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Offline Phaedrus

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The Smallest Practical Survival Kit
« on: April 10, 2018, 03:54:06 AM »
Here and at another forum there's a been a bit of discussion lately about Altoids Tin PSKs, and Moe started a thread a couple years back on the topic.  His take, and one that I agree with, is that the typical Altoids kit is more wishful thinking than real survival kit.  If you concede at least for the sake of argument that this is true, then the next question is probably how large must a PSK kit be to actually be something you could use to survive in a tough situation?

A few things would seem obvious. First, your AO, the season and your skill level would all greatly influence the composition of your kit.  If you bushwhack in the PNW where there's plenty of water you might get by with just a Whirlpack and some Aqua-Tabs whereas a hiker in Arizona in the summer would probably carry a lot of water.  If the environment is wet that will influence the fire kit you carry, and so forth.  Lastly a feller that's an instructor for the military SERE program can do a lot more with a small amount of gear than your average city slicker that gets out to a state park twice per summer.

So how much or how little gear do you folks feel is needed for a PSK that you'd be comfortable carrying in your particular AO?

Offline madmax

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Re: The Smallest Practical Survival Kit
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2018, 06:20:51 AM »
knife, lighter, pot, fishing kit.  In FL.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2018, 08:29:34 AM by madmax »
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving pretty with a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways in a cloud of smoke, thouroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, Wow! What a ride!" 
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Offline woodsorrel

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Re: The Smallest Practical Survival Kit
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2018, 08:46:52 AM »
Phaedrus,  I carry a small tin in my front left pocket:



11-foot cordage
compass
flashlight
knife
ferro rod
matches and striker material
artificial tinder
water purification tablets
chicken bag
pain killers

I am not trying to replicate my gear in miniature.  I just want a minimum set of equipment I can use to be more comfortable in a dire situation.   for me that is fire, water, and navigation.

You can find pictures here:

ADVISORY:  This article is about using a chicken bag as a water container instead of the old survival advice to use a condom.  It also makes a few silly jokes.

http://www.natureoutside.com/dont-use-condom-chicken-bag-will-wilderness-survival/

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Offline crashdive123

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Re: The Smallest Practical Survival Kit
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2018, 09:24:25 AM »
I don't try to go minimalist.  I normally have a day pack with first aid kit, sharps, cordage, fire kit, signaling, poncho, water purification and probably a few things I am forgetting.

Offline wsdstan

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Re: The Smallest Practical Survival Kit
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2018, 09:35:16 AM »
I take along a small day pack as well.  Knife, metal cup, water bottle, ferro rod and striker, first aid kit, length of paracord or synthetic winch cable, and a small flashlight.  I take a package of soup mix and a few energy bars as well.  Probably other stuff depending on where i am at and the time of year.
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: The Smallest Practical Survival Kit
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2018, 12:38:35 PM »
PSK?  Don't have one.  I think of a Personal Survival Kit as something you would stick in your pocket if you had to drive ten miles in the country to get to the nearest store.
For woods bumming, I have a day pack with everything but the kitchen sink in it.
For routine trips 75 miles to the big city, in the winter, I have only a few items besides the usual tool box, tow strap, road flares, engine fluids (oils, etc.).  I throw in an extra blanket, sleeping bag, ziploc full of homemade Swiss Trail Mix, and a gallon of water.
But an actual PSK?  Hummm....  I don't believe anything truly life-saving could fit in an Altoid's container, or anything much smaller than an ammo box. I certainly don't worry about fishing gear, because if I'm on a body of water large enough for productive fishing, I'm generally only an hour from self-extraction. I don't think a blade small enough for a pocket kit would be of much use, and I always have at least 2 blades on me in any case (Leatherman and pocket folder).  I have a Goghlan's fire starter on my keyring, and a spare Bic takes up less room than a PSK.
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: The Smallest Practical Survival Kit
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2018, 03:26:14 PM »
  I wouldn't venture to try and guess how many threads I've read that beg the same basic questions,    what knife do you carry,  what's your favorite pack,  what did you have for supper,  and What's in your pocket survival kit,  there are many more of course, but the above will do.
  IMHO,  if you don't carry enough survival stuff in your box of survival tricks, including the knowledge and experience to use what you carry,  if you do survive your situation it'll be more because of luck and providence than any pre planning on your part.
  I've been there and lived through that,  I had a very minimal assortment of items in my pockets,  there was no planning involved on my part,  I was young, strong, and invincible,  other people got lost or injured,  but I wasn't one of them, in retrospect I probably had more survival items with me than most small PSK's that I seen pictured in the pages of outdoor magazines and on outdoor forums,  but what saved me from freezing to death in -10*
below temps and wind chill of -30* was my hunting companions who had the guts to brave the cold and dark to come looking for me when I didn't show up on time.
  I had dry windproof matches,  my hunting knife, rifle , ammo, canteen and cup, some tea bags, hot chocolate, and a few candy bars,  my hunting clothes were made of wool, I had a cheap mylar space blanket, and I had the skills to make a fire, build a shelter against the snow, sleet, and wind that was coming at me sideways,  what I didn't have on my side was time,  the sun was setting, I was wet from the storm, and had no spare batteries for my small mag-light,  my fingers and toes were already stiffening up.
  I got a small fire going and was heating water in my canteen cup,  but didn't have time to collect enough wood,  I wrapped the survival blanket around me, it helped slow down the process of hypothermia, but it wasn't enough to keep my core warm,  and I still had to survive the night ahead of me.

