From survival kit to ultralight backpacking – The first 24 hours/16 oz.

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A recent passion of mine is Ultralight Backpacking.  The basic premise is to take what you need, and enjoy yourself comfortably.  Articles exist that provide a perspective that UL backpacking is about doing without, to the level of silliness.  This is not one of those articles.  This series starts at the idea of building a survival kit, then adding just enough to make the kit a 3 day, 3 season UL backpacking list.  Instead of trying to approach the backpacking list as, “how to shave down wight in your pack,” the idea here is one of, “starting from scratch, build a solid foundation.”

Let’s agree on a few rules to make this situation work.  First, the idea is to get a job done in the minimum weight possible.  An inferior product will not do the job.  Maintain functionality when in outdoor situations.  This does not mean that the products recommended are perfect.  As always YMMV.

Second rule is that some tools may need some “rework” to lower weights .  This is not required, but should at least be considered.

Update 2014: Third rule, no electronics or batteries.  Simplify things and reduce points of failure.  Batteries are an environmental contaminant, can do damage when made wet, and are a failure point.  Simplify your system.  It is more economical to use an LED flashlight with a battery.  Lasts longer, reusable, and signals.

Fourth rule, no alcohol.  Try to use products that do not have alcohol in them.  Alcohol dries things out.  There are other options.

Rule of three’s:

In any extreme situation you cannot survive for more than:

3 minutes without air – 3 hours without shelter

3 days without water – 3 weeks without food.

This is a 10 item kit constructed out of readily available items.  It weighs 1 pound.  Using it many can survive for 24 hours.  Test if YOU can.  YOU can make adjustments to suit you.  This is just one way to do it.

  1. Shelter (2.6 oz) – SOL Heat Sheets Emergency Blanket – This product is water proof.  It reflects body heat back to your body.  You have a basic fundamental form of shelter in this product.  Use this to provide for this need for 24 hours.  Though this is not great or glamorous, you should survive.
  2. Shelter (1 oz) – Sun screen – This shelters you from the sun.  It prevents sunburns that can cause pain, dehydrate you, and potentially become a medical situation.  Use a partially emptied bottle in your kit to reduce weight. 2014 UPDATE – I have replaced this with a .25 oz eyedropper that has a mix of 100% DEET and sunscreen. This now weighs .5 oz
  3. Light (.75 oz) – Caylume light stick – Low weight, battery free way of lighting an area.  Link connects to orange color.  Orange makes it easier to find you. 2014 UPDATE – After much review on environmental hazards, and many comparisons, the a 1.25 oz Preon P1 replaced it. This will allow the removal of light sticks from the rest of the kit dropping the overall weight.
  4. Multi-purpose (1 oz) – 550 Paracord – Approximately 20 feet of paracord.  The uses of paracord in a survival situation will be its own post.
  5. First-Aid (3.95 oz) – First-Aid kit in a zip-loc bag – Mine includes SPF 50 chapstick, duct tape, bandages and dressing, butterfly closures, adhesive knuckle bandages, adhesive fabric bandages, gauze dressing, triple antibiotic ointment, antiseptic wipes, ibuprofen, antihistamines, anti-diarrheal, moleskins, benzalkonium chloride wipes, safety pins, splinter tick remover.
  6. Fire (.5 oz) – Ferrocium rod – Use with high carbon blade to throw sparks to start a fire.  A fire offers heat, light, signaling and protection.  Remove the cord and piece of steel that comes with it.
  7. Water (4.7 oz) – Titanium BOT – Water from a stream combined with the fire above creates drinkable water.  This can make one liter at a time AND can store it while on the move. 2014 UPDATE – First, this can not boil water (it is plastic), but you can use water treatment chemicals to make drinkable water. Second, this fits in the BOT. This way you can use the BOT to store/transport/treat water while having a place to store your kit. XL GearPods weigh 4.25 oz.
  8. Navigation (.7 oz) – Brunton Classic compass – These are becoming hard to find.  Brunton does not manufacture them any more.  This compass will last, provide most navigation functions and does it for very little weight.  Drill some holes in the base plate to decrease weight.  Replaced by the Brunton Truarc3
  9. Communication (.3 oz) – Whistle – Multi tone, multi chamber (one has a pea), 120dB.  Remove the REI label, drill a larger hole closer to the pea chamber, cut/sand down unused length.  This decreases unneeded space and weight.
  10. Knife (.8 oz) – Gerber Curve – Provides a bottle opener for use as a pot lifter, a phillips head screw driver for removing screws from my Cold Steel Shovel, and an awl for making pilot holes for replacement handles.

