by Napoleon


Mao Tse-Tung said, "A march of a thousand miles starts with a single step". You march towards preparedness and self-reliance is one that, in feet, will never end, but it must begin with a first step. Where your personal march will take you is only limited by your own determination, but most certainly it will begin with a basic survival kit, pack or cache. Such kits are designed to get you through a variety of short term (1-10 day) emergencies. Since any long-term survival and recovery plan depends on your surviving the first few days of the situation, the survival kit is the corner stone of your program. Whether your kit is kept in the closet, in the trunk of your car or in a box buried in the woods, most or all of it should be in a good quality back pack. Even though your plan may be to stay put where you keep your kit, the ability to "grab and go", if your location become untenable; could save your life.


Compact kits are no substitute for a full survival kit, but have the advantage of always being with you. They can be formal organized "kits" or just some well chosen items you always have with you. They are designed to facilitate very short-term survival, signaling and escape situations. The priorities for these items would be:

1.Defense: giving the ability to survive and escape attacks.

2.Light: giving the ability to see and bee seen.

3.Tools: giving the ability to cut and make repairs, etc.

4.First Aid: giving the ability to treat injuries.

So carrying a small pepper spray, a pen light or lighter, a Swiss Army knife and some Band-Aids, gives you area advantage over those who are unprepared in an emergency. You should carry such items in your pockets, lunch box, briefcase, purse or even in the pockets of a notebook. You can buy all sorts of prepackaged mini survival kits, but if you buy one, be sure to go over each item and consider what it can be used for. One of the cheapest and most complete small survival kits was developed by Live Free in the 60's and is known as the "Micro Kit". The completed kit costs almost nothing and fits into a wallet or pocket. Here is how to make one.

There are some more effective substitutions for some items above, especially for the pill items, but this is based on the cheapest most available.


Be sure to cover the razor blade with cardboard so it won't cut its way out; tape the pins next to it. Pills and candy should be carefully wrapped in plastic to protect them from moisture. It is also a good idea to protect the matches with plastic or to use waterproof matches cut short. Finally wrap up everything in the wax paper and then in the aluminum foil too for a flat package about 2 ½ X 3 ½ inches. You can go one step further by placing the whole kit in a plastic (zip-lock) sandwich bag which then adds a handy water container to your kit.


This kit is not nearly as good as having a full "Survival Pack", but is much more complete than the "Microkit"; but in the hands of someone with basic survival training it will go a long way in assuring survival in a variety of situations. Of course, if the person also has a good knife and a firearm to go with the kit, the survival potential is greatly increased. These kits are great to carry on your belt for short trips away from camp (hunting, fishing etc.) or to keep in a locker or desk. You may want to stash one outside (wrapped in plastic) as a last resort kit if you can't get to your main pack. The following life saving items can be packed into a container approximately 3" x 4" x 1 ½ ". An army surplus first aid kit pack, with its belt fastener, is ideal as are some of the common (Tourist type) belt pouches.


1. A small survival compass (less than 1" diameter)


1. Waterproof matches or "metal match"

2. Small magnifying class or plastic lens (test to be sure it will ignite tinder)

3. Short candle

4. Small ball of fine steel wool

5. Lint


1. Powdered instant coffee and/or bouillon cubes (in plastic)

2. Vitamin pills (in plastic)

3. Hard candy or "Survival Tabs" in plastic

4. 20 ft of 15lb test fishing line

5. 5-6 ft of snare wire

6. Miscellaneous Fishhooks, sinkers, flies, etc.


You may elect to substitute items 1, 2 and 3 with any high energy, high protein food bar.


1. A small package of water purification tablets or a water filtration straw.


1. 6 Band-Aids (assorted sizes)

2. Soap and/or "wash-n-dry" type towelettes

3. Single-edge razor blade (wrap safely)

4. Small tube of antiseptic ointment

5. 4-6 aspirins (or substitute)

Add any prescription medications you may need.


1. Plastic sheet 6 x 8 ft or "Rescue Blanket". This may need to be attached to the outside of the kit if to bulky to go inside.


1. Small pencil and some paper or cards

2. Steel signal mirror 3" x 4", sharpen one edge*

3. Heavy duty aluminum foil 12" x l4" folded to 3" x 4" (make cooking pot, etc.)

4. Flexible wire saw (rolled up)

5. Sewing needles and about 5 ft. of strong thread

These items should handle most short-term emergency situations if you take the time to acquire the skill you need to use them and use your imagination.

* There are several versions of a credit card size survival tool made out of a flat piece of stainless steel that work as a mirror, knife, compass, file, etc., that you may want to include.


