Survival Tip – Basic Survival Kits

survival kit

Howdy NW Tactical Family,

Today will be talking about basic survival kits. You should always have a survival kit ready to go in a closet and also if possibly one in each car you own.

There is no such thing as the perfect survival kit. The right kit will vary depending on the nature of the trip or disaster. In general, it should be simple, small, affordable, functional, and waterproof. Most of all, in the hands of someone lost in the wild, it should be as familiar as a razor or a toothbrush. Any kit prepared for use in an emergency should be field tested before it’s needed. A wire saw for cutting limbs should be field tested in your backyard, a magnesium rod should be sparked in your fireplace or on a routine camping trip even if you have plenty of matches around. Having a kit but never using it until “do or die” day is like jumping on skis for the first time and heading to a black-diamond slope(which in my case I have actually done, but not on purpose. My friends took me on a double black-diamond on my first snowboarding trip. Lets just say I ended up walking down 3/4 of the mountain do to a gear malfuntion).

Items that can serve a multitude of uses are most desirable because they conserve space and weight. Remember those two commodities are very important especially weight. You do not want to hauling around a ton of weight if you are lost and weak. The boy scouts red scarf is a great example. It can be drawn across surfaces to collect dew for drinking, soaked in a stream to cool the head, knotted to make an arm sling or ankle brace, or used as a signal flag. Also like my previous post, paracord has many different uses such as snare to catch wild animals for food, it can be used as shoe laces, it can be used to tie up food high in a tree to keep away from bears, you can pitch a tent with it, it can be used a turniquit. Items such as these are very important and take the time to figure out things that can be used for multiple purpose. Elastic Bandages can be used in splints and as part of the treatment for snakebite. A shiny space blanket can be used for creating an emergency shelter, signaling to a seach-and-rescue team, or melting snow and ice to make drinking water. Get creative and have some fun.

Crucial items such as a stout knife(read some of my earlier blog post to find a good knife for you, all the ones I have done are great for survival purposes so choose the one that you like best and fits your needs), a compass, and a whistle to attract attention should be tied to paracord and hung around your neck, or you can contact me and I will be more then happy to make you a paracord braclet that has a whistle that is part of the clasp. Its a two in one item that takes up no room in your kit and weighs next to nothing. If you are in survival situation, water and shelter likely will be your greatest needs. A kit that includes the means to purify water and provide for an emergency shelter is invaluable. Some things that you should keep in your kit are…

  • First aid items, I recommend buying a simple first aid kit that comes in a small case for car kits and a bigger one for home kits
  • Water purification tablets or drops such as iodine. You can also have a purification system but those are kinda bulky and space is your best friend.
  • Fire-Starting equipment, magnesium rod will be the best since it will work even if wet, metal matches or wood matches, zippo lighter
  • Signaling items, such as a small hand mirror, flare gun, or a folding red panel.
  • shelter items, such as a tent, or hammock, or even as simple as a canvas blanket that can be drapped over some paracord to create a tent when tied down
  • knife – i recommend having two knives. You will want a small knife like the ESEE Candiru for everyday tasks and simple slicing or cutting and also a survival knife such as the SOG SEAL Pup for protection or bigger tasks also the SOG SEAL Pup is extremely light and remember weight is your enemy so the lighter the better.
  • Needle and thread, paracord has 7 threads inside the outer sheath that will double as thread and fishing wire
  • Wrist compass
  • Fish and snare lines are good to have since they are specific for that purpose but paracord can be used and will save room. I would recommend to just use paracord
  • fish hooks or if you do not have them you can use a paperclip or a safety pin.
  • Candle
  • small hand lens
  • solar blanket
  • surgical blades
  • water bladder or plastic bottles. Water bladders are recommended cause when empty they take up virtually no room and weigh next to nothing. Be careful not to puncture the bladder cause it will be a major lifeline.
  • High calorie and protein foods such as powerbars and granola. Non-perishable items
  • flashlight, hand crank radio
  • glow sticks
  • sleeping bag
  • hand warmers, they don’t seem important but a little warmth will go a long ways in lifting your spirits and keeping you going
  • Utility tools, one of those leatherman 16 in 1 tools
  • waterproof folding poncho
  • duct tape
  • note pad and pencil
  • hygeine supplies such as a bar of soap and deoderant
  • Playing cards. This doesn’t seem like it will save your life but it will save your sanity. Small games go a long ways to keeping you alert and your spirits up.
  • Batteries, make sure to have a few of every kind. Do not bring items that rely solely on batteries but if you do have something in the kit that requires them make sure to have backups. A good rule of thumb is to bring electronics that can be hand cranked or solar powered.
  • my favorite Para-Cord atleast 50 feet, i recommend a 100 feet though.

Also I personally recommend to have a weapon of some sort available to use incase you need to protect you and your family or to hunt for food. If it is a car kit make sure you carry weapons that are legel(read your local laws regarding weapons). In a car kit have a survival/tactical knife or a gun that is safely secured in your vehicle. If you do decide to have a weapon in your vehicle spend the extra money to have it safely secured somewhere that you are the only one who knows where it is and make sure that it is locked and out of sight and reach of children. I also recommend have a weapon at home, which is a personal opinion and I understand if you do not feel comfortable having firearms in your home especially if you have children. You should always have your weapons in a safe that is locked at all times. You can also have bow and arrows or blow guns which are great weapons when used correctly but make sure to practice. Also bow and arrows can last longer then firearms and are easier to make ammo for then a gun. You can make an arrow out of sticks and you can buy arrow tips for really cheap.