This is a start for 24 hours.  This kit represents nine of the ten C’s of survival.  Those are; cutting, combustion, cordage, container, cleaning, communication, compass, comfort, and “candle light.”  The missing one is collecting food (not required during the first 24 hours).  We will address that with the additions to the kit on day 3/the third 16 ounces.

To review, this kit can actually sustain you for 24 hours.  It provides the needs stated by several different survival methodologies.  It weighs less than one pound.  The BOT stores everything.  Use the paracord to go around the BOT and make a sling and carry it over your shoulder.  Distribute the contents of the kit into your pockets and use the BOT to carry water.

Total cost of this kit is approximately $150 U.S.  Some may comment on “Altoids Tin survival kits.”  While those are novel, try using one for 24 hours.  Then try this kit.  Which one is more comfortable?  Which instills more faith that you will survive?

The next article will add 5 items to the kit, and extend survival for 24 more hours.

UPDATE 2012:  This did not work.  The gear list has a few changes.  Lifting a pot full of boiling water off of a fire was no easy task.  This required rethinking the material list.  When one thing changed, the system changed.  The Curve replaced this piece of gear:

ESEE AH-1 – High carbon steel for FireSteel use, small, light, multi-use (make a small spear with a straight stick and some of the strands in the paracord).

Gerber makes the lightest potlifter.  It is a tool called the Curve.  It weighs .8 oz.  The knife (blade) that it is replacing weighs .5 oz.  That is a loss of .3 oz for an ability to lift a pot.  Hopefully some research will show how to replace the flat head screwdriver that comes on the Curve with a can opener blade.  Replacing the screwdriver with a can opener means the tool will have a pot holder/lifter (using the built-in bottle opener), a knife blade (for starting fires), a Phillips head screwdriver (for dismantling a cold steel shovel), an awl for “pilot drilling” holes in cut down or scavenged branches to make longer handles for the shovel, and a can opener.

UPDATE 2014:

IMG_09374

This is what the kit looks like in September of 2014.  I just added tinder (fatwood), and that pushed a 16 ounce survival kit to 17 ounces.  In the upper left corner are the two lids for the GearPod.  Next to it is the large case with orange duct tape and orange 550 cord wrapped around it.  The blue and white fabric is a UV Buff.  The orange foil pack is an emergency blanket.  The black bottle on it is a 50/50 mix of 100% DEET and SPF 50 sunblock.  The next row shows 2 pieces of fatwood next to a mini Bic lighter.  My second fire starter is an Exotac nanoStriker.  Chapstick with sunblock will protect my lips, and have use to grease a stick to start a fire.  There are ten water purification tablets that provide 10 liters of drinkable water.  The compass is a Suunto wrist compass.   I included soap for use as a first aid function (the Buff fills the need for a bandage, compress, etc).  The AAA battery goes to the Preon P1.  My sewing kit is Kevlar thread with a sail needle and some safety pins.  This can easily become a fishing kit if needed.  In front we have the Gerber Curve and a Ti whistle.  I may remove the Gerber Curve and replace it as I am no longer using the Ti BOT.  I may redesign the other two kits that follow this (part two and three in the series) to include the BOT and Curve later.

Part two of this series is located here.

11 thoughts on “From survival kit to ultralight backpacking – The first 24 hours/16 oz.

  1. PopCultureScott

    Here’s my issue with this.

