Knowing how to survive in the wild with little or no tools is an extremely valuable skill, but it’s not something you want to test in a life-threatening situation, provided you can avoid it of course. An all-in-one survival kit full of tools you’re comfortable with is an indispensable part of preparing to survive in harsh environments.
Basic elements of a survival tool kit
A great survival kit is your personal kit that is well organized, lightweight, efficiently packed and suitable for a variety of environments and situations. The contents of your ideal kit will vary somewhat depending on where you live and the types of emergencies you think are most likely, and this list is by no means exhaustive. However, some tools are very useful and can justify the space they take up in almost any kit.
A high class survival knife
This is definitely the foundation of any good survival kit. With a great knife, you can both defend yourself and create many other useful tools. Buying a good and practical knife will justify its cost many times over
You’ll need several different types and types of fire starters to keep you warm, relatively safe, and cooked in (almost) any environment. Waterproof matches, focusing lens and spark arrester, or magnesium type make a solid trio. These items are small, almost weightless and allow you to start a fire using several different methods.
Making a fire with materials you find in the wild can be a surprisingly tricky thing to do. Put a good handful of cotton lint in a waterproof bag and you’ll have enough tinder for about half a dozen bonfires.
It is practical to be selective in matters of medical provision. Medicine can take up a lot of space, and modern medicine and equipment won’t help if you don’t learn how to use it. Consider packing only the essentials in your bag: suture kit, tourniquet, hemostatic agent, bandages, iodine or antiseptic, pain relievers, and broad-spectrum antibiotics. These items are small and light and usually do not require much training to use effectively.
Universal multifunctional tool
Many survival situations involve building and fixing existing shelters. An energy-efficient multitool, like a good knife, easily justifies the space and weight it takes up in your bag.
Tablets for water purification
Drinking untreated surface water is never an ideal solution; even finding water in a survival situation is a skill in itself. Water purification tablets are tiny and you can purify many liters of water with one bottle of them.
It’s always a good idea to carry some extra water with you. Cooking utensils are an essential tool to have in your survival kit. Consider a collapsible model that takes up minimal space when empty and folds back into itself while still being light weight. Aluminum allows you to cook food in it, while the food-grade plastic versions gain only in weight
A blend of nylon rope, paracord, and high-tensile thread will keep you ready for a variety of repair, campfire, sewing, and tying needs. As an alternative – at least a skein of paracord
Goods for fishing and hunting
At a minimum, a fishing kit should contain several different lines, hooks, a small net, and several lures and weights. For both fishing and hunting, you’ll need a few small knives for dressing, skinning, and deboning, if you can make room for that in your bag. If not, your survival knife or multitool might just do the trick.
Waterproof paper and pencil
Being able to sketch maps, draw diagrams, and take notes is always useful, even in the desert. If possible, make sure your paper and pencil are waterproof – you never know what the weather will be like.
Stock your bag with a battery-powered flashlight, a few LED flashlights, and a few chemical lights. Powerful lights can also be used for animal protection, long-distance illumination of the path or to signal for help. Chemical sticks are a great alternative to flashlights when you need reliable, low-intensity light that is independent of weather and batteries. Keep chemical lights in a hard plastic or metal case so they don’t crack in your bag and become useless.
A small mirror can be used to signal other people or to start a fire by focusing sunlight. It’s a simple but very effective tool that won’t take up space in your survival kit.
Radio with manual control
A radio that does not rely on batteries is a good way to monitor broadcasts that may contain useful information. However, these devices tend to be bulky and heavy compared to most other items in your survival kit, so depending on your projected needs, a radio may not be essential at all.
Hand dynamo or solar charger
Assuming your phone or GPS will still work in an emergency, you’ll need to charge them. Hand-held dynamo universal chargers are time-consuming and inefficient, but very reliable and independent of other energy sources. Solar chargers can charge more easily and efficiently, but of course they require sunlight and a lot of time.
Light, non-perishable, but dense and nutritious substances
Once you’ve packed your survival bag with all the other essentials, it’s a good idea to fill the rest of the space with food. You never know what you’ll be able to hunt or how you’ll get food, so any food you can carry with you is vital. Prioritize high-calorie, high-protein, high-fat foods that don’t spoil easily, such as beef, peanut butter, and nuts. Pack as much food as possible into the bag without making it too heavy and bulky.
Gun Range (if you are allowed to do so by law): A quick overview
The process of choosing a gun to suit your needs and preferences is exhaustive, but since guns are such an important part of your survival kit, we’ll briefly touch on some general principles that can help point you in the right direction, or perhaps shed some additional light on your current selection. weapons
As for what you can carry, weapons can be big or small. A standard gear configuration that works well for most people in most situations consists of your basic survival bag, one large weapon, and one small weapon. Carrying two different weapons for different purposes increases your ability to react to different situations without significantly hindering your movement.