  My point in recounting this story is to show that there are more complexities to survival than just have a candy tin with a few feel good items in it that we can fool ourselves with by calling them survival stuff,  we normally make choices about what to put in our kits while we are sitting in a warm home in a comfortable chair, well fed and not thirsty or hungry,  and when the time comes to use the tools and things we've packed into our little PSK,  we're wet, cold, our motor functions are impaired,  we are shivering too badly to strike a match or ferro rod,  it's getting dark and your mind is racing trying to find a way to make this all go away, and it's not.
  My PSK weighs about ten pounds, it has a comprehensive first aid kit, shelter tarp, fire kit, cook pot, navigation tools, signaling devices, cordage, emergency food,  several cutting tools including a folding saw,  water bottle, multi fuel stove,  and much more.
  If I ever manage to get myself into another such situation,  I want to have what I need to make my survival less painful and a hell of a lot less work,  It's more practical for me to carry an eight or ten pound pack with me all day while hunting, hiking, or into my camp than it is to suffer not having what I need if I'm ever injured or twisted again and have things turn to crap.   
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Offline xj35s

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Re: The Smallest Practical Survival Kit
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2018, 03:56:28 PM »
I have a small steel cable key ring I carry with me in my bag. It has a LOT of duct tape wrapped around a short bic pen. I filled the pen with a doubled length of paracord and hot glue. Over 3 years the cable hasn't worn through the paracord loop yet. On that I have a little led photon type, a peanut lighter that's had the same fluid in it for 3 years and still lights right up. A small ferro rod hot glued into a wire nut that has a tiny eye screw in it. Last is a small nail clipper.

The clippers come in handy a lot. I've used the tape in the canoe when a hot spot developed. Also in the big rig to hold hoses in place to prevent chafing or dragging on the ground.

I have cable ties and a length of utility cord in a side pocket on that bag. In the main part I always have baby wipes, water, snacks, and lots of iced tea and Pepsi. There is an end pocket that has sock and undies with an extra shirt too. I just picked up a very nice fleece hoody that's very light and compact able but crazy warm, I'll ad that too.
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: The Smallest Practical Survival Kit
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2018, 04:32:14 PM »
  I wouldn't venture to try and guess how many threads I've read that beg the same basic questions,    what knife do you carry,  what's your favorite pack,  what did you have for supper,  and What's in your pocket survival kit,  there are many more of course, but the above will do.
  IMHO,  if you don't carry enough survival stuff in your box of survival tricks, including the knowledge and experience to use what you carry,  if you do survive your situation it'll be more because of luck and providence than any pre planning on your part.
  I've been there and lived through that,  I had a very minimal assortment of items in my pockets,  there was no planning involved on my part,  I was young, strong, and invincible,  other people got lost or injured,  but I wasn't one of them, in retrospect I probably had more survival items with me than most small PSK's that I seen pictured in the pages of outdoor magazines and on outdoor forums,  but what saved me from freezing to death in -10*
below temps and wind chill of -30* was my hunting companions who had the guts to brave the cold and dark to come looking for me when I didn't show up on time.
  I had dry windproof matches,  my hunting knife, rifle , ammo, canteen and cup, some tea bags, hot chocolate, and a few candy bars,  my hunting clothes were made of wool, I had a cheap mylar space blanket, and I had the skills to make a fire, build a shelter against the snow, sleet, and wind that was coming at me sideways,  what I didn't have on my side was time,  the sun was setting, I was wet from the storm, and had no spare batteries for my small mag-light,  my fingers and toes were already stiffening up.
  I got a small fire going and was heating water in my canteen cup,  but didn't have time to collect enough wood,  I wrapped the survival blanket around me, it helped slow down the process of hypothermia, but it wasn't enough to keep my core warm,  and I still had to survive the night ahead of me.