    Far too often people create these small “survival kits” that have little to do with survival and more to do with an OCD-like need to pack stuff into the smallest container possible. However, for every video I’ve seen on Youtube, and for every post I’ve seen on the internet, there are very few that understand what “survival” entails.

    As someone that gets heli-dropped into the shittiest conditions known to man, I can assure you that the ability to “make fire in the first 24 hours” is a pipe dream. Depending on location, season, temperature, climate, and weather—fire is very often not a possibility.

    If you are going to build a survival kit—consider that its ALWAYS and emergency. Meaning you need to actually prepare for that emergency a head of time. One emergency blanket and pen knife means you’re most likely going to die.

    Simplest way to think of a survival kit is as follows:

    Do I have a way to gather and filter water. Get a LifeStraw, and a good container to carry and hopefully boil water.
    Stop with the “I have an emergency blanket” to keep me warm dream. Have you ever used one? When it’s pouring rain, you are soaking wet, and you are trying to get warm… a glorified chip bag doesn’t cut it. Get proper shelter system such as a military poncho, a liner, several large industrial garbage bags, several SOL thick emergency blankets, and an SOL escape bivvy.
    Knife… seriously, stop with pen knives, etc. Get a knife that you would trust with your life. For the budget conscious anything from KaBar or ESEE will work. For me, Busse knives are the only knife I trust… this is after having TOPS, etc. fail in the field. Also.. pen knifes don’t chop down trees for shelter—a Busse Batlle Mistress does.
    Cordage—100 feet of bank line, and 50 feet of parachord at all times.
    If you want to start a fire, have an actual fire kit with you. One BIc lighter, or a Ferro Rod… sure… but how about 2-3 mini bic lighters, a few ferro rods, wetfire cubes, tinfoil, etc.
    And lastly, have an actual First Aid kit with you! A few bandaids and some hand sanitizer won;t help you when you have a real injury. On my last heli-trip I was injured and had a very bad cut on my foot. Luckily, we had a full med-kit to stop the bleeding long enough for me to get extracted by helicopter to get real medical attention. Well worth the weight and size… because I’m still here to talk about it.

    Now… take all of that and find a bag that it will fit in. It still doesn’t have to be heavy—my entire 3-day kit with food is still under 20 pounds. My “just survival kit” is less than 8 pounds.

    But seriously people…. stop trying to fit what will safe your life into a small tin can, otherwise the only thing that will fit in that can when you’re done with it is your ashes.

    • Here’s my issue with your reply. First, you obviously didn’t read the article/GROUP of articles. I have already had this conversation, in the comments already posted, with Lee. I am going to respond to you, and I am not going to be very nice about it since I am wasting my time by answering the same questions (already answered) again AND it is unlikely you will learn anything from this. But, for the sake of an exercise in futility here we go:

      Far too often people create these small “survival kits” that have little to do with survival and more to do with an OCD-like need to pack stuff into the smallest container possible. However, for every video I’ve seen on Youtube, and for every post I’ve seen on the internet, there are very few that understand what “survival” entails.

      I could not agree more on several points. I laugh every time I see an “Altoids Survival” kit. Having been through survival training (see ex-military) and actually tested what I recommend, It is unlikely that I would fit into this description.

      As someone that gets heli-dropped into the shittiest conditions known to man, I can assure you that the ability to “make fire in the first 24 hours” is a pipe dream. Depending on location, season, temperature, climate, and weather—fire is very often not a possibility.

      As this was designed for civilians to use, this will likely not work for you and your specific circumstance (combat use). I checked with a pararescueman from the U.S. Air Force who I guarantee knows a lot more than either of us about survival. He mentioned there is a very narrow set of circumstances, that are not combat related, that would prevent you from having a fire during the first 24 hours. I will show you where you contradict yourself in this argument in a moment.

      If you are going to build a survival kit—consider that its ALWAYS and emergency. Meaning you need to actually prepare for that emergency a head of time. One emergency blanket and pen knife means you’re most likely going to die.