You do not need every single item I listed above but make sure to have most of them. If its a car kit then you can pair down to the essentials. If it is a home kit then have as much stuff as possible and remember to have plenty of clean drinking water. It is recommended to have one gallon per person a day. So plan accordingly and have about a weeks supply of fresh water, and canned non-perishable foods that are high in calories and protein. All the items should be put in a bag or backpack of some kind, even if its a home kit just incase you need to leave the safety of your home. All bags and backpacks should be easy to carry and most important be waterproof and fire resistant if possible.

So in conclusion remember light and small is better, and do not have items that do the same function. If you have paracord then do not bring rope, if you have metal matches do not bring wood matches, and most of all when you are putting the kit together get creative and have some fun. Even though you will use this kit when the shit hits the fan doesn’t mean you can’t have fun putting it together, and if you have a family make sure everyone is involved in putting it together and testing the equipment so that they will know how to use it incase you are not there to do it for them. Also last but defiinitely not least make sure to have a list of everything that is in the bag/kit incase you don’t use it for a long time. Also try not to borrow things out of the kit, because most of the time it doesn’t get replaced and you will be kicking yourself when push comes to shove and you don’t have something that you need.

Thanks again for joining me, please leave comments, or if you like this please share using the buttons below. Also make sure to click on the follow button so you don’t miss out on great survival/tactical tips and reviews on gear.

Survival Tip of the Day!!! Finding Water in the Mountains.

Hey Y’all,

Today the survival tip of the day will be about finding drinking water in the mountains and the importance of hyrdation.

In thin air, the human body works harder to supply oxygen to the blood stream. The body accelerates breathing to maintain a steady intake of oxygen from an air-starved enviroment. Each exhalation removes moisture from the body. Cold mountain air also is drier than warm, sea-level air, adding to the bodies water losses. Dehydration swiftly overtakes the novice mountain traveler. Climbers must drink vast amounts of water just to maintain equilibrium. Carrying two quarts on a daylong mountain hike in moderate temperatures is recommended. Rushing streams typically flow out of mountain ranges. They, like other water sources in the wild, should be purified before drinking. Snow and ice should be melted to make drinking water. Sucking on a ball of snow may satisfy thirst for a while, but the cold robs the body of heat, speeds dehydration, and causes injuries to the mouth. Snow scooped from the ground may also contain microorganisms.

When in the mountains look for water from these sources. Rocky ground may have water running beneath, also look for springs and babbling brookes, and porus limestone encourages seepage. Cliff Bases also have water pooling at the bottom due to run-off. Clay bluffs are usually great sources cause clay holds water. Green vegatation on a canyon wall may indicate its presence as well. Dry streambeds my look like a deadend but don’t be fooled, dig at the outside of the stream elbows; water may be just below the surface. Beware of water near old mine shafts and ore dumps, it likely is contaminated. Mr. Yuck 😦 says stay away!!! Some other sources of water are fresh flower steams(remember to purify), these may be hard to find in the mountains especially if its cold and snow but hey you may get lucky and a little luck can go a long way in a survival situation. You might see in pop culture some commando drinking blood or his own urine to stay hydrated, this is hollywood at its worst. Do not drink it. Most animal blood contains a lot of protein and will require more of your bodies moisture to process digestion, it also may contain diseases and also salt. Urine contains harmful body wastes as well as salt which will increase dehyrdation. A few places you wouldn’t think to find water is in fish, fish have a column of fresh water along thier spines as well as drinkable moisture in their eyes.

Choose ice over snow for melting into drinking water. Ice lacks the insulating air pockets of snow. Thus, ice contains a greater volume of water, which will be released with less heat. Snow near the ground is better for melting than snow near the crust. Compaction increases water yeild it also has less dirt and bacteria. Glaciers are rivers of ice. They flow from the tops of high mountains toward lower elevations. Streams emerge from their leading edges; water collected there should be strained to remove grit and dirt. Glacier ice may look clean, but there is no guarantee it is free of microorganisms. When in doubt, purify drinking water. A good rule of thumb is to purify, purify and more purifing.

To purify snow and ice boil vigorously. Also you can disinfect with iodine or chlorine tablets. Filtration is another method but it is very important to have openings no bigger then .4 microns wide, this is the size of bacteria membranes that will be caught in the filter.

Dehydration is common and very dangerous. If you lose only 5% of your body fluids it will cause weakness, nausea, and irritability, your pulse will increase, and skin will become flush, and your judgement may become impaired. When your body losses up to 10% of its fluids it will cause headaches, dizziness, and tingling in your limbs. Sufferers may lose the ability to walk and speak clearly. Skin may turn blue, and vision may begin to blur. When you lose 15% it will serverly impair your vision, and hearing, it will cause swelling of the tongue, and makes urination painful. Sufferers may be unable to swallow or may exhibit signs of delirium. Loss of more then 15% usually will cause DEATH!!! So stay hydrated. Some tips on staying hydrated are take small drinks at regular intervals, such as every hour. If you are with companions make sure to keep an eye out for each other cause sometimes you may not notice that you are dehydrated. Look for dark sunken eyes, smelly urine, fatigue, and shriveled skin, if you notice any of these signs make your companions drink fluids immediately. Best fluid to drink when you show signs of dehydration is plain water, do not drink sport drinks as they may interfere with the body’s absorbtion of water.

Keep an eye out for more Tips of the Day!!! I will be blogging tips on how to survive in the wild and also tips on how to survive in a tactical situation. Once again thank you all for supporting my blog and don’t forget to leave comments and/or stories you might have that are related to the blog post. Also please make sure to click on the follow button at the bottom of the page so you don’t miss out on any blog posts.