Building a Quality Survival Kit on a Budget: Part 16

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 communications 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, combat, and communications. While it would seem logical that this post would look at “calories”, the next and final category of the 10 C’s plus one, this series already covered it back in part 5. As such, this will likely be the final post in the series. It’s been a good run, but we have covered just about everything that I can think of.

So instead of covering another topic, let’s do a little review and figure out where to go from here.

This series first started by taking a look at a prioritized list of threats to our survival and recognized that we can only survive for:

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

While these four threats are always present, they are extremely important to keep in mind when deciding what to add and remove from any survival kit, get home bag, bug out bag, or packing list for any outdoor activity. This is because the longer one finds themselves out in the elements and away from the safety of home we find ourselves at an increasing likelihood of finding ourselves in a situation where proper skills and equipment is necessary to avoid succumbing to those threats. In fact, every single item added to the survival kit as a part of the 10 C’s plus one was an item that increased our survival resilience in an emergency situation when combined with the appropriate skills.

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

Let’s review what’s gone into the survival kit.

SeriesItemNotes
Part 1MTM ammo canThe container for the survival kit.
Also, a 10 C’s plus one container.
Provides resilience against lack of water.
Part 2Adventure Medical Kits Trauma Pak with QuikClotA casualty care item.
Provides resilience against lack of air (due to injury)
Part 3S.O.L. Emergency BivvyA cover item.
Provides resilience against lack of shelter.
Part 4Sawyer Mini Water Filtration SystemAnother container item.
Provides resilience against lack of water.
Part 5Cliff Bars,
a pouch of freeze dried camping food,
or spare cash
A calorie item.
Provides resilience against lack of food.
Part 6Morakniv Companion,
Gerber Dime,
or Victorinox Tinker Swiss Army Knife
A cutting tool item.
Can also serve as a combat item.
Provides resilience against lack of shelter.
Provides resilience against lack of food.
Can provide resilience against lack of air as a combat item.
Part 7WetFire Tinder packets,
a FireSteel rod with a striker,
matches,
and lighter
Four combustion items.
Provides resilience against lack of shelter.
Provides resilience against lack of water.
Provides resilience against lack of food.
Part 8Paracord
and duct tape
Two cordage items.
Can also serve as casualty care items.
Provides resilience against lack of shelter.
Can provide resilience against lack of air as casualty care items.
Part 9Nalgene Oasis water bottle,
standard GI style stainless steel canteen cup,
or Potable Aqua water purification tables
Additional container items.
Provides resilience against lack of water.
Can provide resilience against lack of food.
Part 10Boonie hat
or work gloves
Additional cover items.
Provides resilience against lack of shelter.
Part 11Eyeskey compass
and local area maps
Two compass items.
Provides resilience against all threats indirectly.
Part 12Streamlight MicroStream,
glow sticks,
candles,
or road flares
Candle items.
Provides resilience against all threats indirectly.
Part 130.5 size First Aid Kit
and personal cleansing wipes
Additional casualty care items.
Provides resilience against lack of air.
Part 14Small hatchetAdditional cutting tool.
Can also serve as a combat item.
Provides resilience against lack of shelter.
Provides resilience against lack of food.
Can provide resilience against lack of air as a combat item.
Part 15Emergency hand crank self powered radio
and Rite in the Rain all weather notebook
Two communication items.
Provides resilience against all threats indirectly.

From a what’s missing perspective, the kit doesn’t have any dedicated combat items. This is one area that should be addressed by folks who do not regularly carry weapons for armed defense purposes as discussed in part 14 of the series. Other than that, the kit seems fairly complete to me. Sure some items could be added to provide redundancies, but that comes at the cost of extra weight which requires consideration depending on the kits intended purpose. Some folks might suggest upgrading some items later down the road since this project did present a budgetary constraint and I don’t see anything wrong with that suggestion.

That said, in terms of equipment, I would suggest replacing the ammo can with a small pack that is easier to travel on foot with and frees up hands like a small sling pack. I personally like the 5.11 Rush Moab 6 bag. However, that bag exceeds the $25 per month budget of this project and some folks will prefer a less tactical bag. The bag itself isn’t important. The point is to make it easier to keep the contents of the kit together while maximizing mobility.

Looking beyond the gear, it’s important to develop the skills to use the gear effectively should the need arise. It’s also important to test the gear to ensure we have made the best choices. An easy way to do this is to take the gear on a camping trip and attempt to complete the trip with just the gear in the kit. Now, I’m not suggesting purposefully putting ourselves at peril. The camping trip can be done in one’s backyard. It can even be done indoors if need be. Or it can be a typical camping trip with all the typical accouterments nearby. The point is to have everything we need to be safe and comfortable should the survival kit and our skills begin to fail when testing out the kit. This type of functional testing will inform what skills need development and what equipment changes are needed.

Whether it’s for emergency preparedness or for recreational activities, I do hope this series has given readers some things to think about and things to consider as they build their own kits to fit their needs.

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