      Patently false. The most important things you can have in a survival situation is a calm demeanor, intelligence, and training. Doodads, toys, and bobbles are a nicety. They help you survive longer, in worse conditions, with greater comfort. As for your comment about emergency blankets and pen knives meaning “you are most likely going to die.” No. Many people have had less and survived for longer than 24 hours. You keep missing, this kit is for 24 hours and non-combat conditions.

      Do I have a way to gather and filter water. Get a LifeStraw, and a good container to carry and hopefully boil water.

      How are you planning on boiling water without a fire? Yeah, this is where I show you just one of the inherent contradictions in your argument.

      Stop with the “I have an emergency blanket” to keep me warm dream. Have you ever used one? When it’s pouring rain, you are soaking wet, and you are trying to get warm… a glorified chip bag doesn’t cut it. Get proper shelter system such as a military poncho, a liner, several large industrial garbage bags, several SOL thick emergency blankets, and an SOL escape bivvy.

      Is there a reason that you ask if I have ever used an emergency blanket to keep warm? Considering I said I had in the article and considering I said I had in response to other people that asked, is there a reason for you to ask a question that has already been answered so many times? I suspect there is a reason, it will be one of these:
      1) You do not know how to read
      2) You know how to read, but do not comprehend what you read
      3) You “read over” what I wrote, but were in such a hurry to prove how much you think you know, that you made an ass of yourself with this comment.

      Now, to correct you on a few things. First, the “glorified chip bag” is a part of a process. You would know this if you had any actual training more than a Rambo movie. How about we stop you from continuing to get wet? You know, one of the important things you are supposed to take care of, shelter. Next, you work out building a fire, YES IN THE RAIN. Having done it, it is a skill that needs to be acquired. As I said elsewhere, there is no gadget or doodad that makes up for lack of training. Then the heat from the fire is reflected off the shiny surface of the blanket towards… YOU!

      Knife… seriously, stop with pen knives, etc. Get a knife that you would trust with your life. For the budget conscious anything from KaBar or ESEE will work. For me, Busse knives are the only knife I trust… this is after having TOPS, etc. fail in the field. Also.. pen knifes don’t chop down trees for shelter—a Busse Batlle Mistress does.

      The pen knife is NOT MEANT TO BE A FIXED BLADE SHEATH KNIFE. Should you have a fixed blade sheath knife outside of your survival kit? YES! OUTSIDE YOUR SURVIVAL KIT! What is the pen knife for? Well, I can tell again that you did not read the article before opening your mouth. That is okay, I am happy to be insulting for having to waste my time to educate you with WHAT WAS ALREADY STATED. This particular pen knife is for helping you pick something up. Read the article to find out what. Next, how in the FLYING FUCK are you going to have time to chop down a tree and not have a fire? I KNOW your answer is not going to have anything to do with combat, RIGHT? Do you see how internally inconsistent your rant is? Do us both a favor, read my article before you respond next time. You would do better to include reading the TITLE. It’ll give you a hint…

      Cordage—100 feet of bank line, and 50 feet of parachord at all times.

      Because there is no way to survive FOR 24 HOURS with less? It’s nice to have that much, but I ACTUALLY DID JUST FINE with less.

      If you want to start a fire, have an actual fire kit with you. One BIc lighter, or a Ferro Rod… sure… but how about 2-3 mini bic lighters, a few ferro rods, wetfire cubes, tinfoil, etc.

      Why not a blow torch and some napalm too? A Bic Lighter and a Ferro Rod… How is that not a fire kit? The rest of what you cited isn’t necessary. Even remotely. Nice to have, but necessary? No.

      And lastly, have an actual First Aid kit with you! A few bandaids and some hand sanitizer won;t help you when you have a real injury. On my last heli-trip I was injured and had a very bad cut on my foot. Luckily, we had a full med-kit to stop the bleeding long enough for me to get extracted by helicopter to get real medical attention. Well worth the weight and size… because I’m still here to talk about it.

