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Thinking About Survival Kits

Survival Kit

One of my favorite parts of my annual ritual of getting ready for spring to arrive, is going through all of my hiking, backpacking, camping, kayaking, sailing, and fishing equipment. Last week while going through my hiking gear, I came across the homemade survival kit that I carry in my day-pack. Seeing and opening the kit got me to thinking about survival kits, the reasoning behind carrying them, and the theories involved in what should be carried in such a kit. Even though I’ve made and carried survival kits for well over 30 years, I decided it was time to do some serious, organized thinking about the purpose of survival kits and what they should contain. I’m sure I’ve made many assumptions about survival kits over the years. It’s time to do a re-examination of my beliefs and make sure they are still valid, and if not, to adjust them accordingly.


Some of the questions I want to be able to answer are:

  • – How effective would my kit be in a true survival situation?
  • – What determines how effective a given survival kit will be?
  • – What exactly are the problems/scenarios that I’m trying to address with my survival kit?
  • – What would I include in my survival kit if size, weight, and money were no object?
  • – What, if any, is the difference between a large survival kit and a bug out bag?
  • – How small can I make a survival kit?

Series of Articles on Survival Kits

So I’ve decided to create a series of articles related to survival kits. I’ll start by detailing the theories behind survival kits. Throughout the series I’ll attempt to answer the questions listed above, as well as other questions that crop up while I continue my research and analysis. I’ll show how to make several survival kits varying in size from very small to quite large. I’ll start with my newly created EDC Survival Kit, which I made as small as possible (but still extremely useful) to insure that I would always carry it with me. I’ll also share a few different versions of the ubiquitous Altoids-tin survival kits. These kits are extremely fun to make and small enough to carry in a pants-pocket or an outside pocket on a pack. One article will be dedicated to the quart-sized-freezer-bag survival kit that I always carry in my day-pack. I’ve been carrying some variation of this survival kit for several years in both my EDC bag and my day-pack. In the next few weeks I’ll be building a fanny-pack-sized survival kit, and will document the results in an article for this series. I’ve never had a survival kit of this size, but I think it will be an excellent learning experience, and a lot of fun too! Finally, I’ll show off my bug out bag. To be honest, I haven’t revisited my bug out bag in quite some time so this will be an excellent opportunity to review and rethink it’s contents.

Covering all of these topics will require at least 6 or 7 articles, but I think survival kits are extremely interesting, with so many possible variations, that I could probably write dozens of articles on this subject. I’m really looking forward to sharing my knowledge of survival kits with you. I’m just about done with the article on the theories behind survival kits, and plan to have it posted in the next few days. I hope you enjoy this series of articles. If you have any specific questions about survival kits that you would like me to address, please leave me a comment below.

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Ash March 27, 2013, 12:22 PM

    This sounds like quite and interesting blog to follow. I will be reading and commenting as time allows. So prepare for many comments at one time probably. I have always wonder what makes a good altoid survival kit and with the coming hiking season for me this will be very helpful. I can take your ideas and put with my own and maybe make what I consider the “best” kit for my needs.

    • Farmer Diddley March 27, 2013, 5:22 PM

      Hey Ash, thanks for reading my blog! Much appreciated. I’m definitely having fun playing around with a few different survival kits, and will be posting more info soon. And yes, you hit it right on the head… while it’s great to get suggestions and ideas from others, everyone should create their own kits to suit their own needs. Talk to you later. ~Steve

  • PortugueseDiesel April 4, 2013, 4:10 AM

    Great idea! Would like you too share your thoughts on small med kits, too. How’s the Goruck hat suiting you? Still breaking mine in.

    • Farmer Diddley April 4, 2013, 5:39 PM

      Thanks for the comment! I am planning on doing a post on first aid kits as well as survival kits, so stay tuned for that. My GoRuck Tac hat is great! I’m loving it, but I too am still breaking it in. Thanks again for reading my blog.

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