Building a survival kit

Discussion in 'Survival Gear' started by 46camper, Oct 6, 2020.

  1. Outpost75

    Outpost75 G&G Evangelist

    How much should your BOB weigh?

    Packing a ruck which is 25% of your body weight is pure fantasy for anyone over age 40. More than 10% is fantasy for anyone over 50, with very few exceptions as age brings with it issues in trying to maintain physical conditioning. My planning standard (age 71) is 10 kilograms (22 pounds) for seven days. With modern lightweight backpacking gear it can be done.

    Your pack weight is determined by what you need your gear to do, and for how long?

    Basics are protection from "the elements and evil," hydration, navigation, communication, nutrition, health and medical.

    Survival instructor Mors Kochamski summarized it: “Sleep warm and dry at night, stay hydrated, and cure your ills.” You must also stay oriented in order to move safely within your environment.

    In the short term having adequate food aids both morale and mobility. It helps maintain warmth and provides energy for emergency exertion. Once you exceed the duration of your food supply, you require means to forage, fish, hunt or trap to sustain a long term food source. Your BOB should sustain you for 7 days in likely environments without having to fish, hunt or steal = 7 days, at 20degs F within 10kg+/-

    FOOD: Do the math. An average adult male needs 2000 calories per day for moderate activity. An average trail meal (Mountain House) is 125 calories per ounce. The chili mac meal is 139 cal/oz. So, 2000 calories X 7 days = 14,000 calories; 14,000 calories / 125 calories = 112 ounces; 112 ounces / 16 ounces = 7 lbs. Which works out to 1 lb (454g) of dry food per day. A Convenient Rule! The remaining weight to plan out is now 13 lbs. (5.9kg). To cook freeze dried or dehydrated food you need a 800mL pot to boil water. Add a compact stove and you can cook anywhere, even while evading. SOTO Windmaster, output 11,000 btu’s, 1-1/2 hours burn time per canister, boils a half liter with only 5 grams of fuel, enough to hydrate one military LRP-CW ration or commercial freeze-dried meal. The canister contains 110 grams of fuel, so can cook 22 meals (one extra in our scenario). Some people argue that gas canisters don’t work in cold, but they are quite OK to zero Degs. F. Below that, carry them close to your body, under the anorak and they still work!

    PACK: Most modern packs are too heavy with all their bells and whistles. The old US military ALICE frame pack weighs 3.5 lbs. Your BOB pack should not weight more than an ALICE. The mountaineering community is now producing packs weighing about a pound, which are waterproof, bombproof and expensive!. Google “Figure 4,” “Wild things,” “Cilo” and “Hyperlite” for examples. Take ¾ of an Army surplus closed cell foam pad to shape any pack. Then try it out, ditching the frame to save weight. You may not need it anymore.

    HYDRATION: Pack 2 liters of water = 4.4 lbs. Remaining weight to plan is now down to 9 lbs.(~4kg). You need the ability to purify many gallons/liters of water. Non-potable water requires proven modern solutions. Use either chlorine bleach containing 6% sodium hypochlorite 2 drops per liter, or Betadyne from your first aid kit, 6 drops per liter.

    Iodine crystals can purify thousands of liters of water and take up little space, and are your best choice in Third World environments, long range movements or trips of long duration. With your 2 liter water container, a pot to collect, melt and boil water in and your chemical purifier, hydration is not going to be a problem.

    SLEEPING WARM AND DRY: The most, simple, versatile method is the bag and bivy-sack combo. Use the closed cell foam pad in your pack to insulate yourself from the ground. I replaced my sleeping bag with a polyester fiberfil quilt rated to 25 F (-5C) to save weight and bulk. MUCH better than the old GI poncho liners! With the bivy, 20 F (-10C) is no problem. Layer for colder temps. Add a lightweight, ripstop nylon tarp or “basha” for overhead cover in woodlands, and as wind, rain and snow protection. In a pinch you can make do with just the bivvy and survive in temperate zones with just a silk, polypropylene or merino wool base layer, work layer of ripstop 60/40 (BDU), Goretex outer shell, knit wool watch cap, waxed canvas boney hat and gloves. A microfiber pullover is useful as an extra warming layer takes little space and weighs nothing.

    MED KIT: Most prepared med kits are too big and rarely used. The wilderness medical society reports the most common wilderness injuries every few years. # 1 Blisters, # 2 GI stuff/Diarrhea, # 3 small cuts on hands from knives # 4 forearm / wrist injuries from falls. Cover the basics; tummy, toes and tolerance (pain). Kit should be able to treat a major bleed (Israeli bandage and QuikClot Sport25), some small boo boo bandaging, tweezers, GI meds, Pain meds, Antibiotics, Allergy / Anaphylactic meds, Opthalmic ointment and if trained a 14 ga and NPA for good measure. With needle / thread and duct tape, my med kit weighs 7 ounces.

