Building a Quality Survival Kit on a Budget: Part 10

It's time to add up to $25 worth of goodness to the budget survival kit. This month I am looking at items that provide cover, which offer some additional protection in survival situations.

In the last post of this building a quality survival kit on a budget series, we continued exploring the 10 C’s plus one concept and added some containers to the survival kit. At this point, the survival kit contains items to help combat all of the most common threats. As such, we have started adding some utility to it. We have also introduced a few options for cutting tools, combustion, cordage, and containers. Now it’s time to look at the next category of the 10 C’s plus one, which happens to be “cover”, to figure out what to add next to the kit.

For review and in terms of utility, I like to refer to a concept coined as the 10 C’s plus one. They are:

  • Cutting (tools)
  • Combustion
  • Cordage
  • Container
  • Cover
  • Compass (maps)
  • Candle (lighting)
  • Casualty care
  • Combat
  • Communications
  • Calories

Cover is a very broad category of things that can be used as protection from the elements. Items in this category can also be used to conceal us in the circumstances requiring folks to be hidden. As such, cover items are very situationally dependent on the environment, terrain, and climate. It also implies these category items need to be updated as seasons change. Examples of items that fall into this category include, but are not limited to, clothing, ponchos, removable outer layers, sleeping bags, tarps, tents, and much more.

Assuming folks have been keeping up with this series, we already have one item in the kit that can function as cover. That’s the emergency bivvy that was added back in part 3 of this series. I’m a big fan of that item because it’s small, light, inexpensive, and is multipurpose.

A few questions remain, however. The first question in my mind is “should additional cover items be added to this kit?” I think the answer is yes. However, the question that immediately follows is “what can be added that with the budget limitations that doesn’t require seasonal adjustments?” This is a tougher question to answer and I suggest giving it some thought before following my suggestion. I say this because your individual local environment may suggest something more important.

The other thing to consider before deciding what sort of cover to add to the kit is that the type of survival kit we have been stocking is likely to function as a supplement to whatever one typically carries on their person. While there is some wisdom in doubling up in case an item fails, I find this sort of kit to be more useful when it fills readiness gaps left by everyday items first before making existing capabilities redundant. Now let’s consider some examples.

If you reside and find yourself in an area where rain is almost a regular occurrence, then you may be better served by adding some sort of cover that provides protection against that rain. That may be a rain jacket, an inexpensive poncho, or perhaps even a light compact umbrella. On the other hand, if you happen to reside in an arid desert environment, then it might be more prudent to pick up a boonie hat (especially if you don’t commonly wear a hat or cap regularly) to provide a little shade.

That said, I think something that is often overlooked and arguably essential to a survival situation is a decent pair of work gloves. While these won’t necessarily provide a lot of protection against the elements like other items in this category, I’ve found that situations in which I end up reaching for the survival kit are often situations where I need to use my hands. That may be because I need to change a flat tire, prepare a campfire, or something similar requiring me to handle tools and work with my hands. Oftentimes, gloves provide a good amount of protection, keep the hands cleaner, and generally make these tasks more comfortable. Another way of looking at it, they help a person keep doing what needs to be done longer.

A decent pair of work gloves can be purchased without even coming close to the $25 a month budgetary limit for this project. Rather than suggesting another specific cover item to include in the kit, I’m going to suggest using the remaining budget to supplement items from this or prior posts in the series. So consider your environment, then go take another gander at prior posts, and pick something that makes your kit better for you and your situation.

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