimes I'll toss in some smoked salmon. The little can below is deviled ham. I've thought of replacing some of this (the canned ham) with one of those freeze dried, single serving "pro packs" from Mtn. House to save weight, but those require starting a fire, boiling water, bla bla bla. I like having rip open and eat stuff. Oh yes, and a spoon of course.

    Water. Next tot he deviled ham is a bottle of those water purification tabs. Aquapure. Yea, I know it tastes horrid, but its' way smaller and lighter than a katadyn filter. (Which I carry on backpacking/camping/hunting trips anyway.) I also carry 2-3 qts of water. I have a 2 qt Platypus bladder and hose and, on occasion, I'll carry a third qt in a canteen.

    Lighting: Headlamp at the top I mentioned in an earlier post. I've competely stopped carrying a traditional flashlight. I also carry one of those light sticks, but this is more for signalling than lighting. Tie some 550 cord to that light stick and swing it in circles in the air-makes a big light show.

    Notice, next to the light stick 3 tent pegs. These are for cooking or boiling water. Push these in the ground and put those trioxaine fuel tabs between them with the GI canteen cup over top. Makes a nice little camp stove without carrying a camp stove. PS: carry those fuel tabs wrapped in aluminum foil and then a zip lock bag or they'll eventually make everything smell like fuel.

    Fire starter: beside the trioxaine (those are actually Nesbit solid fuel tabs-same stuff tough) I carry those two waterproof match boxes. One actually has matches. (UCO or REI brand "storm proof" matches-they burn big and burn long-so much so my son's scoutmaster doesn't let him use them on scout trips.) The other case has cotton balls (dryer lint from cotton only laundry also works great) soaked in vaseline. Those also burn big.

    Signaling mirror and whistle.

    Knives/tools: I've always got that swiss army knife with me, and I usually keep that sharpener (no oil required) in there. If I'm hunting, I also have a folding skinning knife and a folding knife with a gut hook. (not shown.) I sometimes will carry a hand axe (not shown) (garden variety wood handle from Home depot) attached to the outside of the pack. I'm considering replacing this with either an Estwig with all steel handle (more reliable) or an Air Force survival knife instead.

    Back to top, GI canteen cup. I like having a metal cup because I put over a fire. Good luck boiling water or something in a plastic nalgene.

    Bug spray. Self explanatory, but that must be my son's bottle as it's 30% whereas I never use anything less than 100% deet. (this is why I go through the bag each winter-this is the kind of stuff I find.)

    First aid kit. I made this one myself and included one of those "trauma packs" (blood clotter) for sever bleeding. I also carry additional minor stuff like bandaids, neosporin, and advil (not shown) in the same zipper pocket as that for minor stuff without having to dump that fully stocked kit. I didn't trust a plain old zip lock bag for keeping the first aid kit dry, so I bought a waterproof float type bag.

    Basic emergency type blanket. Not that I think these are awesome or anything, or that they'll save at 20 below, but they're better than nothing small and lightweight, so easy to store and carry.

    550 cord. A million and one uses. Self explanatory.

    GPS and a VHF/UHF Ham (Amateur) radio. I can hit most of the repeaters in south central AK with it to call for help, and it also works on other bands beside amateur. Thinking of adding a directional antenna for it.

    Other items not shown (because I forgot to pull them out of or off of the pack) a GI compass and a 35mm film case that holds fish line (a lot, like 25'- boy was it a pain to get in there), a few split shot sinkers, and some treble hooks. Thinking of eliminating the fishing gear as I have a hard enough time caching fish with a spinning rod, never mind a makeshift kit like that.

    Lastly, if I'm out upland bird hunting with my dog, I also carry a qt of water for him in that nalgene gi type canteen, 3 cups of dog food, and a collapsible bowl, as well as some jerky treat for him. That's the only time I carry that canteen; I don't use it for me.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    And finally my spare clothes bag, which I carry strapped to the pack webbing. I use the XS size Sea to Summit eVent bag for this. I LOVE these eVent bags. Being able to squeeze air out of the bottom of the bag makes it soooo much easier to compress than those other roll type float bags. I have at least 8-10 of these bags in various sizes. I carry EVERYTHING in them. Only trouble is they are all the same color so, on at least one trip, I grabbed what I though was my sleeping bag, but turned out to be spare clothes, so I slept in the back of the truck with no bag for a night. AAAAAAnyway...

    These are simple spare clothes in case I dump the canoe or somehow get drenched.

    On top is the rain gear for easy access. (I'd love to find better rain gear)
    Beneath that are the gloves, neck gaiter, and wool hat.
    Then the smart wool socks.
    The polypro thermal tops and bottoms.

    (Basic clothing one should carry due to the quick and severe weather changes we have up here.)
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    The only other thing I didn't mention was bear deterrent and firearms. I always carry the large size Counter Assault Bear Spray in a holster strapped to the chest sternum strap on the pack. (I didn't show it because it was in the garage and I didn't want to go get it. You all know what it looks like.) I will also often (not always) carry a lever-action rifle withe those HSM bear loads in it, but it's 357 so not what I would call a bear gun, but better than nothing. I say use the spray first. I'm also getting set up to carry a small caliber revolver on the off chance I get to shoot a hare or something. Speaking of which, I also always carry at least one pair of heavy rubber gloves and a pair latex gloves for fish cleaning/game dressing.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by FL2AK-Old Town View Post

    GPS and a VHF/UHF Ham (Amateur) radio. I can hit most of the repeaters in south central AK with it to call for help, and it also works on other bands beside amateur. Thinking of adding a directional antenna for it.
    I carry one of these antennas :

    http://www.n9tax.com/Slim%20Jim%20Info.html

    They have much more gain than an HT antenna and pulling them up into a tree gives you a much better radio horizon. My comparison testing with other antennas really shocked my friends.