    MISC: Hands free trail lighting (Petzl LED headlamp) and cordage are essential. My pack is currently 14 lbs 5 ounces (no food, full water, not counting my Airweight S&W Model 12 .38 in coat pocket) with the mentioned items. With food 20 plus pounds, with loaded 4-inch S&W Model 12 and extra rounds just over 22 lbs. I would like to get it to 20 lbs, but will settle for my original 10 kilo goal. Add a Leatherman or Gerber multitool and a sturdy, lightweight fixed blade knife, such as a 5-inch Mora on your belt, a mirrored orienteering compass, compact fishing kit, ferro rod and tinder in your pockets, you will be ready for most natural and man-made scenarios.

    PDW: Most preppers fixate on firearms and ammo to the extent that the weight and cube in carrying them gets in the way of basic preps. If not in a war zone or serious civil unrest environment where hostiles are looking to KILL you, you may not need a firearm at all. Avoid contact, practice stealthy movement and evade. My EDC firearm is an Airweight S&W Model 12 .38 Special which weighs a bit over a a pound. I carry five "full charge" wadcutters and one Speer shot load in the gun, and a Speed Strip with a similar reload in my pocket. In the BOB I keep a CountyComm zippered keycase with 24 more full-charge wadcutter rounds, which give the best performance in an Airweight revolver which does not see +P. If faced with multiple adversaries if you stand and fight you're never going to live long enough to shoot'em all, so keep moving, avoid contact, stay hidden.
  2. 46camper

    46camper G&G Evangelist

    Avoiding the bad guys is my plan for sure .

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  3. MosinRuger

    MosinRuger G&G Evangelist


    that zip tie around the lighter to keep it from releasing gas is genius!
    Junction15 and Ten Man like this.
  4. Jack Ryan

    Jack Ryan G&G Evangelist

    When I'm down to needing most of the lists in this thread I'll just go out and pick it up off the dead people scattered around me before I start burying them.
    Outpost75 likes this.
  5. Outpost75

    Outpost75 G&G Evangelist

    You can thank George Jasper of USRSOG for that.
  6. MosinRuger

    MosinRuger G&G Evangelist

    sure, but why rely on someone else to prepare for you?

    ever heard prepare for the worst, hope for the best?

    Nice screen name btw!
    neophyte and Jack Ryan like this.
  7. Outpost75

    Outpost75 G&G Evangelist

    Most so-called “survival kits” you read about are put together for a situation someone “believes will be” rather than how reality actually is. Typical “expert” advice you find on the Internet is written by wannabes who have never been "there." Relying upon such advice is comparable to general aviation pilots selecting survival gear based upon magazine reviews written by shills who never left the safety of a VFR flight plan and warm, cozy cockpit.

    Those of us with military or SAR experience probably all carry a good, lock-blade folding knife, ferro rod and a flashlight every day. Suppose your Jeep breaks an axle, rolls over and slides out of sight 100 yards down slope. If you had a butt pack with 2 AMK space blankets, 2 Met Rx bars, 100 yards of monofilment, 100 fishing hooks, a box of Esbit, 2 butane lighters, a canteen cup, 100 ft of 550 cord, and ultra light weight GoreTex top and bottom. What do you think you could pull off in a wild place with that? That can all be stuffed into a small ruck or large butt pack.

    To the above you might add a shelter tarp, a .22 target pistol two mags and 100 rounds, commercial grade Thompson nsnares, insect repellent, water purification tabs, a wool ski hat and leather gloves. Those add-ons won’t have a small ruck stuffed yet. You could run into the closest piece of timber and set up house! The .22 pistol and 100 rounds would weigh more than the rest of your gear. Would your folders be sturdy enough to baton through enough wet wood to get you a good pile of fire starting lumber piled up? Can you can find that wood with zero illumination at night because your China-Mart light that won’t run after being drowned in a river?

    It doesn’t take much gear to turn the odds in your favor if you have basic knowledge and grit to do so. If caught out in the cold, wet and windy more gear makes it that much more likely that you will make it back to write an article for Outdoor Life about how you survived your little weekend adventure.

    The point is that if you are going to do the deed, you must have the knowledge and to have PRACTICED the skills to pull off what most folks won’t do unless they manage by pure dumb luck and accident. If you have practiced getting a fire going in the rain before and experienced the long weekend living out of your ruck, then you have the experience and skill to know how much easier it is when you have the right gear WITH YOU when you need it.

