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Monday, January 28, 2013

Building Your Survival Kit

Survival kit, go-bag, dash pack, bug-out bag, scramble pack, however you may define it, it's what you're going to carry with or near you daily or grab on your way out of a bad situation. Whether you focus on building it for general survival, specific environments, SHTF scenarios, the zombie apocalypse or what have you, make sure it is up to the task and versatile enough to give you every advantage for survival.

Being prepared is an important part of survival. Many angles must be viewed, considered and practiced to be fully prepared, most important is mentally. Another important aspect is gear. But as we've seen in film, television and personal experience, the most high-tech and leetzorz gear won't save you if you don't think and make stupid decisions. The first thing to do when you find yourself in a survival situation is to remain calm. Panicking only leads to hasty decisions and missed opportunities. Take the time to assess your situation to make an educated and intuitive plan of action.

Everyone's kit is going to differ, catering to specific health concerns, global location, even body size which is an important detail to pay attention to. A good rule to follow while building your gear kit is to set a goal for 10% of your body weight with a maximum of 20%, that way you are still able to perform physical tasks without being over-encumbered. Try running a mile or two or doing a long jump with 20 or 30 percent of your body mass added and you'll see the importance.

I have broken the bag down into its major components and categories for an easy template to follow.

The Pack

Condor OD green 3-day assault pack. This pack is made of durable material and has molle webbing on the front and sides for attaching assorted gear and pouches. Fully adjustable shoulder straps and straps on the sides and bottom to tighten up the bulk of the bag itself. Two large compartments with netting and zippered pouches, two smaller pouches on front. Foam padded back pad with velcro pouch for hydration bladder. Picked up for $50 at my local Army surplus store.

Your pack itself is a very important piece, as it holds everything you have and whatever you may pick up along the way. Make sure it is of quality build, the last thing you want is a zipper or seam to fall apart while you're in the thick of it.

Personal Hygiene

50 squares of soft toilet paper
Lotion and body wash (free from hotels)
Disposable razor
Coleman travel towels
Qtip container with nail clippers and tweezers
Hidden in picture: Moist towelettes (free from restaurants)

First Aid

Zippered pouch (came free with f.aid supplies bought at Meijer)
Hand Sanitizer
LifeGear mini flashlight
Oral I.V. (great product for instant and emergency hydration)
Pill bottle with Excedrin, ibuprofen, anti-diarrhea and cold meds
Blistex medicated lip balm
Nitrile sterile gloves
Gauze roll, medical tape, finger splint
Gauze pads, various bandaids, anti-bacterial cream, alcohol pads, ammonia inhalants

Camp Kitchen/Food

Can for boiling water/cooking
Instant oatmeal 3x (160 calories each)
Clif bars 3x (240 calories each)
Tea bags 4x
Hot cocoa mix 2x
Various drink mixes including Airborne 6x
Sugar packets 6x


Extra set of socks and underwear
Pair of thick cotton socks
Warm gloves
Heat packs
Emergency blanket


NEBO pistol flashlight (quick detach, solid and strobe, 1 123 battery)
LifeGear multi-light (led, green glow and strobe, whistle)

Fishing Gear

Plano tackle box
4 sizes of snell hooks
Glow worm baits
12 lb. test line

Fire Starting/General

The other side of the tackle box is used to store and keep dry:
Coleman magnesium block with striker
2 Bic lighters and one mini lighter
Water-proof camp matches with strike pads
Spare batteries for flashlight 4x
Spare light unit and batteries for LifeGear light
Frontier portable water filter


1.5 liter hydro bladder with insulated hose and easy flow mouthpiece


Work gloves
Safety glasses
Op tape and Electrical tape
550 Paracord
Spare quart ziploc bag
Clorox disinfecting wipes
Sharpie marker


Kobalt multi-tool (pliers, file, saw, can opener, screwdrivers, knife)
S&W M&P folder (3.5" smooth/serrated tanto blade, safety lock, spring assist, glass breaker)
Camillus Les Stroud knife (4.5" smooth blade, non-slip grip, steel pommel, belt sheath, fire striker)


Glock 17 (concealed carry)
19 round spare magazine with belt holster
Pill bottle of 42 .22lr rounds
1x 12ga flare
2x 12ga rifled slug
2x 12ga 00 buck
2x 12ga target load

The total weight of this pack is 14 pounds, 4 ounces, well under my original 10% goal of 23lbs. This also leaves me with some empty space in the pack to pick up other items or store things carried on my person. I can even expand its capacity by adding pouches onto the bag, although that does spread out the weight making the pack more awkward to carry.  What does your gear consist of? Let us know!

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