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Re thinking survival kits

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by Thaddius Bickerton, Jun 1, 2012.

  1. I have been making up a "survival kit" of one kind or another and throwing them in pockets and packs etc for a long time. Most end up just sitting there and not getting used.

    another fellow pointed out this lack of use, and as discussion went on I started thinking about what I really use when I'm out and about.

    I have what we often call EDC stuff in my pockets. This is essentially my day to day survival kit that sees regular use.

    I also have stuff that I pack that I take fishing or woods loafing or what ever I happen to do.

    If something is real important I try to have 2 or more options for them. An example would be having a bic, and a fire steel, and the tools to make things like a fire drill etc.

    The old 3 is 2 2 is 1 1 is none school of thought.

    Anyway as I work though this re think I keep asking myself: When if ever will I be in a situation where I would not have my EDC or my pack etc and need to go to a small pocket kit like an altoids tin for stuff to get along in the woods.

    The only thing I can come up with would be if I were like a POW and someone slipped me the small kit and it was all I had, in which case I would of course consider it my main kit while I sought to acquire more and better stuff to help me get along.

    I have pretty much slimmed down (ha, not really light weight but if I don't use it, I am trimming out all but the stuff that I feel I will need at some point and the small kit is worth keeping on me, such as FAK's)

    At this point (since my stroke) I don't think I could do much more than walk (slowly) to another family location.

    So I have stuff cached / pre positioned at places where I might go.

    Stuff in my car that I could and do use.

    but what I carry I use.

    So for emergencies I just use what I have and find that I know what I will do for what I can imagine myself getting into.

    For Mr. Murphy I carry things that commonly come up.


    I don't try for ultra miniturized mini kits anymore that I will not use, instead using what I already have.

    I have thought about loosing my EDC somehow, or my pack, or what have you.

    If it gets that grubby having a few small things in a mini kit would probably just also be lost.

    I guess all this ramble is my way of saying use what you carry, keep it current and replace what gets used up.

    If one keeps the survival only kits, then make sure you use them from time to time alone just to see if they will really work for you and are not just theory.

    Another example, I hear of toting water in a condom, but here in Alabama I have never walked so far that I did not run up on thrown out bottles and cans that I could clean up and use. I don't usually get that far from some sort of water bottle in my pack or car or home.

    I do find that I use a ziplock baggy almost every time I am out during the day. sometimes It is to put some extra condiments n such from fast food into to save for putting into my woods loafing food bag. Sometimes I put trash / candy my kids hand me / gum into it until I can dispose of it. I use them to keep my TP dry. I put my wallet etc into one to keep it dry if I fall while wading in the pond fishing. and Should I for some reason need a container to carry water, I could use it for that. so I usually have a ziplock in my pocket, and spares in the car, pack, or house. This is used daily kit that also can be used for when Mr. Murphy calls.

    As I get older I have spent way to much time thinking about what if's until I have ready answers for a lot of things that come up like my baggies for stuff.

    When I think of walking someplace, I also think where I would be starting from. Unless I was taken somewhere against my will and chose to escape, which would probably be with what ever I could gather on my way out the place I could just walk out the door and go to where I have stuff pre stashed.

    I keep a spare key hidden on the car, I have stuff cached, I have stuff in metal cans at most of the out buildings around the homestead with some useful stuff in them. I have a lot at several family homes that I might need to walk to and if I showed up butt nekked, I could put on cloths, put a reasonable set of tool in my pockets / bags etc and again have passable tools to move to the next step of the situation.

    So what I guess I'm trying to say is why do we carry a mini kit of "never used, but nice to have when the day comes" stuff? How likely are we to have even that kit if we loose what is in our pockets / pack / car / home?

    The one thing we all have and that is pretty much always with us is what we carry in our mind. That is the real survival kit.

    What is ya'll thoughts on survival kits, are they really just a hobby (one I have nothing against if you like making / carrying them) or do most people use them and not bother with carrying other kit and mostly use that. Just how useful and commonly used are survival kits?

    What exactally constitutes a survival kit for most of us? Is it something we have and don't use, or our regular gear we take where we go? don't others carry back ups they would use long before digging out the stuff in the altoids tin?