    If you are going to stash that gear in your pockets, billfold, jacket or ruck make sure it is quality, bombproof gear that is used on a regular basis and maintained regularly. Make yourself rotate out your spare batteries in your kits yearly. Same for your EDC light.

    Check your fire building kit and emergency food and rotate it out regularly. I do so in the spring and fall at minimum. Do you have a DMT diamond stone in your kit to sharpen your Rambo Wonder blade so you don’t have to use a rock on your high dollar knife? Beating on the back of any blade is a bad thing, but I have had to several times had to baton a folder to get a fire going because that was all I had at the time. The A.G. Russell knife survived. The point is that if you don’t pack the good gear which you have proven, tested and practiced with, on you, at the exact time that you need it you will have to improvise. Improvising is NOT a plan, it’s what you do when you didn’t plan.

    Did you put poly pro underwear in your kit? Cabela's sells GoreTex insulated shooting you own a pair? Do you have a dew rag or sponge to collect dew off the grass in the morning to fill your water bottle? Have you ever coal burnt a wooden bowl so that you can hot rock boil water to purify it because you don’t have a utility pot. Have you ever boiled water in a beer bottle? How about brewing up tea in a paper bag using a rock boil?

    Fire separates us from cave men, but utility pots makes us civilized. In the Great White North "First Nations" people and whites alike put a blanket, a candle and a #10 can in the trunk of their car in case they are stranded in winter in their vehicle. You can carry a zero-degree sleeping bag, a utility pot, hand warmers stove and fuel in our vehicles because you know better. But most people who die from hypothermia do so in above freezing weather because they didn’t carry rain gear, do you?

    A good poncho is life-safety essential gear. I can build a shelter in any environment with a military poncho and a Space Blanket. We all know butane lighters aren’t foolproof, but they are LOTS better than stick matches. What do jumper cables, a car battery and a tinder ball make? Fire dummy! Tomahawks aren’t just carried by Indians in the movies. And SAR aircraft see waterproof long burning strobes or a Greatland Rescue Laser signal whole lots better than HELP signs scraped out in the dirt.

    Planning to Improvise is planning to fail. Planning to fail is just plain stupid. It’s great when you can make everything with a roll of dental floss and a razor blade in your living room. When it matters is where the real snares, the butane lighter, the "real" fixed blade, the .22 and 100 rounds, etc. makes the difference between being the corpse found in the spring or the survivor telling the cool story afterward.
    Ten Man and neophyte like this.
  8. runfiverun

    runfiverun G&G Evangelist

    let me help.
    what do you really need?
    all that stuff above is 100% useless if you can't physically make it from point A. to point B.

    what is available to you?
    I know how to capture pheasants and raccoons easy enough with minimal effort.
    only problem is there ain't any around here.
    yeah 40 miles away... fish hooks are worthless to me.
    water? it's every few hundred yards in many places near me.
    until I get a couple miles out of town, then you better know where it is.

    how about a coat?
    you ain't got time to go get in the closet and be selective about things during an earth quake.

    if you gotta get up and go right this minute you better have things where you can access them quickly or grab them as you go past on your way out.
    I'd be happy with a coat that has a knife, lighter, space blanket, and some rope in it.
    a bottle of water and I'm good for the whole day tomorrow.
    be an even better day if I had a candy bar and some ravioli's in a can.
    i'll be 20 miles away by then and in a completely different geographical situation.
    [it could be at 10-K feet or down to 4-K feet]
    in one place my food source will be mostly grouse or squirrels.
    the other would be small birds, skunks or the like.
    a sling shot would sure be handy in either situation.
    neophyte and animalspooker like this.
  9. Ranger4

    Ranger4 G&G Evangelist

    I think we are much in the same mindset. A couple of thoughts. I said above at post #16 almost the same as you: 22 pistol. To me, no survival pack is complete without a small 22 pistol or revolver. Reason are many signalling, low noise harvesting of frogs, fish, rabbits, squirrels, deterrence. 100 rounds of ammo takes little space. Save your handgun and rifle ammo for defense needs. Mine is suppressed. You mention the ability to move quietly and from our military experience we know that will be best done at night, mostly without light. If "they" see or hear us, we may be on their land or in space they claim, or they may just see us a someone to rob of food or other items they need. So, being invisible is key. The 22 with low velocity rounds is quiet but still will harvest game. I have several but my most used is the Walther P22, tiny little gun and accurate to 15-20 yards on small game, and remember, you may need to shoot someone's chicken. I suggest being legally suppressed but if not and your life is on the line, you may want to find some other way. Remember the CCI quiet and the Winchester subsonic 45 grain and the Aquilla 60 grain are quiet enough. I cannot over stress this point.

