When it comes to packing survival gear there’s a multitude of products on the market and deciding which can be hard. Environment aside, there are certain key pieces you should always pack to be prepared for the worst.
If you are travelling somewhere remote where there’s a risk of getting lost, it is best to build your own survival kit. While including a majority of what you find in any standard kit (water, food, light, radio, first aid kit, compass, matches), here are a few extra pieces of gear which may come in extremely handy depending on your situation.
A survival kit should not be heavy, so carrying a couple litres of water will do nothing but add additional stress to your load. A number of companies have developed portable water filtration units, allowing you to filter 99.99% of all waterborne bacteria. The LifeStraw is only 22cm long and ultralight (50g), making it a portable solution for an infinite supply of water. Each LifeStraw can filter up to 1,000 litres of water.
Unless you know the trail well, or are being guided by a pro, don’t leave the house without a GPS tracking device. Even the most trained professionals recommend that you bring along some form of GPS tracking.
SPOT offers a GPS device allowing your friends and family to track your location during your travels, letting you mark waypoints and send predetermined custom messages to let them know you are okay. Like any good tracking device it comes equipped with an S.O.S button providing your GPS location to local authorities.
Like the name suggests, this is the same material used for parachutes. It’s lightweight, durable and strong, all important in a survival situation.
Whether it’s using the inner strands as sutures, creating a splint or sling, or evenfishing line, aracord is your most diverse tool and should be in your survival kit. The TITAN SurvivorCord is a 550-strand paracord with fishing wire, snare wire and waxed jute built into the cord.
A portable light is very handy in any situation, from illuminating dark nights to navigating caves. A headlamp like the Petzl Tactikka is designed for hunting, fishing and nature watching, and boasts 200 lumens of light and long battery life. It has proximity lighting, focused lighting and red lighting in order to conserve night vision.
As the environment will be your biggest threat, always take proper equipment with you just in case. In emergencies, you may need to bivouac, but if weight isn’t an issue, a good tent will never fail.
A solid mid-way option between a bivouac and a tent is a Hennessy-style hammock – there may be situations in which a hammock will work more in your favour, such as being elevated off wet, rocky or insect-prone ground. The Skeeter Beeter Pro is a traditional hammock with mosquito netting that can hold up to 180kg. With its low price point, it makes the perfect tool to include in your survival kit. You’ll need to purchase an additional rain tarp.
A watch is probably one of the most portable gadgets you can bring, especially if it can do more than tell time. The Survival Watch contains a number of useful features if a situation turns south. The strap is made from 550-lb strength paracord and can be unwound to 12+ ft. It also has a whistle, fire-starter with flint rod and a compass.
When all else fails, fire can save you – you can signal with it, keep warm, dry freezing/damp clothes, cook food or keep animals at bay, so matches should be included in every standard survival kit. They don’t take skill to light and provide a constant flame; UCO has a Stormproof Match Kit that will light even when completely soaked. They come packaged in a watertight container holding 25 matches and 3 strikers, and the casing is also airtight, ensuring that it floats on water.