    One last example to try to explain my thinking: I never carry just one knife / sharp with me. If one were to fail or get lost I have a back up that is much better than the small xacto blade I put in my mini tin. I have backyard played with just a loose xacto blade. It really is not much more useful than a nice sharp shard of flint. I can find rock most everywhere I might be. I know how to make a hoko knife and would probalby haft a xacto blade if I got down to it. But in 50 years I have never had to use it and not had other better options.

    goodness I feel like I'm just on the edge of breaking through to a better way of understanding gear and such, but I just cannnot quite get it into a simple answer. I am hoping others have that answer and will share their thinking.

    Of course if you want to discuss using those mini altoid kits I don't mind the theory, but I would also like to hear if anyone has actually used one or known someone who had to drop back to depending on one and if it was a help or just wasted time better spent with other efforts?

    sorry for the poor attempt at getting this out there, but I keep feeling like having something I don't use is not helpful, and perhaps a dangerous placebo that give false comfort to me.

    Well I will let this percolate for a bit and check back to see if others have wisdom to share that will help me get my re think up to a better level of understanding.

    SurvivalTech likes this.
  2. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    I completely agree. There is a difference between those of us who make "kits" and those who choose to rely upon good old fashioned skill, and we have each on this forum. The bushcraft section has some interesting tidbits on ideas which do not focus on expensive kit. This would follow your path of thinking more closely than a prepper lifestyle typified by items stored for emergency use in the form of emergency kits and such.

    The main, overriding idea is to cover the basics (food, water, fire, shelter, first aid) no matter your disposition or beliefs. If this means making fire with a stick and some spit or a spanking-new firesteel and chaga, it still accomplishes the task. The only loser is the one who has neither mind nor patience to prepare.
    VisuTrac likes this.
  3. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Broker has a very good handle on the above, HOWEVER I would add that if you have more than ONE, in your Group, Comms, between Members of a Group, is as important as FirstAid. Even if it is as basic as the use of hand signals, rather than speech.
    ..... YMMV....
    Brokor likes this.
  4. snowbyrd

    snowbyrd Latet anguis in herba

    Very thought provoking, I am one guilty of making a lot of "kits", most of them I give away, I hope the people I give them to are able to use them. My EDC is (are) my pockets. And if it came to a search and take from me I would use my (our) most powerful weapon, the mind, I can only hope and pray mine will be = to the task. I do practice with the 'stuff' I carry, on my person and in my vehicle, my 'BOB', and that which I have at home. One thing I have found lacking is footware, truck broke and luckly I had my tennies in the truck, woulda been a long walk home in my packers. I had my 1st aid pack with me, so it was emptied and was filled with my 1/2 mt gal of H2O, shudda been full.......Strapped on my fanny pack, little dude, a GIANT Altoid kind of thing. If I had had none of this, yeppers I woulda made it home.
    Minimalist things are mostly a mental krutch, a garbage bag, lighter, exacto blade and an energy bar.......As stated B4 I do practice, I really hope that the persons here on this board do practice, even in their back yards, stop by the side of the road, in the worst of conditions, and try to start a fire, eat an MRE, try that aoh heater, see how warm it keeps your car in a snow storm/blizzard.....a towel, wet, in the window, does it help keep you cool in the heat of summer there in AZ or TX?
    One thing to read about it another to really do it and understand how or if it works......
    Just sayin'
  5. wrc223

    wrc223 Monkey+

    I guess my idea of a kit is different than others'.
    To me a kit is multiple items that need to be kept together that accomplish a specific task. For example: I keep a sewing KIT in my b.o.b. I keep my water purification KIT handy. Grab me the trauma KIT.
    Following that line of thought, I could never reconcider my kits because each one serves a purpose. The number of kits I carry are more dependent on the situation or scenerio I face. At any point I have the ability to go from ready to run to the store for a lotto ticket (my pockets are my kit) or be stranded for a couple weeks due to a blizzard (survival bags and other gear stowed away in the truck). Work is around 8 miles away, kids school is 5 miles away, Grocery store is 4 miles away, Dr. office is 4 miles away, fire station 1 is 3 miles away, station 2 is 75 yards away, wife's work is 11 miles away (3 miles from my work), and the homestead is conviniently located in the middle of all above points listed. My job encourages things like full carry so having pistols, rifles, and shotguns around is as easy as extending your hand.
    I am never more than 200 yards away from guns or gear so my EDC is reletively light. Wallet, CCW, knife, a can of skoal, and ME......a recipe for a big ole time!!
    Thaddius Bickerton likes this.
  6. Which is still if you have it use it, or have used it. Organize it anyway that pleases one, but if you never use it (except for the insurance things like FAK) then it is possible that you don't need it.