The Survival Pack goes one step beyond being prepared and is the hallmark of the true survivalist. The Survival Pack is the ultimate statement of self-reliance and determination to remain free. The Survival Pack can be used at home for basic emergencies, carried in the family car in evacuations or carried on the back, deep into the wilderness. The list below is generic in nature and of course has to be modified to meet the climate, terrain, sources and sources of hazards anticipated by the owner. Quality, quantity and weight of items will be affected by the individual's financial situation and physical capacities.

1.THE PACK: Recommended is the LC-1 "ALICE" military medium field pack 20 x 19 x 11 with a capacity of about 50 lbs. or equivalent commercial design in dark green or camouflage. A pack frame is helpful, but optional.

2. WATER: In addition to a good plastic canteen with canteen cup and cover to wear on your belt, you should have a plastic 1 qt water bottle or bag with a good water filter capable of filtering at least 30 gallons.

3. FIRE: Fire starting items including 50 waterproof matches, a magnesium fire starter and some tinder.

4. FOOD: Food should be enough to last 5 to 7 days of hard marching. Military MRE's, campers freeze dried and ordinary items such as rice, nuts, oat meal and beef jerky, can be used. Be sure that you have some foods that do not require cooking in case you are forced to eat on the run or can not build a fire.

5. A STOVE: A stove is essential since you can't always depend on dry wood being around and may not have time to cut wood. The noise of cutting wood and the glow and smoke of a fire may also be undesirable. Select a light weight propane or white gas stove and carry enough fuel for 4 to 6 days (about 5 hours). If you're short of funds, Sterno will work fine.

6. SLEEPING BAGS: Sleeping bags will be essential if below freezing conditions are anticipated. Get a light weight "mummy" style bag rated to at least -20 degrees F. In milder climates you can get by with an Army rain poncho and insulated liner, which is a bit cheaper, lighter and more versatile. In swamp and jungle areas, a net hammock is a must and adds very little weight.

7. SHELTER: A shelter can consist of just the aforementioned Army poncho, a shelter tarp or a compact trail tent. Here weight and cost versus comfort are major factors.

8. COOKING KTT: A cooking kit can range from the Boy Scout (light and versatile) to Army surplus heavier and tougher. Don't forget utensils.

9. A FIRST AID KIT: A first-aid kit can be assembled at home or purchased off the shelf. The kit should contain bandages, tweezers, scissors, a needle, a razor blade, aspirin, ointments, disinfectant, tape,

3 x 3 gauze pads and any medication you take normally. Changes in diet can cause problems so you may want to include something for diarrhea and constipation.

10. LIGHT: Light should be available from a good flashlight such as the military angle-head type or the smaller high intensity lights for campers. One with a red lens adapter is highly desirable.

11. CANDLES AND COMPACT LANTERNS: These can be included as a good backup and general light source. The wax and lantern fuel can help get fires started also.

12. TOOLS: Tools include a combination saw, ax, shovel (camper's tool) or a small folding saw, hand shovel and a hatchet. In addition you will carry a top-quality hunting knife or "Survival Knife" and the indispensable, multi-functional "Swiss Army Knife" or "Leatherman Tool".

13. EXTRA CLOTHING: Clothing including 2 pair of sox, underwear and camouflage coveralls will fit into the bottom of the pack.

14. PERSONAL HYGIENE ITEMS: These items will include tooth paste, soap, toothbrush, razor, nail cutter, small mirror and a small towel.

15. A FISHING KIT: A fishing kit is a good source of extra food as your pack supplies run out. The kit should include some line, lures, sinkers, corks and hooks. Consider the popular automatic fish catchers that set the hook when a fish bites so you don't have to sit and watch your line. These items take up very little room.

16. SNARE WIRE: Snare wire is good for any shelter construction, making repairs and of course making snares to catch food.

17. NYLON LINE: (Parachute cord) is handy for shelter construction, snare construction, etc. About 50 ft. should do.

18. NBC* PROTECTION: NBC protection is optional depending on the anticipated environment. You can fit some light rubber gloves and a laboratory (impregnated paper) chemical suit inside a gas mask or carry some plastic bags and an industrial type respirator from which to improvise protection. Don't forget bags or plastic boots to cover feet and tape or rubber bands to seal sleeves and cuffs, etc.

* Nuclear, biological and chemical

19. PLASTIC BAGS: These can be used for rain suits, chemical protection, waste disposal, floatation, ground clothes and more. Line your pack with one to keep things dry add a few more where you can find room.

20. SMALL BINOCULARS OR MONOCULARS: These will give you a big advantage in hunting, navigation, rescue and escape and evasion.

21. A RADIO: A radio for picking up news and weather is important if you can spare the room and weight. There are some very compact models on the market that run off their own generator or solar cells. If you are working with a group a small walkie-talkie or communication head set will be a real advantage.

22. A SEWING KIT: This is essential for repairs of clothing and camp items. You can buy one or just gather you own needles, thread, pins, buttons etc.

