We don’t mean to be so awesome…we just seem to wake up that way. Every. Damn. Day. Today we bring you, “Building the Ultimate Survival kit, Part 2″
Before we launch into how to stock your Survival/E&E kit, first we need to discuss what exactly is going to hold all the gear. You need a vessel of some sort, preferably one that will also serve multiple purposes other than just keeping your items together. Some people choose to cram their kit into a nylon pouch, which they then attach to their belt or bag. This is fine, but you are limiting yourself to the size of the pouch, its dividers and its mode of carry. If this is the route you would like to take, fine. But you will be better suited placing your gear in a metal container first, and then loading this kit into the pouch. Should you need to, you will have the ability to remove the kit and slide it into your jeans pocket, jacket, etc. Your survival kit is only good if you have it with you, so keeping it small will encourage its carry where ever you go.
Many people are discouraged from building their own kit, but they shouldn’t be, and neither should you. There are are a lot of pre-made kits on the market, but we have yet to find one that is exactly how we would personally prefer it. You can build off one of these kits or you can buy one pre-made, but we seriously recommend tailoring it to your own needs.
We’ll start of course with the classic Altoids tin kit. Many people choose to build their kit around the cheap and abundant Altoid breath mint tins. They are small, light and come in a convenient size. Remember that you want to build your kit to carry everything you NEED to survive, not everything you necessarily WANT (strippers and big bottles of whiskey are heavy and might not contribute to your long term health and well being anyway). The Altoids tin is a good compromise, but some people will prefer to carry a slightly larger tin, something like the British style survival tins. This style of tin is larger and deeper, with a top cover that comes completely off. The advantage of a larger tin is the obvious ability to carry more gear, and to use the tin itself as a tool. The metal box can be used to dig or scrape, hold foraged food, and even boil small amounts of water. The lid can be cut into arrow tips, or fashioned into a signal mirror. Its smart to polish the inside of the lid ahead of time for this very reason. We suggest using a dremel tool, polishing wheel and metal polish compound. It won’t take long.
The downside of these kits, is that even though they provide a crush resistant barrier for your kit, they can still be damaged with a hard fall or impact. They are light, multi-purpose and pocket sized, but still have some limitations. For this reason some people built their kits around non-standard “tins” such as thicker aluminum or even stainless steel containers. These containers can be found easily online, to the size of your choice. You can even repurpose other containers used primarily for a different application, such as food containers and travel sized sushi Bento boxes.
Some have handles, allowing the kit to turn into a cup, small skillet, etc., for bushcraft cooking. Stainless and strong, these containers are a great choice. The downside? They are heavy in comparison and a little more expensive. Once again, the lids can be polished to a high shine for use as a mirror.
Another option is to use a small European mess kit. These can be had from local sources like gun shows and surplus stores and of course online. They are a very affordable option, which come in a variety of materials, sizes and styles. Once again the negative aspect is that they are a little big, so plan an effective mode of carriage before buying one.
At this point it should be obvious to you that you’re only boundary is your own imagination. You can choose to use whatever container you want, but we still firmly recommend using a metal container as a foundation. After picking a kit to build off, think about how you intend to carry it. Back pocket? Cargo pocket? Belt carry in a pouch? Later on in this series we are going to discuss cordage and tools. One handy technique for carrying plenty of cord is to wrap the outside of your survival kit with it. The cord wrapped on the outside of the kit, with a loop and carabiner easily clips to your belt or bag. Not only does this allow for plenty of cord, fishing line, parachute line, etc, but it also discourages you from robbing items out of your life-or-death survival kit. We have seen people take matches or lighters from their kits as a matter of convenience (not during exigent circumstances), only to never replace them afterwards.
Don’t set yourself up for failure by doing the same. Once your kit is constructed and satisfactory, leave it alone but carry it whenever going out to the bush. Build another for your bag, and another for your vehicle. As you will learn from this series, building the ultimate survival kit is fun and affordable, and open to creativity. We hope you check back shortly as we continue the series in part 3. Check out some sources for tins below.
Check back here on Breach-Bang-Clear for future installments of this series. You can also search our articles in the SURVIVAL category.
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