      Yup. And a first aid kit is a separate item. Not built in to a survival kit. However, training again is more important than the crap you bring. It is easy to make strips from a shirt or a tourniquet from a belt or shoe laces. I would prefer a first aid kit to pull from, but I am going to trust training and improvisation as well. You seem to have been trained to only work with what you have been given, or have with you. I am lucky enough to have had training outside those constraints.

      Now… take all of that and find a bag that it will fit in. It still doesn’t have to be heavy—my entire 3-day kit with food is still under 20 pounds. My “just survival kit” is less than 8 pounds.

      That is outstanding. I would send you a gold star, but I do not have a place to send it. You see, what I put together for a pound is still relevant and tested to work, FOR 24 HOURS. You have an 8 pound kit that covers the inherent inconsistencies in your explanation of a survival kit, and you trust it. Kudos.

      But seriously people…. stop trying to fit what will safe your life into a small tin can, otherwise the only thing that will fit in that can when you’re done with it is your ashes.

      But seriously people… quit trying to turn every survival kit into a tacticool pile of redundant crap in the off chance you have to save the world from the zombie apocalypse or you suddenly pop up on a desert island. Understand what your survival kit is for.

      Oh, and do us both a favor before commenting. Read the fucking article. Not what you THINK it says.

  2. jack stinson

    dear lee, i can assure you you don’t need the sanitation articles you mention, as a marine grunt in veitnam, we would go 30 days without clean socks, underware weight too much, when you have to survive its what you have to do.

  3. Lee

    Have you EVER walked outside and stayed there for over 24 hours, living with only what you’ve packed? It really frustrates me when people write up these kinds of lists without actually trialing them under real conditions for at least 24 hours.

    You mention surviving three days without water or food. Sure, it will take you that long to actually die, but you’re not going to be functional after the first 24 hours without water and food. If you don’t attend to the basics (eating, drinking, sleeping and elimination) you will not survive. You will also not survive a long time if you don’t take care of your hygiene.

    A self filtering water bottle (I cannot even imagine going through the energy expenditure of boiling water in survival circumstances), high calorie emergency food bars, a good knife, paracord, a waterproof lighter and napalm squares, an ultralight tarp, an SOS emergency bivy, a clotting sponge, vet wrap, bug spray, hand sanitizer, 2 pairs of travel underwear and socks, a bar of soap, a fast drying washcloth, a travel towel, a toothbrush and toothpaste, moist wipes, anti-diarrheal medication, stool softeners and laxatives, and aleve pills makes a decent ultralight survival kit.

    That kit should hold you for awhile, assuming the weather isn’t too awful, you have good shelter construction skills, you know how to forage for food and you aren’t seriously allergic to any common outdoor elements.

    • Lee,

      I’ll respond in line to what you asked:

      “Have you EVER walked outside and stayed there for over 24 hours, living with only what you’ve packed?”

      I stated I had. If you read the article you would have seen, “UPDATE 2012: This did not work. The gear list has a few changes. Lifting a pot full of boiling water off of a fire was no easy task. This required rethinking the material list. When one thing changed, the system changed. The Curve replaced this piece of gear…”

      How do you think I arrived at this conclusion? Guessing?

      “It really frustrates me when people write up these kinds of lists without actually trialing them under real conditions for at least 24 hours.”

      It really frustrates me when I have done so much work on an article (series), and you do not even bother to read it. At this point I can not take you seriously, but will respond to the rest of your concerns for the benefit of my readers.

      “You mention surviving three days without water…”

      NO! I would NEVER advise this. I have stated that you CAN NOT survive for more than three days without water. I NEVER said you SHOULD go three days without water. If you do not understand the difference in these two statements, please learn to read.

      “Sure, it will take you that long to actually die, but you’re not going to be functional after the first 24 hours without water and food.”

      I have NEVER stated that anyone, anywhere, at any time, SHOULD go 24 hours without water. Again, you change the time period but are still wrong. I have been completely and totally functional after going 24 hours without food. I did it MANY TIMES during my tours of duty in the Army. At this point I’m guessing you are a teenager and you need to learn to read.

