KITS—COM­MER­CIAL VS. HOME­MADE

American Survival Guide - - NEW PRODUCTS -

These days, there is a plethora of sur­vival kits read­ily avail­able that cover many of the bases. How­ever, there are also a lot of use­less kits be­ing of­fered that make your choice even more con­fus­ing. The cheaper sur­vival kits are rid­dled with in­fe­rior pieces, which can be more dis­pos­able than use­ful.

Be­fore buy­ing an as­sem­bled kit, your needs and op­tions should be thor­oughly re­searched to en­sure your se­lec­tion at least cov­ers the ba­sics: fire, direction/nav­i­ga­tion, sig­nal­ing, shel­ter and wa­ter pu­rifi­ca­tion. Cordage and cut­ting tools should be added if they aren’t al­ready in­cluded.

Ad­ven­ture Med­i­cal Kits of­fers many pre-pack­aged kits, but I pre­fer this com­pany’s sim­pler kits, which leave room for adding items I know I’ll need. Ran­dall’s Ad­ven­ture & Train­ing of­fers a few kits which are all in­clu­sive and with­out too much un­nec­es­sary stuff. Rather, they in­clude sub­stan­tial pieces that have been proven to be use­ful. The com­pany also of­fers pouches that al­low a survivor to pack their own kit.

I pre­fer to pack my own kit to en­sure I only in­clude the ne­ces­si­ties and not much more. I like the adage, “If you don’t have it, you prob­a­bly don’t need it.” Less gear and more skills and prac­tice go much fur­ther than be­ing kit de­pen­dent! What­ever kit you de­cide to use and how you pack it—i can’t stress enough the im­por­tance of prac­tic­ing with it and not be­ing afraid to ad­just the con­tents as you see fit.

Kit-build­ing Tips

Metal con­tain­ers may be used for boil­ing and col­lect­ing wa­ter, hold­ing tripods to­gether, sig­nal­ing and other tasks. Brightly col­ored items can be good for sig­nal­ing by us­ing cloth­ing or fab­rics as flags or ty­ing other items to tree branches. Paper (tis­sues, re­ceipts) can be good tin­der and kin­dling for fire. Wa­ter bot­tles are good for ad­di­tional wa­ter stor­age and keep­ing tin­der dry. There is no place in the world where a hiker won’t find some sort of trash that can be used as “survivor’s gold.”

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