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Survival Kit Buying Guide

 

By Ian Perkins

Survival Pack

 

You shouldn’t mess around with your safety so when it comes to an adventure, it’s best to carry a survival kit. Most are lightweight and hold the absolute essentials if you find yourself in need of surviving outside the cozy suburban world.

 

Although a flashlight and some food might be something obvious, below are a few other items included in many Survival Kits as well as reasons you would want to consider them.

 

Emergency Food Bars – Many will have a multi-year shelf life and will contain a healthy amount of calories in the serving to provide you with extra (or much needed) energy. We highly recommend something like Cliff Bars which are small and quick and easy to eat.

 

Emergency Water Pouch – This contains drinking water, usually a small amount (4 oz) and has a multi-year shelf life. The packaging helps keep the water safe and drinkable even in extreme temperatures.

 

Compass – Varying in sizes, this will let you know what direction you’re heading in.

 

Emergency Blanket – Don’t expect any thread counts here, emergency blankets are usually made of a thin plastic that has been coated in a heat-reflective material. Emergency Blankets utilize reflective properties to contain your body heat helping to keep you warm. Many fold up smaller than a wallet, but can come in very handy in case of an emergency.

 

Whistle – Any person engaging in outdoor, back country activities should be carrying a whistle. 3 loud, clear, blows of a whistle is considered to be the international sign of distress and is recognized by all forms of public safety departments. Be sure when purchasing your whistle that you purchase a “pealess” whistle. If the “pea” on the inside of your whistle gets wet, it may stick or freeze making the whistle useless.

 

Poncho – Being wet while camping isn't fun and can be dangerous depending on the temperature. Additionally, wet camping equipment, especially your sleeping bag isn't helpful. Even a cheap poncho can save you when an unexpected rainstorm threatens your excursion. These are often very light, easy to fold up and are reusable. We recommend that if you are buying a poncho separately; get the largest size available so you can cover your pack too.

 

Light Stick – Not flashlights. These are non-toxic sticks that will provide hours of soft glowing light. If your lanterns or flashlights fail you can always use light sticks for additional light. More likely light sticks will be used in the event of an emergency. If your camp needs to be located at night, light sticks will provided an illuminated glow which can be seen by a rescue party without draining the battery life from your lanterns and flashlights.

 

Fire Starters – Fire starters can be anything from waterproof matches to hand held fire starters. Items such as dryer lint, flint and steel, or composite wood should be carried and kept in an extra plastic container to prevent dampness.

 

Paracord – Paracord is a strong lightweight cord that is used for parachutes. Paracord is quick drying and resistant to rotting so it is perfect for camping emergencies. Paracord can be used to replace shoelaces, make a clothes line or for more critical uses like making a shelter. Paracord also has medical applications such as tying a splint to a broken arm or leg or as a tourniquet in extreme cases.

 

Mirror – When in an emergency situation you can use a mirror to signal airplanes or other vehicles from a distance, or for examining injuries on the body that may not be visible without assistance (dental, ocular, or on the back). This is a “must have” in any emergency kit.

 

Duct Tape – The amount of uses that Duct Tape can have is uncountable. Duct Tape can fix just about anything and is water resistant.

 

Wire Saw – A wire saw is small and coils to fit within your pack or a small pocket to ensure little room is taken up. They can cut through branches and logs so you have firewood.

 

Pocket Guides – Whether it’s information on how to build a fire or how to make a splint, having a series of pocket guides nearby can give you the instructions and information you need at a moment’s notice…especially if you can’t get a signal on your smart phone.

 

Finally, when purchasing your Survival Kit consider where you will be heading and how long you anticipate being there. Also consider the size of your party. One piece of emergency food won’t accommodate a group of 12.

 

CampGear.com strongly recommends that you take an Outdoor Survival and Wilderness First Aid course before camping or hiking.

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