Wilderness Survival Kits
By Steve Gillman
What should you have in a wilderness survival kit? That depends
on what environment and what season you'll be backpacking in.
Weight of the items is also a concern for ultralight backpacking.
Compile a kit of items from the following possibilities, but
be sure to always have first aid supplies and a way to start
Survival Kit Items
Sun Block (Small packet)
Sewing Kit (Needle and thread)
Water Purification (Iodine or other tablets)
Waterproof Matches (At least 20)
Bullion Cubes (2 or 3)
Fishing Line (30 feet, 15# test)
Split Shot Fishing Weights (2, small)
Fish Hooks (2 or 3, size #4)
Orange Flag Tape
Nylon Cord (20 to 30 feet)
Plastic Bags (One small, one larger)
Zippered Plastic Bag (For water)
Duct Tape (20 feet)
First Aid Items:
Dental Floss (30 feet)
Triple Antibiotic Ointment
Snake Bite Kit
Where can you get survival and first aid kits? There are
a number of good sources online. Then there is another option...
Make Your Own Wilderness Survival Kits
There are many good survival kits out there for under $100
that come more or less complete. You may have to add one or two
things for your own personal needs. You can also put together
your own wilderness survival kit. In fact, you can even make
some of the items in it.
A signal mirror, for example, can be a CD. They are highly
reflective, and have a hole in the middle for aiming. You can
dip matches in wax to waterproof them. You can make your own
emergency fire-starter by soaking crumpled pieces of brown paper
bags in wax (these will light when wet).
You can package many items yourself to save money, space and
weight as well. Wrap 10 feet of duct tape around your lip balm
container instead of bringing a roll. Find the smallest containers
you can to bring small amounts of sun-block, pain killers, and
iodine tablets. Cut your pencil down to the smallest usable size.
Depending on what you decide to put in it, the whole kit should
fit into a heavy-duty zippered plastic bag. If you are just backpacking,
wilderness survival kits should generally be under a pound. My
own is a few ounces. If you are experimenting with lighter than
ultralight backpacking (like my pack-less trips), you may have
to beef up the survival kit with things like a 4-ounce plastic
bivy sack, a lightweight hat, and a pair of dry socks.
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