      “If you don’t attend to the basics (eating, drinking, sleeping and elimination) you will not survive.”

      I have not said anything to the contrary.

      “You will also not survive a long time if you don’t take care of your hygiene.”

      24 hours is NOT a long time. This is a kit for 24 HOURS. Your point is irrelevant.

      “A self filtering water bottle..”

      Weighs too much and will not act as an adequate container for the kit. Considered it already.

      “(I cannot even imagine going through the energy expenditure of boiling water in survival circumstances)”

      Then you know nothing on this subject. Please move along. During the first 24 hours I would have a fire, which does NOT take a huge amount of energy to create (given that you have the tools and knowledge that I do). Since I am going to collect water to drink anyway, I am confused about how setting a container on a fire requires such a huge expenditure of energy? PLEASE, enlighten me.

      “high calorie emergency food bars, a good knife, paracord, a waterproof lighter and napalm squares, an ultralight tarp, an SOS emergency bivy, a clotting sponge, vet wrap, bug spray, hand sanitizer, 2 pairs of travel underwear and socks, a bar of soap, a fast drying washcloth, a travel towel, a toothbrush and toothpaste, moist wipes, anti-diarrheal medication, stool softeners and laxatives, and aleve pills makes a decent ultralight survival kit.”

      That has MANY unnecessary items for 24 hours of survival and does not weigh a pound or less.

      You have opened your mouth before reading the article series and have shown you do not know what you are talking about. Please in the future, read the article (series), do not skim it and assume you have something intelligent to add.

      • I agree that the kit I have suggested does not weigh less than a pound and contains many more items than yours. That’s the whole point. I see so many ultra-lighters get obsessed with weight and minimalism to the extent that their kits are useless for the intended purpose. Would somebody be better off with the kit you describe than nothing at all? Certainly. But its not a decent survival kit, not even for 24 hours.

        You said:

        ““(I cannot even imagine going through the energy expenditure of boiling water in survival circumstances)”

        Then you know nothing on this subject. Please move along. During the first 24 hours I would have a fire, which does NOT take a huge amount of energy to create (given that you have the tools and knowledge that I do). Since I am going to collect water to drink anyway, I am confused about how setting a container on a fire requires such a huge expenditure of energy? PLEASE, enlighten me.”

        Survival situation does not mean “camping in the woods under ideal conditions”. In a survival situation, you are likely to be traumatized, injured, ill or some combination of all three. You will most likely be making huge energy expenditures such as walking or running long distances and/or being exposed to harsh weather conditions. You may be dealing with civil unrest and/or be in dangerous environments that require self defense.

        Your original kit didn’t even include tinder for a fire, and you’re relying on a fire steel and/or bic lighter for your flame. There are plenty of environments that don’t provide good tinder or fuel, and you may not have the time nor the leisure to gather any even if it is available. Your kit relies on the most minimalist and resource intensive methods for fire building besides rubbing two sticks together. Napalm and a wind proof butane torch will set anything on fire in any weather conditions reliably.

        This all assumes a fire is even a good idea in the first place. Do you want to make yourself visible? Do you have the time to sit in one spot long enough to start a fire and boil water? If you are seriously injured, sick or just plain freaking out are you going to be in the state of mind to go through that whole process? A self filtering water bottle is the easiest method, and in a survival situation the method that is the most reliable and requires the least work is what keeps you alive.

        One thing that is guaranteed, your body is going to be eating up calories like crazy during a survival situation. Your kit includes no food. Zero calories. Under those circumstances your body is going to crash hard and there is a very good chance that you will find yourself dehydrated because you don’t have the energy to follow through on your elaborate water scheme. Carrying high energy emergency food bars is essential. I’m not talking Cliff bars, I’m talking those 3K calorie bars that taste like ass but keep you alive.

