by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
Far too many kits that people put together and then recommend on the Internet and those that are for sale are a waste of money and useless...
The same is true and even more so with the commercially available ones, and here I am referring especially to the “pocket survival kits”.
Why? Because they contain items of stuff that may feel good to have around but are a total waste of space, money and time.
If you are really lost in the wilderness you want to get out and home and you do not want/need fishing kit, wire snares, etc. in a pocket survival kit. In a bug out bag that may be one thing – I said, maybe – but not in a pocket kit or a “kit” that you carry in one way or other on your person.
But you do need a good knife, a flashlight, an emergency whistle, a good compass, maybe some first aid bits such as some Band Aids, and some means to make a fire, a couple of safety pins, and that is about all. Everything else is a waste of space and money.
As I have said and stressed above the word “good” is what counts for those items that you do carry in your personal (pocket) survival kit.
Most of the pocket survival kits on the market are cheapish and thus the quality of the contents is more than questionable. Also you want a knife, even if the blade if but 2.5 inches long and not a single-sided razor blade.
So, let's look at the real thing...
Knife: Obviously we are talking here (folding) pocket knife and my advice is a single bladed one and nothing can beat the Opinel #6 in price and quality and thus value for money.
Compass: Don't skimp here. This thing may get you out of trouble. Do not go for those little button compasses but for a slightly larger one from the likes of Silva or Suunto. My choice would be the Silva “Starter” or similar.
Light: A small, wind-up flashlight also would be a great choice and there are some rather small ones available with two LEDs that are extremely bright and are intended to be put onto a key chain.
Whistle: My favorite choice is a metal whistle as used to be used by the Metropolitan Police in London (England) or a Thunderer whistle. Unless you do not wish to be found then a whistle is a must to attract rescuers.
Fire tool: No, not a silly magnesium and flint fire lighter. Another waste of money. Just get a refillable butane gas lighter such as those plastic such as “Clipper” or “Cricket” (both look very similar) and use replaceable flints and can be refilled. An alternative are those refillable cigarette lighters that use electronic ignition. When they get wet though they take a lot to get going again. Stick with the flint ones, would be my advice here.
The final bits would be some string (paracord would be good), some assorted safety pins and a couple of Band Aids.
As some of the items in this kit are not the cheapest of the cheap the cost will be a little bit more than the cost of one of those commercially available cheap ones but putting your own kit together from real quality ingredients, so to speak, will be better than relying on cheap tools and bits.
Now, let's be careful out there...