  My point in recounting this story is to show that there are more complexities to survival than just have a candy tin with a few feel good items in it that we can fool ourselves with by calling them survival stuff,  we normally make choices about what to put in our kits while we are sitting in a warm home in a comfortable chair, well fed and not thirsty or hungry,  and when the time comes to use the tools and things we've packed into our little PSK,  we're wet, cold, our motor functions are impaired,  we are shivering too badly to strike a match or ferro rod,  it's getting dark and your mind is racing trying to find a way to make this all go away, and it's not.
  My PSK weighs about ten pounds, it has a comprehensive first aid kit, shelter tarp, fire kit, cook pot, navigation tools, signaling devices, cordage, emergency food,  several cutting tools including a folding saw,  water bottle, multi fuel stove,  and much more.
  If I ever manage to get myself into another such situation,  I want to have what I need to make my survival less painful and a hell of a lot less work,  It's more practical for me to carry an eight or ten pound pack with me all day while hunting, hiking, or into my camp than it is to suffer not having what I need if I'm ever injured or twisted again and have things turn to crap.

Veritas!  :hail: :cheers:
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Offline wolfy

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Re: The Smallest Practical Survival Kit
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2018, 04:58:27 PM »
I carry a roll of Lifesavers in my pocket.....assorted flavors for assorted situations.  8)
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: The Smallest Practical Survival Kit
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2018, 05:03:53 PM »
I carry a roll of Lifesavers in my pocket.....assorted flavors for assorted situations.  8)
:lol:  I'm starting to think that the value of a PSK is inversely proportional to age.
I only do what the voices in my wife's head tell her to tell me to do.

Offline wolfy

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Re: The Smallest Practical Survival Kit
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2018, 05:06:08 PM »
I carry a roll of Lifesavers in my pocket.....assorted flavors for assorted situations.  8)
:lol:  I'm starting to think that the value of a PSK is inversely proportional to age.

Again.....VERITAS! :cheers:
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Offline Unknown

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Re: The Smallest Practical Survival Kit
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2018, 05:38:26 PM »
Upon reflection, in general, and overall my solo camping gear is essentially little more than that. It's only when hanging out with me bros that I bring more than a minimal set of basics.

I have good clothes. My extra set of clothes is my long john set of sleep wear. Carrying the kitchen sink on a day hike does not make me feel very skilled or knowing. A knife, bic, and bit of string.. clothes.
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Offline wsdstan

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Re: The Smallest Practical Survival Kit
« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2018, 06:50:48 PM »
I never thought of my pack as a PSK at all.  It is something we take along in case the car breaks down in the middle of nowhere at night any time of the year.  Contents might vary based on weather forecast but it is just a simple way to have a comfortable time being stuck somewhere that you didn't plan on being stuck.  Could be on a hike but more likely when you are in your vehicle and find the road closed due to excess snow or some other event that stops the flow of your ability to travel. 

This drifts pretty far from Phaedrus' Altoids concept but the truth is they don't hold enough stuff for me.
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Offline Phaedrus

