Friday, May 6, 2011

Survival Resources 11: Survival Kits

Almost by definition, emergencies come unexpectedly. The trick for survival in such situations is to plan ahead. A very useful tool, especially in the event of an unexpected emergency is a survival kit.

Yes, you can buy survival kits online or in stores, but you can also put one together yourself. The advantage of doing this is that not only will you save money, but you are more aware of your own needs than any manufacturer.

In a plastic bag in the library in my house, I have tossed together a bunch of things that I think would be useful in an emergency. I know where it is and I know what's in it and so I know where to go for stuff if something goes wrong.

Here is a list of what's in my kit. As I said, your kit should reflect what you think you might need--my list is only an example.

Inside my bag:
Britta filters (see my lastpost on Safe, Clean Water)
Candles (and candle holders)
A magnesium fire starting kit (in retrospect, I am not sure how useful this is)
Fishing line
A Swiss-army knife
A compass/whistle pendant

Nearby I have two oil lanterns with oil in them.

I also have a Swiss-army knife, a CPR shield, and a micro LED flashlight on the key chain that I always carry in my pocket.

Some things I would like to add to my survival kit include a small first aid kit (fortunately one of my housemates keeps first aid supplies near the kitchen) and one of those reflective 'space blankets'.

Matthew Stein has a whole chapter in his book When Technology Fails devoted to 'Supplies and Preparations'. (See When Technology Fails, 12/13/10 for more about the book.) It's a good source for figuring out what you should have in your survival kit.

Quote of the Day: "No one really knows what the future will bring. You can't plan for all possible scenarios, but a wise person plans for several of the most likely possibilities and stores at least a few basic supplies for emergencies." - Matthew Stein


Anonymous said...

If you travel, a smoke hood is apparently a must have. Not that I have one.

Turil said...

From what I understand, the Britta filters are almost useless for most contaminants. They are designed really only for show, to be used on already filtered tap water (or maybe rainwater). Better to get a ceramic filter like they offer in camping stores. They are more expensive, but work pretty well. Also, I just got a great reflective blanket on sale from REI. It's a very good quality one for only $4, and it even has survival tips printed on it. I'd also add a solar powered battery charger and rechargeable batteries if you can. A dynamo/solar radio would be excellent too. I was lucky to find a really good quality kind at the Christmas Tree Shop years ago for half price ($20), and got a couple. One I used all the time (pretty much every day for a while), and the battery died and was very difficult to replace, which is obviously a problem. The other one I gave to my mom, because they lose power up here in Maine a lot, and it is still working fine, from what I can tell. I've also got a dynamo flashlight (or three), too, which I keep with me at all times in my bag.

And, of course, I do my best to keep at least a reasonable stock of dry superfoods around (chia, flax, dried seaweeds, sproutable seeds). (Unfortunately for me, I end up operating in emergency mode at least a week or two every month when it comes to food, so that stock actually gets used up fairly frequently.)

Oh, and I finally got to collect a little bit of pine pollen, which is supposed to be highly nutritious, and stores well. I wanted to get lots more, but the trees were too tall for me to collect anything but the bottom branches worth. And there weren't many trees I managed to find in bloom. (Maybe some of them will bloom later, though. I'm hoping...)