Building a Quality Survival Kit on a Budget: Part 3

It's time to add up to $25 worth of goodness to the budget survival kit. This month I'm adding an emergency bivvy.

In the last post of this building a quality survival kit on a budget series, we added a trauma pack to the survival kit. Given that getting hurt in a survival situation can be immediately life threatening, it made sense to start there. The next most immediate survival threat is exposure so this month we are going to add something to help mitigate that.

Remember, from a survival threat perspective we can survive for:

  • three minutes without air (or in icy waters),
  • three hours without shelter,
  • three days without water,
  • three weeks without food.

Without shelter, exposure to the elements becomes a serious threat. Too much sun on a hot day can lead to exhaustion or heat stroke. Exposure to cold weather can deprive one of sleep or lead to hypothermia. Shelter protects us from environmental conditions which can become life threatening.

An easy and inexpensive way to add shelter to a survival kit is to pick up a couple of mylar blankets. These are sometimes called space blankets or emergency blankets. These can range in price and quality quite a bit. I’m not opposed to picking up a bundle of the low cost ones. In fact, I have and leave them in various locations such as glove compartments, backpacks, and other places. However, these are generally designed for single use.

So rather than suggesting those for this kit, I’m going to suggest the addition of a bivvy. For those not familiar with a bivvy, it’s bag that can be used as an improvised shelter. One can climb into it and use it as sleeping bag. It doubles as an emergency blanket. It won’t provide as much comfort as an actual sleeping bag, but it can provide shade and enough warmth to improve the odds of survival against the elements.

My recommendation is the S.O.L. Emergency Bivvy. I like S.O.L. products. They’re not the lowest cost option, but they seem to be reasonably priced for reasonable quality. Their emergency bivvy should be less than $20. It’s small. It’s light. And it’s durable enough for several uses.

S.O.L. also offers a couple of other bivvy products: the Thermal Bivvy, the Escape Lite Bivvy, and the Escape Bivvy. These other products add additional levels of durability and comfort. However, those upgrades come with an higher price tag ranging from $30 all the way to $60, which exceed the monthly budget limit of $25 for this little project.

Are the upgrades worth the additional cost? In my opinion, probably. But I’m going to stick with the sub $20 option and stay true to the project.


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