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Re: The Smallest Practical Survival Kit
« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2018, 10:13:23 PM »
  I wouldn't venture to try and guess how many threads I've read that beg the same basic questions,    what knife do you carry,  what's your favorite pack,  what did you have for supper,  and What's in your pocket survival kit,  there are many more of course, but the above will do.
  IMHO,  if you don't carry enough survival stuff in your box of survival tricks, including the knowledge and experience to use what you carry,  if you do survive your situation it'll be more because of luck and providence than any pre planning on your part.
  I've been there and lived through that,  I had a very minimal assortment of items in my pockets,  there was no planning involved on my part,  I was young, strong, and invincible,  other people got lost or injured,  but I wasn't one of them, in retrospect I probably had more survival items with me than most small PSK's that I seen pictured in the pages of outdoor magazines and on outdoor forums,  but what saved me from freezing to death in -10*
below temps and wind chill of -30* was my hunting companions who had the guts to brave the cold and dark to come looking for me when I didn't show up on time.
  I had dry windproof matches,  my hunting knife, rifle , ammo, canteen and cup, some tea bags, hot chocolate, and a few candy bars,  my hunting clothes were made of wool, I had a cheap mylar space blanket, and I had the skills to make a fire, build a shelter against the snow, sleet, and wind that was coming at me sideways,  what I didn't have on my side was time,  the sun was setting, I was wet from the storm, and had no spare batteries for my small mag-light,  my fingers and toes were already stiffening up.
  I got a small fire going and was heating water in my canteen cup,  but didn't have time to collect enough wood,  I wrapped the survival blanket around me, it helped slow down the process of hypothermia, but it wasn't enough to keep my core warm,  and I still had to survive the night ahead of me.

That's a lot to unpack. I agree that you were probably underprepared.  Yet, it's possible that without that minimal gear you may have perished before your friends could help effect rescue.

 
My point in recounting this story is to show that there are more complexities to survival than just have a candy tin with a few feel good items in it that we can fool ourselves with by calling them survival stuff,  we normally make choices about what to put in our kits while we are sitting in a warm home in a comfortable chair, well fed and not thirsty or hungry,  and when the time comes to use the tools and things we've packed into our little PSK,  we're wet, cold, our motor functions are impaired,  we are shivering too badly to strike a match or ferro rod,  it's getting dark and your mind is racing trying to find a way to make this all go away, and it's not.
  My PSK weighs about ten pounds, it has a comprehensive first aid kit, shelter tarp, fire kit, cook pot, navigation tools, signaling devices, cordage, emergency food,  several cutting tools including a folding saw,  water bottle, multi fuel stove,  and much more.
  If I ever manage to get myself into another such situation,  I want to have what I need to make my survival less painful and a hell of a lot less work,  It's more practical for me to carry an eight or ten pound pack with me all day while hunting, hiking, or into my camp than it is to suffer not having what I need if I'm ever injured or twisted again and have things turn to crap.

That sounds about right!  We all learn from our mistakes but at our best humans have the ability to learn from other's mistakes as well!  Really that's what we do when we log into Blades&Bushcraft or watch a bushcrafting video on YouTube.  We learn from others.

If you're pretty experienced and set out in nice weather at 10:00 am with an Altoids kit, you may be able to have a decent camp built by 5:00 pm. But as you say, time is generally the enemy in a bad situation.  You're racing the sun as your panicky brain begins to fathom that you're really lost and that you're not getting out before dark.  So while you can't fit any time into your Altoids tin, you can kind of fit a bit of time into a larger PSK. For example in your lost-in-the-blizzard scenario, if you'd have had a Wiggy's Antarctic bag and the bivy you could have had not just survival shelter but a luxurious night's sleep with 45 seconds of preparation, just move enough snow to roll out the bag and bivy!

I suppose that's the point.  If you had time you could get by with minimal gear, but time isn't a luxury you're guaranteed to have.

The level of gear each person is comfortable with varies by person, by season, by area, etc.  I imagine my minimal kit is also probably around ten pounds give or take.

Apropos of nothing, "back in the day" when a cop was killed in the line of duty it was considered "bad form" to Monday-morning-QB the situation.  Eventually somewhere around the Miami FBI shootout it was determined that the best way to honor the fallen was to analyze the mistakes to make sure they aren't repeated. Along those same lines I'm a voracious reader of news accounts of regular folks who get into survival situations.  Some like the Kims end tragically.  Others end happily, sometimes for no better reason than dumb luck.  A day or two I read the account of a guy that lost his gear in a bad storm with it all of his nav equipment.  He had to backtrack by following his footprints in the snow and lost them a couple times.  When he figured he actually might die out there he heard heavy equipment and realized people where working nearby.  In desperation he actually had to dive into the water and swim across a small lake to try to get their attention before they left.  Obviously that kind of gamble is akin to pushing all your chips into the middle of the table.  Success is to live, failure is almost certainly to die.  He was very lucky and lived.