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    Quote Originally Posted by springer View Post
    I carry one of these antennas :

    http://www.n9tax.com/Slim%20Jim%20Info.html

    They have much more gain than an HT antenna and pulling them up into a tree gives you a much better radio horizon. My comparison testing with other antennas really shocked my friends.
    Awesome. Yeah we call that a roll-up 2 meter J-pole. QST published plans on how to build them from 300 ohm ladder wire, very similar to the one you have there. I also like the Arrow brand 146-BP (backpack portable) which is a 2 meter, 4 element 9db yagi with a 3 piece boom. Works awesome on a HT. (not as easy to stow in a pack.) It also works for Marine Band.

    Since I posted this, however, I went ahead and sprang for the Arctex PLB.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FL2AK-Old Town View Post
    I will also often (not always) carry a lever-action rifle withe those HSM bear loads in it, but it's 357 so not what I would call a bear gun, but better than nothing.
    Also since posting this, I upgraded to a 44 Mag Win 94 lever gun. =)

  17. #17
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Nice kit.

    Minor critique:
    50' of twine, no matter how strong, isn't enough for shelter construction in other that optimum conditions. I would triple it to 3 50' bundles.

    Camo~Camo knives and camo lighters and camo this and camo this is great until you drop it and can't find it again. The stuff in my kit is shiny or hi-viz. To that effect I always recommend folks carry a bright cloth like an old, ladies scarf--preferably in a solid color. This gets laid out first as a catch for items that may fall out of the kit, since most guys' kits are packed pretty full. If big enough it can double as a sling, or it can be used to pre-strain water.

    I'm curious about all the redundancy in terms of multiple methods to accomplish the same task i.e. fire starters. I was always taught to focus on simple and reliable. Having said that, if the focus here is teaching/demonstrating various techniques in the field this kit is perfect.
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by FL2AK-Old Town View Post
    Awesome. Yeah we call that a roll-up 2 meter J-pole. QST published plans on how to build them from 300 ohm ladder wire, very similar to the one you have there. I also like the Arrow brand 146-BP (backpack portable) which is a 2 meter, 4 element 9db yagi with a 3 piece boom. Works awesome on a HT. (not as easy to stow in a pack.) It also works for Marine Band.

    Since I posted this, however, I went ahead and sprang for the Arctex PLB.
    I would rather depend on a PLB or sat phone also. I know how to make a ladder line jpole, I bought this becuase the guy does a great job with fit and finish. I think it's mecahnically stronger than something I could make. I also have the arrow yagi antenna, but it is a bit much to carry frequently. I have the radios just to geek out with, I think that there are better ways to call for help today.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Erik in AK View Post
    Nice kit.

    Minor critique:
    50' of twine, no matter how strong, isn't enough for shelter construction in other that optimum conditions. I would triple it to 3 50' bundles.

    Camo~Camo knives and camo lighters and camo this and camo this is great until you drop it and can't find it again. The stuff in my kit is shiny or hi-viz. To that effect I always recommend folks carry a bright cloth like an old, ladies scarf--preferably in a solid color. This gets laid out first as a catch for items that may fall out of the kit, since most guys' kits are packed pretty full. If big enough it can double as a sling, or it can be used to pre-strain water.

    I'm curious about all the redundancy in terms of multiple methods to accomplish the same task i.e. fire starters. I was always taught to focus on simple and reliable. Having said that, if the focus here is teaching/demonstrating various techniques in the field this kit is perfect.
    I think, to point, redundancy can be a good thing, but not if over burdens my load. For me, carrying multiple firs starters stems from teaching Wilderness Survival Merit Badge; one of the requirements of the kit build is to have at least two distinct ways to start a fire. And, to look at that, it makes sense for something as important as fire building (especically in our colder environs up here). I'm not going to carry two of everything or two of something that is very heavy. Like Springer said, now that I have my PLB, the ham radio is for "geeking out" purposes only. As for the 50' of twine, that's why I like 550 cord so much; if I have to, I can unstrand the inside and get 7 strands times however long my cord is.

    I totally agree with you on the whole "camo" thing. Easy to loose. Moose aren't going to see your blaze orange knife in your pack, so why do you need a cam handle?

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    By the way, speaking of "redundancy" here is something else to discuss. I currently also have a hand axe (hatchet/whatever) that goes on the bottom of that pack. Probably a good 3 almost 4 lbs. I've been thinking of swapping for something lighter, such as the smallest hatchet that Estwing makes or an Air Force Survival knife. I can "baton" firewood or limb trees with the knife, but the axe works so much better for that. I'd like to have the knife, "cuz it's cool" but am having a hard time justifying it from a practicality viewpoint. Anyone have any thoughts on that conundrum?

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