Injured hikers, stranded motorists, lost children and disoriented hunters make up a majority of rescues performed by many search and rescue teams across the country. Unexpected things can, and do, happen including changes in weather, a twisted ankle or a wrong turn. And when things start to go wrong, the laws of nature seem to amplify the problem. Before you know it you find yourself in an uncertain and perhaps dangerous situation The key to survival is being prepared, staying calm and thinking on the fly. Having a survival kit increases your odds of getting out alive, having the right items in your kit helps as well.
Whether you are making a personal carry kit, a family-sized kit or even a car kit there are three things to think about with when preparing a survival kit: Seasonal, Personal and Geographical. You can easily organize your survival kit if you remember to categorize the contents under these categories and build from there. Preparing a kit for specific situations will increase your odds of survival.
What do you need personally? Are you a diabetic or have other health issues? If so, your personal pack should include necessary items or medication.
Where will you be going? Geography changes what is necessary in your survival pack. You may need different things if you are planning a vacation in populated areas with consistent cell tower coverage where you can call for help as compared to hiking solo in the wilderness.
Finally, consider the season. A winter survival pack should include wool hat, gloves and proper footwear compared to a summer pack that includes light hat and sunscreen. Many of the basics of the kits are the same but it helps to be prepared for the different conditions for each season.
Now that you have your kits personalized and geared towards more specific seasons and locations, you will want to add some of the basics. This list is a general guideline; you may want to add more items.
- Bottled Water
- Snacks (granola bars, crackers)
- Hard candy (less likely to melt in the heat and is a lightweight source of energy)
- Packets of honey (honey is the only food that does not spoil)
- Toilet paper (also good for marking a trails and wound care)
- Cap/leather gloves/socks
- First aid supplies
- Small folding saw
- Emergency Blankets Gold/Silver
- Waterproof container for matches (old prescription bottles are great)
- STRIKE ANYWHERE matches (remember even matches have a shelf life)
- Several fine steel wool pads
- Magnesium Fire Starting Tool (can be purchased at outdoor supply stores)
- 9-volt battery
- Signal Mirror
- Water purification tablet-Potable Aqua
- Metal canteen cup and canteen
- *50 foot nylon utility cord
- *6×10 sheet of plastic (6mil works best)
- *Roll of Scotch 33 black electrical tape
(*use these three items to make a shelter) Once you gather your must-have items, pack them in a space-saving way. This is where creativity comes into play. For example, a prescription bottle full of matches maybe able to hold a few pieces of hard candy in the space near the lid. Then stow the bottle in the hollow portion of the toilet paper roll. Old fanny packs, coffee cans and small plastic toolboxes make great overall containers for your finished customized kits.
Although you hope you never have to use it is important to remember a survival kit is not a time capsule. When you are in an emergency situation is not the time to discover your snacks are moldy or your battery is corroded. A good rule to adhere to is to evaluate your survival pack a minimum of four times a year, usually with the change of each season and especially before you head out on an adventure.
What would you add to your emergency survival kit? Tell us in the comment section.