When it comes to big guns, most people prefer a rifle, shotgun, or even a bow. The most convenient small arms are semi-automatic pistols, but unfortunately not in Ukraine. Whatever weapon you choose, be sure to remember the four rules of gun safety.
Rifles are excellent mid-range and long-range weapons, equally suited for hunting and self-defense, but they are less practical in close combat. Store options are particularly easy to use.
Shotguns excel in close and medium combat, as well as hunting certain types of game, although their lower rate of fire, lower ammo capacity, and overall reload time require regular training to soften them up.
Bows have great advantages and major disadvantages compared to firearms. They are nearly silent, and arrows can often be recovered and reused, but skilled use of a bow requires considerable practice, and bows are impractical in many combat scenarios.
Revolvers are generally more mechanically reliable than semi-automatic pistols, although the gap is much smaller now than it was twenty years ago. A heavier revolver frame with fewer moving parts makes it capable of firing much larger calibers and custom ammunition.
Semi-automatic pistols have a larger ammo capacity and can be reloaded faster and easier than revolvers, but they are a bit more difficult to master and generally cannot fire reinforced rounds that can reliably stop large animals such as bears.
Experiment with different weapons to see which one you are most comfortable with, and try to cover as many needs as possible with two options. For example, if you have a small- or medium-caliber shotgun for self-defense, you may want to pair it with a large-caliber, high-stop revolver for big game hunting. If you choose to carry a bow, consider a semi-automatic weapon with a high-capacity magazine capable of rapid return fire or in response to a threat to life.
Whatever weapon you choose, be sure to think about how you will carry it, especially with regards to your choice of survival bag or backpack.
How to choose a survival bag
The ideal survival bag is strong and roomy, but not bulky. It should also fit comfortably around your body and have plenty of compartments to organize your supplies. Careful consideration should be given to the amount of weight you can carry without sacrificing mobility. If you are, for example, 170 cm tall and of a thin build, you will most likely choose a different bag than if you were 195 cm and of a massive build. The general principle here is to choose a bag that holds as much stuff as you can carry without injuring yourself and especially without getting tired prematurely
Regardless of the size of the bag you choose, pay attention to the fabric of the warehouse, which is made of a dense, durable fabric, such as at least canvas, preferably Cordura or nylon ripstop. Pay particular attention to stitching and seams – do they look thick, tight, evenly spaced and capable of withstanding harsh conditions? Also check the buckles and other hardware – are they made of cheap plastic or something reinforced, polymer or aluminum?
It is best to choose a bag with strong zippers or without them at all. Lightning bolts are generally prone to breakage, especially when they are wet, dirty, and left outdoors or exposed to direct sunlight for long periods of time. Opting for a bag with just the classic straps and buckles goes a long way in eliminating this concern.
A hip belt or chest strap on a survival bag is optional. If it’s a big bag you’re going to be packing with heavy supplies, the extra support can help reduce back pain. Smaller, lighter bags generally don’t need such straps.
Finally, make sure your survival bag has enough separate compartments and pockets to organize everything inside in a way that’s convenient for you.
Tips for packing your bag effectively
There is more than one right way to pack a survival bag. As long as you make efficient use of the available space, know where everything belongs, and can quickly access important gear, you’re doing everything right, and the rest is entirely up to you.
With that in mind, here are some general tips that can help you pack your bag like a pro:
- Place heavier items at the bottom of your bag and lighter items at the top.
- If possible, place small items and containers that you don’t need immediate access to inside other boxes and containers that would otherwise take up space (for example, put your fishing tackle, fire starter, and signal mirror inside the first aid kit).
- Group items into different departments by category, such as food, ammunition, and medical items, unless otherwise required for greater efficiency.
- Reserve easy-to-access external compartments for items you may need quick access to, such as harnesses/tourniquets, a knife and flashlight, and extra ammo. Ideally, choose a bag with multiple pockets that you can access without rummaging through the bag.
- Use straps, tape, zip ties, or bungee cords to secure loose items and secure them inside or outside your bag so they don’t fray and migrate to other pockets as you move.
- Place items inside each other, especially small items that may fall out when taking bulky items out of your bag (like clothes) to keep them together and carry more items in the same amount of space.
- Attach bulky, lightweight items like a sleeping mat and rope to the outside of your bag to save precious interior space.
- Save even more space in your bag by wearing a vest or bandolier.
Pack and unpack your bag regularly and practice finding certain items quickly. Also, be sure to periodically inspect the bag and its contents for wear or damage. Establish a schedule for replacing and checking medications for expiration dates and other perishable items. Finally, make time to practice regularly using the tools and equipment you carry with you. Otherwise, what’s the point of a spark arrester if you can’t use it
We hope this guide has been helpful in covering the most important and common aspects of building and maintaining an essential survival kit in your bag.