Friday, October 10, 2014

Pocket Survival

I’ve been called a lot of things in my life time. I’ve been called husband, father, missionary, military member, instructor, teacher, idiot, nutcase, and crazy. Most of them have applied. I was buying some items at a Walmart one time when the clerk asked if I was a survivalist. I said yes I would like to survive being a Scout leader. I’ve also been called a prepper for doing something that I’ve done my whole life before the word “prepper” ever existed. Yes I want to be prepared for just about anything, does that make me a prepper? Yes, I would like to survive anything that comes my way, does that make me a survivalist? I don’t know. If it does mean those two “titles”, then I guess I am both of those things. I’m not sure of the criteria for being those things, but if I fit the bill I’d accept it. I used to be called an extremist, so I think the verbiage has improved.
I want to talk to you about a survival kit. If you look on line for a pocket survival kit you will see many for sale and many ideas for making your own. I was intrigued about 6 years ago when one of my Boy Scouts showed me their Altoids mint tin survival kit. I liked the idea. So I looked at Altoids tins and felt I would like something different. I found a plastic Tupperware kind of container and made my own. Let me say this first about the container. A tin has different uses than my plastic container. You can probably cook in it. Probably not very many times, but it’s possible to put it in a flame and it will not melt. By the same token, you can’t submerge the tin in water and be assured everything inside will remain dry. You probably can’t carry a little water in the tin without a leak. So the container you choose will be what you feel is important. The tin will probably need rubber bands to keep it from opening even in your pocket. The plastic container I chose is a little bigger than the tin so you can carry more stuff, but it’s bulkier and possibly heavier because of the extra stuff.
Our survival kits have several things in them:
Fish hooks, Fishing sinkers, Mini flashlight, Book of matches, Snare wire, Paracord, Fishing line, A condom, A nail, 2 small zip ties, A button compass, A whistle, Fire steel and scraper, 2 Bandaids, Small multi-tool, Lighter, 2 Needles, Water purification tabs, Gorilla tape, Aluminum foil, Large trash bag, Razor blade, Hacksaw blade in sheath, Waterproof/windproof matches, Cotton ball with Vasaline fire starters, Birthday candle in small Ziploc bag, Safety pins, Small mirror.
This is only a sample of what you might fit in yours. I’ve seen hundreds of these lists and each is just a little different. What I did was take a list I liked and changed some things to come up with my own unique list. I would suggest taking several lists and then adding or taking away what you feel you will need or not need. As you look and find smaller items you will make room for more.
There have been many incidents when people have really needed just a few items to help them survive but did not have them. More than items, skills should be acquired. I can start a fire with a bow and drill but if I had a knife and paracord life would be so much easier. I think I could improvise and make cordage but with just a little fore thought I can take care of myself and others. Most of all I need to have those items on my person to be really effective. Having a kit in your bag or in your car is good. My friend plunged his car into a river and was able to get out but with nothing in his hands just what was on him. Luckily he had a lot of things on him. He was able to build a fire, acquire and purify water, and was munching on a fish when he was found by a State Trooper. It was because of his skills but also the fact that he had some great everyday carry (EDC). So you need to make sure that your EDC is adequate. After talking with my friend I changed some of my EDC. You must make sure you have our EDC with you always. It does you no good at home on a shelf.
When putting together your kit, remember my training acronym ASWiFFS. The basics of survival are Air, Shelter, Water, Food, Fire, and Security. If you can base your kit off of these elements you’l cover the basics. Then add tools to aid in making shelter and obtaining food and water.
I like one of these kits in my bug out bag in case I lose my bag. Make sure when you bug out that you remove the survival kit from the bag and carry it. Put one of these kits in each vehicle and bug out bag.
Like any other gear learn how to use it. Take one with you camping or in your backyard. Take a few hours and test everything in your kit. Make sure you don’t use anything not in the kit. Be honest with it and don’t sluff. Give it a real test to determine what works and also what skills you need to work on or learn. This will give you confidence in your skill and gear and some real security to know what to do if the time ever comes that you must use what you prepare. Too many “preppers” have food and gear but have never really put themselves and their preparations to the test. Don’t be that person.
Being prepared takes more than just the desire and buying “stuff”. Being prepared, like carrying a gun, requires a mindset and commitment that is life long. Gone are the days of putting wheat bags under your bed and forgetting about it. Taking your Grandfather’s .22 Marlin out twice a year and blowing through 50 rounds won’t prepare you for hunting or self defense. A commitment of time, effort, and resources must be made to be prepared. Eventually it won’t be as much effort or resources. It will be a way of life that can serve you and others for the duration of your time here on earth.
Semper Paratus
Check 6