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Learning the basics, part 6.

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If youíve read the forum at length youíve had to notice the big interest in survival gear. With all the advances in technology today there is a newer version of essential gear being advertised all the time. Newer steels for knives, fancier electronics in GPS equipment just to name a couple.

This being said there is something about making your own gear. Some members have gotten into knife making, making both hand and bow fire-drill sets, & flint knapping, just to name a few. Both of my older Field-books have chapters on making your own gear.

There are many lists of Survival gear/kits out there; some minimal, others quite lengthy. There is no ďone size fits allĒ list or kit. During deer season you can go into the Wally-World sporting goods dept. & pick up a small survival book by J. Wayne Fears. It has a short list of survival gear that one should carry into the outdoors on any venture. Experienced Backpackers usually always carry a ď10 EssentialsĒ kit.

In chapter 12 there is also a short list, although it doesnít list the newer, better gear that we know about today. Iíve also listed some things that I think should always be included. My additions and notes will be in red.

Before I start, however, I want to point out something. ANY type of gear is better than none. For example, an empty soda bottle is not as good as a professionally made water bottle obviously, but itís better than none at all. Donít make the mistake of overlooking a needed item found on the ground simply because it isnít as good of quality that a store-bought item is. If youíre short on cash, & today who isnít, you can always make or find something suitable.
So hereís the list, starting out with just the 12 items listed in the book:

1. Rescue blanket. (Just about every survival book Iíve read and every survival kit Iíve seen advocate the little mylar blanket that, when folded, are aout the size of a deck of cards. These are usually considered disposable as once youíve used them you canít fold them back very well. They are also pretty flimsy and are grommetless. I prefer the ďSportmanís Blanket; itís heavier and has grommets in the corners, allowing it to be uses as a tarp/shelter as well.)
2. 50 feet of nylon cord. (If your budget permits, buy 550 Parachute Cord; it has many uses and is much stronger than regular nylon cord.)
3. Hard candy, chocolate, meat bar(Jerky, Slim Jimís, etc. can also be used.)
4. Matches, Metal Match, and 0000 steel wool. (Magnifying glass, Magnesium block with striker, ďStrike ForceĒ fire starter also work well. A 9 volt battery goes well with the steel wool, but extreme care in using them is a must!)
5. Candle/fire starters.
6. Plastic (Flat,pea-less type.) whistle.
7. Small, glass, signal mirror. (Plastic mirrors, such as the Starflash work just as well.)
8. Pen light with spare batteries. (Both Mini-Mag Lights & Head lamps, work equally as well.)
9. Small, sharp, pocket knife. (Many prefer the Swiss Army Knife made be either Victorinox or Wenger.)
10. Metal cup or plastic water bottle. (Or both.)
11. Water purification tablets.(Water filter, 2% Iodine, pot to boil water in.)
12. Clear, plastic sheet or emergency shelter. (Tube tent, Bivy Bag, etc.)

Now for the items I feel are also nessasary:

13. 4 4-ply 55 gallon trash bags.
14. Small pack
15. Compass, map, & the knowledge on using them.
16. Sunglasses
17. 1st Aid Kit. (A small one for each member of your group and one larger one for the leader; plus Red-Cross classes for everybody.)
18. Duct tape.
19. Fishing kit.
20. Snare wire.
21. Pen & small notebook.
22. Bandanas.
23. Book, cards, or something to relieve boredom. A small Survival book is nice.
24. Iíve saved the best for last, as itís for ďadults only.Ē A fixed-blade knife; I suggest a Mora knife, but you decide which one to carry.

Well, this ends the series of blog posts; & if youíre new to the area of Wilderness Survival then I hope itís encouraged you to do your homework. Of course, one youíve exhausted the whole book used here, youíre not done, and youíve just started. There are more books to read and, for your next one, I strongly suggest ď98.6: The Art of Keeping Youíre A$$ Alive!Ē by Cody Lundin. Remember this; however, any survival book should be germane to your geographic location. It doesnít do you any good to read on how to survive in Greenland if your going to be in Arizona. So long and stay safe!


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  1. smudd55's Avatar
    Great blog Sarge. Very good list. I enjoyed watching Lundin's survival show on Discovery channel.
  2. intothenew's Avatar
    Thanks for the outline.
  3. B-urban83's Avatar
    could you toss in some detail on the basics of whats included in the fishing kit?
    standard test of line and better type of hooks.
    i know it depends on the region, but if there could be a generic/basic version i'd greatly appreciate it