KITS—COMMERCIAL VS. HOMEMADE
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.
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.”