Having to survive can happen anywhere, from a storm that downs powerlines for days to hikers on the trail who get lost and need to stay out for several nights until they’re found. Having the right survival kit in hand will give you piece of mind and might just save your life. There are survival kits for the trail and those designed for homes and even vehicles. Here’s what to look for when choosing the kit that’s just right for your needs.

That’s true, we do. It’s clear that we can’t carry everything to survive for a year or more on our backs and we count on our stash at point B. If it’s not there, we do the best we can, go to a FEMA camp or die. What are our alternatives? I think that most people will go to point B if they see the problem before it arrives (hurricane) but a surprise nuclear attack on Houston (in my case) would necessitate a quick exit along with everyone else still alive. As to ‘bring it’, I certainly would if a. I had an operational vehicle and b. the roads were clear enough to get around minor obstacles – I don’t and won’t have a two ton or half track at my disposal. If not of if my vehicle becomes untenable along the way, I’ll put on my boots and my BOB and do the best I can. As you say, there are many scenarios.
I love the post, and the comments… heck the entire site is ingenious. If I could make a tiny contribution it would be the ICSB kit. It’s something I took away from my earliest days in LRS. It’s true that we seem to have kits within kits (hygiene kit, med kit, fishing kit all packed into a bug out kit) but it’s a handy way of compartmentalising our kit for quick access. Being able to access things quickly quietly and sometimes in the dark can be a lifesaver. So I offer up the ICSB kit. Stands for In Case S#$& Breaks. Some of the items are already on your lists but it’s nice to have them all in the same place when something breaks at the least opportune time. It’s a little pouch with duct tape, bailing wire, super glue, safety pins. Zip ties, key rings, buttons, carpet thread, twine, and anything else that is small and fits into this category. Anyway, that’s my two bits. Thanks for all the good info.
For personnel who are flying over large bodies of water, in additional to wearing a survival suit over cold water, a survival kit may have additional items such as a small self inflating raft to get the aircrewman out of cold or predator infested waters, flotation vests, sea anchor, fishing nets, fishing equipment, fluorescent sea marking dye, pyrotechnical signals, a survival radio and/or radio-beacon, formerly a distress marker light replaced by a flashing strobe, formerly a seawater still[4] or chemical desalinator kit now replaced by a hand pumped reverse osmosis desalinator (MROD) for desalinating seawater, a raft repair kit, a paddle, a bailer and sponge, sunscreen, medical equipment, a whistle, a compass, and a sun shade hat.
In the longer term for fresher tasting foods, you will need to consider either growing your own food in a garden and/or obtaining necessary protein through subsistence hunting and fishing. Accordingly, you should properly store an appropriate variety of seeds for your area as well as have on hand fishing equipment and hunting firearms, which can also double for self-defense of your home if necessary.
I agree with Mike in his statement that United Cutlery is a very substandard company. Also, the ONLY decent quality hollow handle survival knife that I’ve seen is made by Randall and costs several hundred dollars. I would never choose a hollow, storage handle knife for main line survival purposes. You are definitely best off purchasing a quality carbon steel blade by Ontario, Camillus, Becker, Cold Steel, etc. Also, while some stainless steel alloys are excellent for knife blades, generally speaking they are subpar when compared to carbon steel. Rust is not an issue to those who know how to maintain a blade and good carbon steel has far superior edge holding ability.
A good read and a very good list to ‘pick and chose’ from – I try to carry ‘multi-person items as much as possible – cuts down on the weight – as a ‘senior citizen’ the packs I carried years ago I can’t carry now so I have to make changes that match my physical ability – Also a good idea on up-dating – at least every three months or seasonal (which also changes pack size and contents) Lastly, don’t just put a bag together – take a weekend and use it occasionally – carry it distances in different terrain – make sure you have the physical stamina to bear the load – it’s useless if you can’t ‘take it with you’..
Simon, I keep a canvas shopping bag in the bottom of my BOB. It has a ton of uses. You can use it to filter water out of muddy ground by digging a hole and lining it with the bag, or by filling the bag with mud and letting it drip out. It makes good material to fix rips and tears in your gear. It’s good for keeping flies off meat, good for putting wet clothes in and hanging on the outside of your pack, good for carried foraged food, good for getting wet and using it to cool things, and like you say, good for packing up all the crap that you’ve Tetris-ized into your bag when you had it on a nice clean, living room floor that doesn’t fit now that you don’t have 4 hours to pack your BOB.
One thing that the article doesn’t reference is “How many people will there be in your Bug Out party?” The point being, that although there are some items that need to be in everyones B.O.B, there are others that don’t require duplication. Figuring out which items can be used by all the members of your party can reduce duplicating these items in each bag. For example, does everyone in your party need to carry a 1 quart backpacking pot, or will 1 or 2 suffice for your whole group? Those types of items can then be parceled out to the members of the group, and cut the weight down.
Every survival kit and emergency preparedness plan should include emergency blankets and lights. Mylar blankets effectively reflect body heat, and can keep you warm throughout a cold night. Their extreme lightweight and compact size make them an ideal part of a survival kit. To ensure you have adequate light in the event of a power failure, chemical snap lights are a convenient solution that doesn’t rely on batteries. Many snap lights last for 12 hours or more, and have a five year shelf life, so you know they’ll be there for you when you need them.
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