Sometimes it's luck.  That's the sobering truth of it. You can do everything right and fail, and sometimes do everything wrong and succeed.  But certainly you can nudge fate in your direction by being properly prepared.

Certainly this is a well worn topic but I enjoy revisiting it from time to time.

Offline Phaedrus

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Re: The Smallest Practical Survival Kit
« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2018, 12:36:00 AM »
I never thought of my pack as a PSK at all.  It is something we take along in case the car breaks down in the middle of nowhere at night any time of the year.  Contents might vary based on weather forecast but it is just a simple way to have a comfortable time being stuck somewhere that you didn't plan on being stuck.  Could be on a hike but more likely when you are in your vehicle and find the road closed due to excess snow or some other event that stops the flow of your ability to travel. 

This drifts pretty far from Phaedrus' Altoids concept but the truth is they don't hold enough stuff for me.

There was a time when I never carried a "proper survival kit", thinking that whatever I had with me would be the stuff I anticipated needing. But over time I changed my mind a bit.  As improbably as it used to seem to me I've read a good amount of news reports of lost hikers and hunters that did manage to lose their primary packs.  One guy was camped a little too close to the edge of a steep ravine and fell off, injuring himself and being unable to retrieve his pack.  I read one report where a guy set his pack down and it slid off a cliff!  And I've read several reports where canoe campers lost everything when they capsized in rough water.  It's easy to think "I'm not going to lose my pack!" but I suppose no one thinks it's going to be them.

The closest I came to spending an unplanned night outdoors away from camp was a few years ago.  I left camp to "use the facilities" on a clear but moonless night and got seriously turned around.  It was really baffling for a while!   There's no way I was more than 100 feet from my tent but it might as well have been on another continent.  I did get my bearings when I caught a tiny shimmer of my campfire.  I was in no real danger- it was July and at an elevation where it was somewhat cool but not cold.  But I had nothing on me but a roll of TP!

Now my minimal kit PSK is a water bottle bag kit.  It's super easy to just grab and go and has enough stuff in it that I could manage a day or two.  Yet it's not so cumbersome that I'm reluctant to grab it.  The key for me is that I like to drink a lot of water so I'm in the habit of always having a water bottle, so it's not a big deal to have the carrier as well.  I've got a few such bottle bag kits and they vary a little from bag to bag but all have a few of the same things; a light, a knife, a good fire kit, water tabs, a compass, a space blanket or two, a disposable poncho, some cordage, a thermometer on a zipper pull, some safety pins, a couple needles, a bit of duct tape, etc.  Often I'll also have a couple of cyalume sticks, spare batteries and even a bit of food.

Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: The Smallest Practical Survival Kit
« Reply #16 on: April 11, 2018, 10:37:38 AM »
Time for a quick survival story pertinent to this topic.

On a deer hunting trip into the Cascade Mountains of Washington, we were missing one of our regular partners who was in Alaska, so we invited a friend with whom we'd never hunted.  We'd known him socially, but never been in the woods with him.  He was quiet, but confident.

The 2nd night we got about 4" of snow, which we welcomed.  We all went over our plan to hunt individually, and meet back at camp around 4 pm, just before last light.  Greg told us he would drop down behind camp into the Evans Creek drainage, hunt up the mountain and return down the ridge upon which we were camped, a total distance of about 3 miles.

We all gathered at camp that evening +/- 30 min of dusk.  But no Greg.  We waited until it was totally dark, but still no Greg.  We were pretty well stressing out, and discussing what we thougth Greg's actuall skills were, when headlights approached along the FS road a couple dozen yards from out camp.  It turned out to be a County Deputy Sherriff.  He stopped to chat by our fire, saying he was bored and took a drive up the mountain just looking for critters.  We told him about our missing hunting partner.  He said that if he didn't show up in the morning, to send word to the precinct in Enumclaw and they'd organize a search for him.
 
We stayed up until about midnight, but our partner never showed up.  Exhaustion took over and we got a few hours of sleep that night, hoping for the best, and planning to track him through the snow when we had first light.  The snow had partially collapsed part of our tent, and the wind picked up, so it was a pretty miserable night.

In the morninig we were re-packing our kits to begin our search when we heard a truck coming down the mountain.  It pulled up opposite our camp and Greg jumped out of the bed with a big smile on his face.  Welcome home, bud!