    As for prepper / survivalist vs bushcraft, I would say that they are two parts of a greater whole.

    I live on my homestead which is also my retreat / bug out / in location prime. I have others. I could walk to any of the others with just what is in my pockets.

    I have a light bag I would want to grab if I had to run out the door. Better stuff in the car and else where to resupply.

    I also have bush / woods loafing stuff that I would use for anything from over night to INCH (im not coming home).

    A long term back pack survival set of gear would of course be much different from a walk to my cache / bug out place gear and that different from staying home and living as close to normal come what may, adapting and shifting to plan B C or D etc.

    What is bugging me is that for years I carried stuff that I had put up and never used, nor had I taken duplicates and used them. for example I never bothered to haft a xacto blade and try to clean a animal I had snared. could I do so? probably , but I never tried. I always had 2 or three other options that filled that need even if a blade failed me.

    so what I'm trying to work out in my mind is that use what I carry / carry what I use.

    I still buy into the exception of emergency medical stuff. I hope I never need to use it. I have trained in using it and used similar so I know what I want to grab. also sad to say I have often had to dip into the FAK / heavier duty med kits I carry. Someone always seems to have a boo boo that needs patching up. Some folk I work with I have fixed up that probably needed to go to the Dr. but had no insurance or money so my butter fly strips, triple anti biotic, and gauze / tape had to make do for them. I may have mentioned that the co-op and fish stores sold anti biotics that were not supposed to be used by humans, but that come ZOMBIE apocalypse they might be all we could get.

    Seems a few observed back that without money for a Dr. they were all many could get even now.

    Well that's freedom for ya aint it?

  7. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    It's not so much about "making due" with the bare minimum, as it is using what you prefer and knowing what works well. Can I cut with a bare razor blade or a tiny pocket knife -sure. Do I want to -no.

    I could break out a Mora and carve a wooden spoon and wooden bowl. Is this ideal? No. I like my titanium kit, I will use it.

    If one assumes they will be barefoot and naked in the middle of nowhere when TSHTF, then DON'T BE BAREFOOT AND NAKED. If you "don't use it", then it is a PREP.It isn't meant to be used until YOU NEED IT.
    SurvivalTech and VisuTrac like this.
  8. -06

    -06 Monkey+++

    Making do is a back up. Doing well is better. We are a "bug in" family but are fully prepped to move out on short notice. The top of our preps are military shipping containers that contain virtual rooms. We out grew the med kit so now it is in two containers. Can never get too many bandages/etc. Down sizing our bulk storage from 55 gal to 20 gal and 5 gal buckets. Much easier to move smaller barrels/buckets. We have moved most of our stored into one gallon jars (plastic/glass) nestled into milk crates. They stack nicely and keep everything where it is visible. Gradually moving our gallon canned condiments into quart/half gallon jars.
    Thaddius Bickerton and Brokor like this.
  9. 06

    know what you mean,

    My med kit as opposed to a FAK is pretty decent.

    In fact I have a couple nurses that have not only helped me get the thing together, but have had two different Dr's say that I have better set up than what they keep.

    I hope I never have to use those. But Mr. Murphy has his ways.

    Better to have and not need than need and not have.

    But ya gotta allow, that should things go wrong today I'm going to the emergency room.

    Same with smaller FAK's At this point in time I just need to be able to keep going to better care options.

    I"m not giving up my preps, or my emergency stuff, but I am adjusting what I may carry on a day hike to the lake to fish.

    worst case I walk to a cache / home and pick up some stuff.

    Now I'd much rather walk there with my shoes and cloths and stuff than nekked, but I always have back ups to my back ups.

    My "root Cellars" are dug / made, but I sure do like those containers, just don't need them at this point.

    If I were starting out now, i would be looking for those extra tall 40 foot long ones.

    No such thing as to much underground storage / sleeping and storm shelter / etc.

    And way less expensive and time consuming than digging and building with block n cement etc.

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