Building a Quality Survival Kit on a Budget: Part 15

It's time to add up to $25 worth of goodness to the budget survival kit. This month I am looking a couple of items that can improve our ability to send and receive information.

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 casualty care 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, cover, compass, candle, casualty care, and combat. Now it’s time to look at the next category of the 10 C’s plus one, which happens to be “communitactions”, 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 communications in this context refers to the tools required to effectively send or receive information to or from one or more sources.

To be quite frank, I’ve been dreading this topic in this series for some time because I’ve been uncertain what to suggest. Part of me wants to simply suggest picking up a Baofeng UV-5R two way radio and be done with it. It is an amazingly low priced (right around $25 on sale), fairly reliable, and well featured radio. As such, it is an extremely popular option among many survival and preparedness minded folks. However, it does present some challenges since it’s not exactly user friendly and does require learning a bit about radio communications and obtaining proper licenses in order to use it legally per FCC regulations. The other reason that I’m hesitant to go this route is that it is limited as a one way radio which can be used to listen in on local emergency frequencies assuming local emergency services aren’t using encrypted communications and we know what they are unless he happen to have other friends and family members who have another radio, know how to use it, are in range, and are listening for friendly communications. There simply is a lot more to it than spending $25 on a two way radio and tossing it in a kit.

So what other options do we have?

There is some value in a one way radio. Even more so if that one way radio can complement and support some of the other items and capabilities in the survival kit. As such, I’m going to suggest this emergency hand crank self powered radio from RunningSnail. The radio can receive weather broadcasts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as well as listen in on AM/FM radio frequencies which can be useful when the power goes out during severe weather. Additionally, it can serve as a power bank for smartphones or another light source. On sale these can be picked for about $15 and are regularly priced around $25.

While the term communications is commonly associated with radio when it comes to survival situations, it’s important to remember the basic definition – the ability and tools needed to send or receive information to or from one or more sources. The one way radio ticks the box when it comes to receiving information. It can also help power smart phones which I assume most of us usually have on our persons and ticks both send and receive capabilities. Even so, I like having some good old fashioned pen (or pencil) and paper in the survival kit. I’m partial to the Rite in the Rain all weather notebooks (which can be picked up for around $7) because the paper won’t fall apart during wet weather. Pair that with No. 2 pencil (that can be sharpened with the cutting tools in the kit) and a ballpoint pen and we now have the ability to record information and leave notes if need be.

That’s this month’s suggestion. An inexpensive emergency radio, a notebook, a pencil, and a pen. All of which can be picked up with a little effort to find good sale prices for under the $25 monthly budget constraint of this project. If one happens to have few extra bucks, consider picking a small light weight signal mirror for the kit as well.

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