He told us of his adventure.  He had dropped into the creek bottom and cut the trail of a decent buck.  He concentrated on tracking it until he realized he had worked his way up the opposite side of the canyon and was on the opposite side of the far ridge.  He broke off the tracking and headed up the ridge.  What he didn't know was that it was a forked drainage and he ended up traveling away from "our" ridge a mile or so.  When he realized his mistake, he knew he couldn't get back to camp before nightfall.  He dropped down into the Evens Creek drainage and knew right where camp was from there, but having no flashlight he wouldn't travel in the dark.  He found a windfall leaning against the side hill with a big rootball, and branches forming a pretty attractive 'cave'.  He broke off enough boughs to fill in the blanks, got his Space Blanket out of his coat pocket and crawled in for the night.  From his location he didn't even know the wind that raised hell with us that night was even blowing up on the ridge.  At first light he crawled out and headed straight up the other side of the drainage expecting to intersect the FS road.  It only took him about 30 minutes to get to the road a mile away.  He started hiking down the road when the other hunters picked him up in their truck and dropped him on our doorstep.  Has he told it, he actually had a more comfortable night than we did!

Two morals to this story:  1) If you keep your wits about you and don't panic, you can survive a couple days without much equipment, and 2) If we had been in a bigger hurry to start our search, he would have come back to an empty camp and we would have been flopping around in the snow looking for someone who had self-extracted.

One of our party member summed it up the night before, "We don't know what he'll do.  If he panics, he's f----d."  Well, he didn't and he wasn't.

I only do what the voices in my wife's head tell her to tell me to do.

Offline wolfy

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Re: The Smallest Practical Survival Kit
« Reply #17 on: April 11, 2018, 10:51:19 AM »
Good story.....and lesson, Ol'P! :thumbsup:
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Offline Phaedrus

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Re: The Smallest Practical Survival Kit
« Reply #18 on: April 12, 2018, 12:58:59 AM »
Two morals to this story:  1) If you keep your wits about you and don't panic, you can survive a couple days without much equipment, and 2) If we had been in a bigger hurry to start our search, he would have come back to an empty camp and we would have been flopping around in the snow looking for someone who had self-extracted.

One of our party member summed it up the night before, "We don't know what he'll do.  If he panics, he's f----d."  Well, he didn't and he wasn't.

Great story!  And it's a good illustration of what survival takes.  The human body doesn't just quit functioning once you figure out you're lost! :D  We're pretty resilient, and selected to be that way by millions of years of evolution.  Most mammals are pretty hardy when it comes down to it.  So long as you can maintain your core temp and not freak out and make things worse you're probably going to be okay, at least for a while.

Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: The Smallest Practical Survival Kit
« Reply #19 on: April 12, 2018, 01:08:13 AM »
Well, Greg wasn't even lost. He knew exactly where he was and where camp was, and how far.  When he saw darkness was overtaking him, it was one of those "Oh, crap." moments. He weighed slogging through the snowy woods in the dark while exhausted, or curling up under a log and starting out fresh in the morning.  Worried the heck out of us, but it was the smart thing to do.
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Offline xj35s

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Re: The Smallest Practical Survival Kit
« Reply #20 on: April 12, 2018, 06:07:21 AM »
That reminds me of when we were kids. I know the barn always had a huge drift in front of it and between it and the barn was our "warm" spot. We'd get so cold our fingers hurt and hang out there until we were good to go again.

I'm pretty sure it was sumac cover with choker vines that made a great cave like shelter. As long as we had a heavy snow those little forts were everywhere. Not to mention the huge stand of pines someone planted and never did anything with. No snow on the ground at all in the center.

Where there is a will, there is a way.
pessimist complain about the wind. optimist expect the wind to change. realist adjusts the sails.

Offline xj35s

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Re: The Smallest Practical Survival Kit
« Reply #21 on: April 13, 2018, 10:18:33 AM »
Lets not forget in severe cold weather one of the best warm up kit in an emergency is the palmer furnace. A garbage bag and a candle. super simple. Not unlike Mors Kochanski's super shelter.
pessimist complain about the wind. optimist expect the wind to change. realist adjusts the sails.

Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: The Smallest Practical Survival Kit
« Reply #22 on: April 13, 2018, 11:25:56 AM »
Everybody talks about loss of motor skills when their hands are cold. Greatly inhibits fire starting, or even tying your boots!