23. THE COMPASS: This should be a high quality military phosphorescent or tritium lensmatic type. You will also want to have a good up-to-date topographical map of your area of operations.

24. ODS AND ENDS: These will include a pen and note book, some electrical tape, camouflage face paint or face net and gloves, insect repellent, gun cleaning items, sharpening stone or device, whistle, survival manual of choice, signal flares, sun glasses, magnifying glass, etc.

25. WEAPONS: These will depend on your anticipated situation. The minimum advisable for the pack would be a good 22 caliber revolver with a few hundred round of ammunition. This should be enough to bag some small game and fend off close quarter threats. Even better would be one of the purpose built "survival guns" such as the 22 caliber long rife AR-7 that takes down to a small size and floats or the 22 magnum over 410 gauge shotgun folding survival weapon made for the military. Both are available in sports stores. Of course, if you anticipate combat and/or big game hunting in you survival situation, a heavy caliber semi automatic rifle (M-16, AK-47, Ruger Mini 14, etc.) and a bigger hand gun (Colt 45 auto, 9mm Browning, etc.), may suit your needs. In some situations a shotgun may be the right choice, but keep in mind that ammunition is bulky and heavy to carry.

If you can find room consider some type of camp security device. These range from the common Fourth of July "poppers" at just pennies to military type trip flares and electronic intrusion detectors. These can alert you if you are being followed and protect your camp when you must sleep.


If well selected, all of the items (except the sleeping bag, belt items and long arms) can fit into the pack. If you opt to include the sleeping bag, it will need to be strapped to the outside of the bag in its own "stuff bag". The shovel and hatchet can also be carried outside the pack. Be sure items that you may need quickly such as weapons, rain gear (poncho) and first aid kit. are easy to reach. Many items such as knives, pistols, canteens, compass, etc., will be transferred to pockets and belts once in the field, but should be in or attached to the pack so one grab gets it all.


You should tie your field boots to the pack and have a full set of rugged field clothing (preferably camouflage or dark colored) along side. Be sure to have a web belt, preferably with load bearing suspenders for your extra gear and ammunition. A hat such as the soft Vietnam "Boonie" hat or a stocking cap for colder weather, is recommended.


You should have a military web belt ready to go with your pack; it will include pouches for your small knife, your compass, flashlight canteen and ammunition along with a sheath for your large knife and perhaps a holster for a hand gun.


You may want to put you whole pack in a more innocent looking box or bag so as not to attract attention. There is no reason to go clanking and rattling down the trail. You should be able to jump up and down with your gear and pack without making any clanks, rattles or squeaks. Some tape, rubber bands and padding should eliminate these sounds. Shiny knives, buttons, zippers, etc., will attract attention from miles away so cover them with paint or electrical tape. Appropriate (for the season) camouflage clothing is usually recommended, but it may actually attract attention in some cases; in which case go with basic jeans and dark (tan, brown, black) camping cloths to help you blend in anywhere. In winter, the white camouflage suits are great, but even a bed sheet can be used effective. Camouflage paint or camouflage gloves and face nets are very handy. Use local weeds and branches stuck into your hat, clothing and pack to break up the human shape.


Next to your home, you probably spend most of your time in or near your vehicle. You should carry your Survival Pack with you when possible, but that is not always practical. You may have to survive an emergency situation on what you have in your vehicle, which in some cases may have to function as a means of escape, a rescue ambulance and a shelter. Here are some items you should have:

1.Small ax or hatchet

2.Shovel or folding shovel

3. Fire extinguisher (ABC dry chemical)

4. A good flashlight (test batteries every few months)

5. A small first aid kit

6.Some candles (heat & light)

7. Matches or a lighter

8.One gallon of water (for engine coolant or drinking)

9. A warm blanket or "Space Blanket"

10. A cheap rain suit or rain poncho

11. A small camp stove or Sterno cooker with a pot or canteen cup

12. 50 to 100 ft. of heavy rope (towing, etc.)

13. Some storable compact (freeze dry, MRE's etc.) food

14. A multi bladed pocket knife

15. Pliers or small auto tool kit

16. Several road flares

17. Weapon, preferably a firearm, but if that is illegal or a personal prohibition, carry at least a large pepper gas spray unit (keep from freezing)


If you have adequate room in your vehicle, consider the following additions: A pruning saw, bolt cutters, a come-along or block and tackle, sand or old rugs (for traction), a large plastic sheet (for shelter), sleeping bags (in place of blankets), a pry bar, a gas mask (if you see the need), fuel siphon and fuel can and a water filtration unit. These items will help you get places others can't go and keep you going when others can't. Be sure not to forget the very obvious map of your area. Get in the habit of keeping your tank as full as possible. Preparedness is the road to success.



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Saturday, 02 December 2023

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