Thoughts on Survival Kit Basics

I attended the Primitive Skills Meetup tonight [] talking about Wilderness Survival Kits.

One of the attendees asked about a ‘rule of thumb’ for the size of a survival kit.

The unfulfilling answer was ‘it depends’. We discussed from an Altoids tin to a rucksack.

The ‘Rule of 3s’ was laid out in class and the kit was discussed in the context of fulfilling those needs.

  • 3 minutes without air
  • 3 hours without shelter/clothing
  • 3 days without water
  • 3 weeks without food
  • 3 months without companionship

The first one was basically skipped as a survival kit isn’t really going to do much for helping you breath. Bring a life jacket in your kit? I guess you can interpret that as oxygen to the brain, and a first aid kit would be what’s in order in that context.
We also glossed over the last one as it’s kinda hard to tuck a friend into an Altoids tin without a lot of complaining from your friend for trying.

We spent a couple of hours discussing what could be added to the kit to fulfill the middle 3 needs.

On my drive home, I came up with the answer to the size question. Your kit needs to be big enough to fulfill each of the needs in 1/3rd the time allotted for that need.
e.g. You may need to be able to procure shelter in less than an hour because by that 2nd hour your going to be in a bad way if the weather is bad, and that 3rd hour you are going to be busy dieing.
Same goes with water – you need water on the first day because by the 2nd day you are going to start getting dizzy, have a headache, and loose dexterity, and on the third day…
People frequently fast for 10 days, but buy the end of that time period they are dizzy, weak, and have no energy.

Also, knowledge and skill have an inverse relationship with the size of your kit. The more you know and can do, the smaller your kit needs to be. Somebody without a clue could have a rough go of things with anything short of a convenience store lost with them in the woods. A well practiced expert can make a go of it with nothing but a broken knife and broken arm.

The instructor laid out a lot of gear and discussed the pros and cons of each. At the end, I did a quick show & tell of the best tin-kit I’ve come across. I’d originally seen it at where it was entered into a pocket sized survival kit contest. The creator offered a few up for review at that time and I was sent one. I wish he sold them as I would buy a couple of them.

I put together a video as I unpacked it this last weekend which was basically what I did in the class tonight again. I’d intended on doing a video on using the kit but where I went was a six mile hike in I got a late start and just didn’t have time (story of my life). So hopefully sometime in the near future I can get a video of using some of the bits in it.

Combining this kit with some sort of sheet-good (plastic drop cloth, space blanket, contractor bag) and a durable water container (I like stainless steel water bottles) will satisfy fulfilling the Rule of 3s with the knowledge and skill that I possess in the 1/3rd time period that I am thinking they need to be done in.

I do carry a lot more junk as I am lazy, don’t like inconvenience or being uncomfortable, and I am not yet ready to let go of ‘the security of stuff’.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WordPress Appliance - Powered by TurnKey Linux