What do you consider survival tools ? Knife, firestarter, hatchet or ax, multitool, whistle, water filter, the list goes on.
The number one survival tool is you, your ability to think, to react to most any scenario. As my mother used to say “Use the brain God gave you”. Rely on your brain before any of the tools we will mention, only you know what your situation might be.
So with that out of the way, let us get down to business.
Survival Tools- The Bug Out Bag
When I think about survival the first thing that comes to mind is the bug out bag. It is sometimes referred to as a get home bag, 72-hour bag or get out of dodge bag. My bug out bag consists of items that will get me home if SHTF while I’m away. I have all the survival tools mentioned above plus a few things.
Keep It Basic – Don’t Advertise
The first thing you need is the bag, Keep it basic the last thing you want is to send the message look at me I have survival tools. My bag is a black Snug Pack Rocket Pack. Once you have your pack or bag there are some must have items.
Top Survival Tools For Your Pack
Actually Shelter should be the first if you follow the rule of 3’s but in my opinion, water is the most important.
The number one item on the list is water. You will need at minimum 1 liter of water per day. Since this is a 72-hour bag that means you will need at minimum of 3 liters of water. I carry 2 collapsible water bottles when they are empty take up little space in my pack. And the LifeStraw water bottle.
I also include the LifeStraw filter and purification tabs. This gives you options you in a survival situation you may not have the time to boil water. So to get clean purified drinking water you have 3 options Boiling, filtering, and chemical. I have on occasion used the purification tabs along with the filters. I also keep a few coffee filters to filter out solids like sticks and sand.
Number two: Shelter
For my basic shelter, I have a 6X10 tarp, heat reflective survival blanket, sleeping bag, and a backpackers tent.
A tent is an option you may or may not want. Remember if you opt for a tent keep it basic you don’t want a tent that screams here I am.
I include clothing in my shelter category. You don’t have to have all of this in your pack you will be wearing some of it. You should pack the following: 1 extra pairs of pants not blue jeans I have a pair of BDU purchased from the surplus store. Also 1 long sleeve and 1 short sleeve shirt, 2 pairs of wool socks, 2 changes of underwear. Wool or fleece hat, thermal underwear, fleece-lined jacket with hood, rain jacket, poncho, well broke in pair hiking boots.
Number three: Food
You don’t need a lot of food you can go for more than 72 hours without food.
Some will tell you canned goods are a good choice they also add weight to your pack. Personally, I pack very little in the way of food, listed here are the foods I have in my pack.
Survival Food Bars: designed for anyone who’s on the go and doesn’t have tons of room to lug around large food supplies.
Trail Mix: You can buy this at most any grocery store or do as I do and make your own. My homemade mix consists of raisins, cashews, dried cranberries, hazelnuts and plain M&M candies. I package it in individual serving sizes in vacuum sealed bags. Recipe here.
Also, you can pack some of the backpacker meals from Mountain House or one of the other suppliers. MRE’s are also good and pack well and they come with their own heater.
If you are going to carry anything that requires cooking you will need a basic cooking kit or boiling water. My cooking kit consists of a small coffee pot, a metal cup, eating utensils, and a lightweight backpackers stove and a fuel canister.
Number Four: Fire, Heat, and Light
Making fire is one of the most important survival skills. You should have a least 3 and probably more ways of making fire. The easiest way to make fire is using a lighter or matches but you may not alway have that convenience. I buy butane lighters at the dollar store or Wal-Mart they are light weight and pack easily. You can find waterproof matches at most outdoor sports stores or online from the suppliers listed at the bottom of this post.
Also, include a fire steel which can generate sparks in any weather condition. You will also want to include a fire steel which can generate sparks in any weather condition. You also need some type of tinder to get your fire going. Cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly work really well for this. I also carry Wet Fire you can light this when wet or even sitting in water.
Light – flashlights, headlamps, battery operated lanterns , light sticks, candles are all sources of light. I have 2 flashlights both LED plus a couple of light sticks and a LED headlamp. I also have candles that can be used for light and heat in a small area.
You can build your own first aid kit or buy one pre-made . I started with the Adventure Medical Mountain Series Kit and added additional items. Additional items included more Triple Antibiotic Ointment, 2 Suture Kits, More Butterfly bandages, Nitrile Gloves, and QuikClot Advanced Clotting Sponge.
Number Six: Communication:
A fully charged cell phone is at the top of this list. In an emergency, cell phone service will probably be inaccessible. However, text messages typically still go through, so having a cell phone is a necessity. You will also need a way to charge your cell phone. Some options for charging your cell phone include solar charging units, hand crank chargers, and aftermarket battery boosters. You need to research and determine which solution is best for your phone.
You will also need some sort of Radio AM/FM/Weather this is a good source of information. I personally carry the Esky Solar Hand Crank Self-Powered Emergency Radio. This radio is also a light source and has a USB charger for cell phones.
If you are traveling as a group you may want some sort of two-way communication other than cell phones. I have the Motorola MH230R 23-Mile Range 22-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio, with extra Battery Packs.
Detailed maps of your surrounding area and any areas you may be traveling to or through. Do not depend on GPS in an emergency situation I’m not sure I trust them in nonemergency situations.
Get a good compass and learn how to use it.
Also on this list are your important documents and contacts. Among these should be your driverâ€™s license, passport, social security card, medical information, important phone numbers and account numbers (bank, insurance, credit cards, etc.), and your gun carry permit. You should also have names, addresses, and phone numbers for friends and family you may need to contact.
Number Seven: Protection
In any emergency evacuation situation, the police and other public safety personnel will be overwhelmed. You need to to be ready and prepared to protect yourself and your family or other members of your group. You will have to decide what type of defense weapon you want I would suggest a firearm of some type. Some people like handguns others rifles or shotguns. I like my .45 ACP it has stopping power needed and I know the weapon. In addition, you may want to carry a survival knife and pepper or bear spray.
Number Eight: Tools and Other Gear
In my opinion, the most important Survival tools you can carry is a knife it will undoubtedly be your most useful survival tool. My personal favorite is the KA-BAR Full Size US Marine Corps Fighting Knife. I also carry the Ka-Bar Gila Folder Knife as you can see I’m kind of partial to Ka-Bar.
The next tool you will be needing is a good multi-tool. A multi-tool can be used for a variety of things from cutting wire to removing screws. I personally carry a Leatherman – MUT Multi-Tool this multi-tool features 16 different Survival tools.
Cash (How much is personal preference) I keep $1000 in 5, 10, and 20 dollar bills.
Leather work gloves
Small sewing kit
Heavy duty 30-gallon garbage bags
Small fishing kit
Small knife sharpener
100 feet of paracord
Machete (clearing brush, chopping wood, self-defense)
Ax or Hatchet
Can Opener I carry a P38
Travel toothbrush w/ toothpaste
Ther are many other Items you can add or take some away. How you make your bag and what you put in it is a personal choice.
Resources: For your Survival Tools
Note: This is not what I had intended when I began this post but where my brain took me. I will be doing a follow up with more information soon.