        As far as hygiene and first aid, you could choose to leave it out of your kit, but that’s not a good survival calculation. Infections can take hold incredibly quickly when your body is under stress. I’m sorry, the army analogy isn’t a good one. Soldiers are expendable and the decision about what they do or don’t carry is not based on what gives them the best odds of survival. Sure, you wore socks for 30 days. What was the rate of foot disease? How many men died because they couldn’t run when they needed to?

        As far as the “shelter” you suggested, those space blankets are the biggest survival myth running. You need to be able to protect yourself from the elements and a space blanket is not going to cut it. A space blanket is also HIGHLY visible, which is not something you always want to be.

        The kit I suggested is still small and lightweight, and it will actually keep you alive. Judging from your tone, I don’t think you’re very open to criticism or education. But maybe somebody else will read this and it will save their life.

      • “I agree that the kit I have suggested does not weigh less than a pound and contains many more items than yours.”

        I don’t think that was in dispute.

        “That’s the whole point.”

        The point is that your kit has more stuff and weighs more? Then it better NEED the stuff AND the weight.

        “I see so many ultra-lighters get obsessed with weight and minimalism to the extent that their kits are useless for the intended purpose.”

        Okay, but that isn’t what happened here. What happened where was I created a kit that weighed a pound, and then went out and survived for 24 hours using its contents.

        “Would somebody be better off with the kit you describe than nothing at all? Certainly.”

        Then what are we arguing about?

        “But its not a decent survival kit, not even for 24 hours.

        You said:

        ““(I cannot even imagine going through the energy expenditure of boiling water in survival circumstances)”

        Then you know nothing on this subject. Please move along. During the first 24 hours I would have a fire, which does NOT take a huge amount of energy to create (given that you have the tools and knowledge that I do). Since I am going to collect water to drink anyway, I am confused about how setting a container on a fire requires such a huge expenditure of energy? PLEASE, enlighten me.”

        Survival situation does not mean “camping in the woods under ideal conditions”. In a survival situation, you are likely to be traumatized, injured, ill or some combination of all three. You will most likely be making huge energy expenditures such as walking or running long distances and/or being exposed to harsh weather conditions. You may be dealing with civil unrest and/or be in dangerous environments that require self defense.”

        First, we have to agree that BOTH of us have made some assumptions. Let’s see which of us made reasonable ones. First we both assume pressure is not something we have to concern ourselves with. We assume atmospheric pressure or we have to include pressure suits (space suits). Also, neither of us concerned ourselves with oxygen.

        So, what is the MOST common injury in Wilderness Survival? A sprain.
        http://innovationfactory.com/2013/03/what-is-the-most-common-injury-in-the-wilderness/

        How do you treat a sprain? Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate. I don’t see where you brought ice. I’d use a river to “ice”, but what if I’m in the desert? I’d make do. I’d rest, elevate, maybe compress using material I have with me (depending).

        Another COMMON injury is exposure related. That is too much heat or too much cold. I included mitigation for this in my kit.

        What exactly do you envision? And how did your kit deal with it and mine didn’t?

        “Your original kit didn’t even include tinder for a fire”

        Because tinder for fire is almost everywhere in every environment I have found myself in. Why bring something with me that exists in my environment?

        “and you’re relying on a fire steel and/or bic lighter for your flame.”

        Two different sources of ignition. Seems reasonable. Are you implying it isn’t?

        “There are plenty of environments that don’t provide good tinder or fuel,”

        Like where exactly? I have trained in high altitude deserts, prairie, forest, sea shores… Where is this place that has nothing combustible? The antarctic? Space?

        “and you may not have the time nor the leisure to gather any even if it is available.”

        Because reaching down to pick something up takes too long?

        “Your kit relies on the most minimalist and resource intensive methods for fire building besides rubbing two sticks together. Napalm and a wind proof butane torch will set anything on fire in any weather conditions reliably.”

        True Napalm can be used to start fire reliably. Are you really advocating it? Because if you are, you just exposed how unreasonable your approach is.

        “This all assumes a fire is even a good idea in the first place. Do you want to make yourself visible?”