    A second thing you mentioned that I think needs repeating is your comment about a "shelter tarp". Any cloth treated tarp is heavy, but the cheap plastic ones can save your bacon in a rainstorm. Preserving heat as you said is just as important as staying dry--same thing. Just a little 6 x 6 tarp will let you role up in it, giving you a ground cloth as well as protection on all sides and holding in body heat. If the rain is light, you can just fashion a roof that funnels the rainwater down to your big water bottle or open zip lock bag you brought just to hold water. A handy item to have these little tarps. I keep these little tarps in my truck, my Jeep and even my 4 wheeler. Just too handy.

    Last you did not mention a tiny tent. The cheapest little 2 man tent provides great protection from not only water and wind, but mosquitoes and ticks and spiders and snakes and even poison weeds. The also give a barrier that will alert you if an animal comes close to you during your sleep. I actually got awakened by a bear once when camping alone in the Rockies. When the bear hit the tent he wolfed and growled and tore at the tent. That gave me time to get out of my bag, get my gun in hand and grab a light which scared the bear away, it was a cheap tent, but without it I may not have survived. Just saying, if you think you may spend the night or many in the bush, it may be worth the weight, it is to me.

    Anyway, just reinforcing your comments. You seem to have everything covered.
    neophyte, 455rocket and MosinRuger like this.
  10. MosinRuger

    MosinRuger G&G Evangelist

    While I agree with most of what you said, a bit of a different perspective. for many of its its simply not financially feasible to go out and spend a ton of money on high quality gear that is bombproof.

    What I've done is start small/ cheap, use it and then upgrade as things wear out. yes you spend more than just buying the expensive stuff outright, but i think there is value and money potentially saved by learning first what you need out of said product, and then you can make a more informed purchased of the more expensive piece of equipment.

    sometimes youll find the cheap stuff works just fine. sometimes not.

    but ultimately we agree on the most important part. practice. use your gear, test it and your self, learn the land around you, i could go on and on. many who think that just having a bob or survival gear is enough will be sadly surprised if it comes time to "survive".
    neophyte and Ten Man like this.
  11. chesterwin

    chesterwin G&G Evangelist

    The best "survival kit" is between your ears. Improvise with what's available. Knowledge is something you'll never likely regret.
    TXplt, neophyte, Ten Man and 3 others like this.
  12. Huey Rider

    Huey Rider G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    Your mind is your primary weapon.
  13. Jim Bridger

    Jim Bridger G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    The terrible facts of War survivors is disease. During the War in Nam we used Agent Orange to kill the foliage. There was no place to hid from the choppers. The lack of hygiene food and shelter is a military tactic. A small supply of rations may not last long.
    Jack Ryan and Ranger4 like this.
  14. Ranger4

    Ranger4 G&G Evangelist

    In planning special operations missions in the Mideast we had a 90/10 rule. If you are going to put 10 people on the ground for a mission, say a Seal Team or equivalent, you will need 90 people involved, to prepare a forward point from which to launch the mission, people will be there sitting up commo, tents, supply issues, meals, and security at the location for the shooter guys to sleep. They may or may not come back there after the mission. Then there will be assigned intel guys and people to coordinate the aircraft and vehicle issues. Then there will be guys there to coordinate what goes wrong and ways to get us out when (and some things will) go wrong. Remember Desert One and Operation Eagle Claw and all that? People on the ground 3 weeks out and it still failed for other reasons. How about, Blackhawk Down? The best and brightest warriors of the day with the best equipment on the planet still suffer great casualties and bad outcomes. Crazy people with guns and missiles are hard to predict.

    Point is in a social unrest situation we have no gang of experts to go to or to bail us out. Lots of storage of supplies and long term planning can lower the risk of dying to staving early on. I guess that is what we call prepping. Hoping society will level out withing a few months is our best hope. IMHO
    neophyte, Jack Ryan and Outpost75 like this.
  15. ka5siw

    ka5siw G&G Evangelist

    Many strong points presented here. For us, we are staying put. About the most dangerous thing on our list is the monthly trips 100 miles to Albuquerque to load up on supplies. Both our car/truck have first aid kits. I carry my survival kit with a revolver, speed loaders, compass, led flashlight, headlight, knifes and leatherman. Add a water jug and water filter and I figure I could walk home in 4 nights.
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  16. 46camper

    46camper G&G Evangelist

    I wish I lived out that far into the country . I did find a ferro rod the size I’m looking for .
    Also I think the knife I want for this kit will be a Ontario Rat 5 or a Ontario Rat 7 . Not sure yet .

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  17. 46camper

    46camper G&G Evangelist

    I’m still looking for a decent compass for the kit also .

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  18. Outpost75

    Outpost75 G&G Evangelist

    Tru-Nord are made in USA and has been a supplier to the US military for 50 years.
    neophyte likes this.