What I have NEVER heard mentioned in a PSK, or any other emergency kit is a HANDWARMER.   What's up with that?

When I was young, I had two palm-sized warmers that ran off lighter fluid. I'd stick 'em inside my mittens (not gloves at the time), and keep my fingers nice and flexible. Years later they came out with something like a gell-pack that you massaged and it warmed up.
I only do what the voices in my wife's head tell her to tell me to do.

Offline wsdstan

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Re: The Smallest Practical Survival Kit
« Reply #23 on: April 13, 2018, 12:38:19 PM »
I have used a hand warmer in my deer stand a few times and did try the packages you shake or knead a couple of times.  The newer packages work pretty well and some types are reusable. 

The hand warmers that use white gas work fine. 

They don't fit in an Altoid tin.  I think they would be good to have in a winter travel box though.
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Offline Yeoman

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Re: The Smallest Practical Survival Kit
« Reply #24 on: April 16, 2018, 06:58:12 PM »
I'm in Nova Scotia.
Summers can be 15C-35C (59F-95F) and range from windy and wet to hot and sunny.
Winters can range from -30C to +10C (-22F to 50F) with cold, wind, blizzard conditions to rain, sleet, freezing rain and sunny.
Spring and fall can run into any or all of the above within 24 hours.
I can't envision a situation in which I'd have only my survival kit. To me it augments/replaces my EDC and my packed gear if I lose or break or run out of something or just need more of something.
That being said, my minimum summer and winter kits differ a bit.

EDC in the Woods
Small FAK
Compass
Whistle
Spark Stick
Light
Lighter
SAK
Mora
1L Stainless Steel Water Bottle
500ml Stainless Steel Cup
(Add folding saw in winter)

All Seasons Survival Kit based on the SOL Scout. Modified, mine includes:
Bandaids and small pressure dressing
SOL Heat Shield
10m para cord
Spark stick
3x Vaseline cotton balls
12x Water purification tablets
2x quart-size Ziplock Freezer Bags
SAK Hiker
Wire saw
Brunton lapel Compass
Flat Fox 40 Whistle
Photon light

Winter Kit is all of the above plus a Mors Kochanski style pot kit:
2L aluminum pot with lid and bail
SOL Heat Shield
Clear painters drop cloth
20m para cord
10m Mule Tape
Spark Stick
5 Vaseline cotton balls
Lighter
compass
whistle
Mirror
Opinel #8 stainless

I've done several overnights in the winter with the above while instructing survival training for my SAR Team. It's not comfortable.
I rarely if ever go into the wood in the winter without substantial extra clothing, an axe and a folding 24" buck saw. Under some conditions I include them in "the smallest practical survival kit".





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Offline JeffG

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Re: The Smallest Practical Survival Kit
« Reply #25 on: May 13, 2018, 08:07:09 PM »
My idea of survival is a lot skinnier than most. If I'm hunting or woods bumming, I'm well equipped. Knife or knives , water, bottle, sidearm, ferocium stick, high calorie snack bars all in a Maxpedition shoulder pack. That's really not survival, that's living!

My idea of survival would go something like this... I drove or walked to a location either for hunting or hunting, and had an incident. A broken ankle, getting turned around and not chancing travel after dark, or having a vehicle breakdown on the far side of the moon, with no cell service.

At very minimum I have two knives, a sidearm and the lens from a binocular in my wallet for firestarting and signalling. Prolonged survival is rare, having a tooth chattering night or two is becoming more rare, but not really out of the realm of possibility.
"Rise, Peter; kill and eat." Acts 10:13

Offline Phaedrus

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Re: The Smallest Practical Survival Kit
« Reply #26 on: May 14, 2018, 02:10:52 AM »
Welcome to Blades and Bushlore, JeffG!   :)

Offline JeffG

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Re: The Smallest Practical Survival Kit
« Reply #27 on: May 14, 2018, 08:52:58 PM »
Thank you!! 8)
"Rise, Peter; kill and eat." Acts 10:13

Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: The Smallest Practical Survival Kit
« Reply #28 on: May 14, 2018, 10:44:27 PM »
Every time I set about building a PSK, it starts out as an altoids tin, then it becomes whatever I can stuff into a wide mouth water bottle. Then it graduates to a fanny pack. Then a day pack. And by that time it's no longer a survival kit, it's just a day pack. Because if you have that much room you might as well carry a full size tarp, a full size knife, 50 feet or more of cordage, a real bivvy sack/tarp/hammock whatever your shelter of preference is, and so on.

