Building a Quality Survival Kit on a Budget: Part 11

It's time to add up to $25 worth of goodness to the budget survival kit. This month I am looking at items necessary for effective land navigation.

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 cover 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, containers, and cover. Now it’s time to look at the next category of the 10 C’s plus one, which happens to be “compass”, 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

The concept of compass in this context refers to the tools required to effectively navigate. In other words, the ability to identify one’s current position, destination, and traveling direction. Generally speaking, most folks nowadays use their smartphone for this and the smartphone is a great tool. Most smart phones provide both maps, a compass, and even turn by turn directions with the built in GPS capabilities. This convenient technology that most individuals have in their pocket makes alternative mapping and directional tools something that is often overlooked.

When not overlooked, many tools that provide directional information can get pretty expensive pretty quick. Fortunately, one doesn’t have to spend a fortune to gather a few things that help in this context.

A typical local map of the area is inexpensive and something that I believe to be a must. Even if one has lived in the area for a significant amount of time, a local area map provides the foundation for navigation and can be used to find alternative routes that one may not be familiar with. Luckily, maps are generally inexpensive.

However, a map is only half of the equation. The other half consists of being able to tell direction. That essentially comes down to using a compass. My preference is a lensatic compass. A high quality rugged lensatic compass, like a Cammenga compass, will easily surpass the monthly budget of this project. Thankfully, there are some decent inexpensive options like an Eyeskey compass that can leave enough in the monthly budget to pick up a local map as well when found on sale.

At the end of the day, I think it’s important to have an alternative to the smartphone for navigation in a survival kit. Don’t get me wrong, the smartphone is great but it is dependent on a battery and a data signal to function properly as a navigational tool. Additionally, turn by turn applications tend to drain the battery of a smartphone pretty quickly. Having and knowing how to use a map and a compass in a kit can come in really handy. 

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