My current strategy is to equip each of my vehicles with a decent set of emergency items that way I don't need to remember them. They are always with me in the vehicle if I need them. When I go out in the woods I always have a day pack with knife, fire, water, cordage, compass and a means of communication, though in my area you'd have to be literally blind and deaf to get lost since there are visible landmarks everywhere (mountains).

Offline Pete Bog

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Re: The Smallest Practical Survival Kit
« Reply #29 on: May 15, 2018, 09:21:58 AM »

My current strategy is to equip each of my vehicles with a decent set of emergency items that way I don't need to remember them. They are always with me in the vehicle if I need them. When I go out in the woods I always have a day pack with knife, fire, water, cordage, compass and a means of communication, though in my area you'd have to be literally blind and deaf to get lost since there are visible landmarks everywhere (mountains).

A story as told by my grandfather. It was deep winter. : It was about 1943. Both sons were off to war. I was out cutting pulp trees. I was about 10 miles from home. As far as I knew, there was not another person within a 5 mile radius of me and 'Gramma' didn't know where I was. She never went out into the woods with me. A springy stick snapped up and poked me hard in my good eye. (my grand father had been blind in one eye since he was 5 years old. That's another story) I was completely blinded. I sat down on the ground and pondered my predicament. After a while, I was able to see through the tears a little. Enough to work my way to the pick up, get it started and warm up a bit. After that I was able to drive myself out of the woods and make my way home. Never went into the woods alone again unless someone knew where I was and was capable of coming to get me.

End of his story. Blind was all he needed to die out there. In the isolated area I grew up in, no one else within 5 miles is still a very real possibility. in 1943, communications consisted of a whistle, yelling or two sticks banged together or against a dead tree.. We've got it so easy now days, with Cell Phones, SPOT and other devices to use even if we are blinded.

PSK? Not a thought was ever given to that. What ever you had in your pockets was it. Pocket knife, matches, Hanky. Never went anywhere without a rifle, but it was always in the truck along with the axe. That was about it for a PSK back in them days.

Offline wsdstan

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Re: The Smallest Practical Survival Kit
« Reply #30 on: May 15, 2018, 01:12:37 PM »
I don't think about it either Pete.  I do have, like PetrifiedWood, emergency items in each vehicle for dealing with vehicle breakdown or getting stopped in a storm. 
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Offline Orbean

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Re: The Smallest Practical Survival Kit
« Reply #31 on: June 07, 2018, 09:24:02 PM »
Every time I set about building a PSK, it starts out as an altoids tin, then it becomes whatever I can stuff into a wide mouth water bottle. Then it graduates to a fanny pack. Then a day pack. And by that time it's no longer a survival kit, it's just a day pack. Because if you have that much room you might as well carry a full size tarp, a full size knife, 50 feet or more of cordage, a real bivvy sack/tarp/hammock whatever your shelter of preference is, and so on.

My current strategy is to equip each of my vehicles with a decent set of emergency items that way I don't need to remember them. They are always with me in the vehicle if I need them. When I go out in the woods I always have a day pack with knife, fire, water, cordage, compass and a means of communication, though in my area you'd have to be literally blind and deaf to get lost since there are visible landmarks everywhere (mountains).

On mt rides and day hike and such i have been accused of overpacking. Everytime i leave camp or the house i plan for spending the night. A real space blanket, a way of heating water, snacks more than i need and GU packs. GU packs are on the go nutrition for enduance sports. It is a paste that comes in different flavors that is easy on the stomach. Its a little foil pack, tear of the top and squeeze it into your mouth. I swear by the stuff, have done several 100 plus rides only eating this stuff. https://guenergy.com/form/gel/.

I also keep things in my pockets, and in packs that go under my seat, on my handle bars, and between the frame. I want to be prepared. I even bring quikclot. I get some drama for it but its okay. I hope i never need it.
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Offline madmax

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Re: The Smallest Practical Survival Kit
« Reply #32 on: June 08, 2018, 05:30:29 AM »
I remember when GU packs came out.  Those and a few Power Bars (The old kind that got rock hard below 50 degrees) and you could go a long way/time.
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving pretty with a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways in a cloud of smoke, thouroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, Wow! What a ride!" 
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