        Considering the AVERAGE person stuck in a survival situation WANTS to be found, I would say yes. We’re not all running from zombies and aliens. Having been military trained I can tell you that this is not an evasion kit. I have not claimed it is. So I would not recommend using it for something that it was not designed for.

        “Do you have the time to sit in one spot long enough to start a fire and boil water?”

        If you have time to shelter, yes, you do. And you make it clear later you have time to shelter.

        “If you are seriously injured, sick or just plain freaking out are you going to be in the state of mind to go through that whole process?”

        What equipment makes up for lack of training?

        “A self filtering water bottle is the easiest method, and in a survival situation the method that is the most reliable and requires the least work is what keeps you alive.”

        I have heard many survivalists say that the heaviest thing you can carry is air. They mean that the biggest problem you face is not having the right piece of equipment.

        Bullshit.

        The heaviest thing you can carry is ignorance. If you are educated, you can make up for not having equipment. If you have equipment, you can not make up for lack of education.

        “One thing that is guaranteed, your body is going to be eating up calories like crazy during a survival situation.”

        And you eat more by not taking shelter, which is something you seem to allude to doing.

        “Your kit includes no food. Zero calories.”

        Because food is not a necessity during the first 24 hours. This FACT was explained. I have tested THIS kit for 24 hours. I went 24 hours without food. I survived just fine. In fact, I benefitted. Now, ranting about food is irrelevant.

        “Under those circumstances your body is going to crash hard and there is a very good chance that you will find yourself dehydrated because you don’t have the energy to follow through on your elaborate water scheme.”

        Step one: find water
        Step two: boil it

        No, not elaborate. You want to carry the weight of food while crying, “what about injury?” Have you ever spent any time training for survival scenarios? If a sprain is the most common injury, HOW ARE YOU GOING TO TRANSPORT THE EXTRA WEIGHT GENIUS? My 1 pound versus your multi pound approach. Also you keep bitching about food. I can prepare it with my method, you can’t. I’ll have food longer AND water longer. You are at the mercy of what you bring.

        “Carrying high energy emergency food bars is essential.”

        Not during the first 24 hours.

        “I’m not talking Cliff bars, I’m talking those 3K calorie bars that taste like ass but keep you alive.”

        Unnecessary during the first 24 hours.

        “As far as hygiene and first aid, you could choose to leave it out of your kit, but that’s not a good survival calculation.”

        I haven’t “left it out,” I just know how to use what I have included to handle most of the needs I’ll have, and be just fine for 24 hours.

        “Infections can take hold incredibly quickly when your body is under stress.”

        …. 24 HOURS

        “I’m sorry, the army analogy isn’t a good one. Soldiers are expendable and the decision about what they do or don’t carry is not based on what gives them the best odds of survival.”

        Source?

        “Sure, you wore socks for 30 days. What was the rate of foot disease? How many men died because they couldn’t run when they needed to?”

        Irrelevant considering we are talking about… 24 HOURS!

        “As far as the “shelter” you suggested, those space blankets are the biggest survival myth running. You need to be able to protect yourself from the elements and a space blanket is not going to cut it. A space blanket is also HIGHLY visible, which is not something you always want to be.”

        Look, you have been trained to believe tacticool bullshit. Your lack of education on use of something does not make it worthless. I’ve used those “myths” in a down pour. I’ve survived just fine using it as part of an improvised shelter. And, you have contradicted yourself. Now you have time to set up a shelter when earlier you didn’t? What?

        “The kit I suggested is still small and lightweight,”

        Not by any stretch of the imagination

        “and it will actually keep you alive.”

        How am I still here having used mine in the field?

        “Judging from your tone, I don’t think you’re very open to criticism or education. But maybe somebody else will read this and it will save their life.”

        Or they’ll loose it while zombies are chasing them and they are hiding from aliens because they were injured (like you mentioned) and they had too much crap to get anywhere and died. I am open to criticism, when it is well founded. Your argument is internally inconsistent, demonstrates you have no training, sounds like you have watched Red Dawn too many times, and clearly shows the last thing you should be doing is making these recommendations. You have not approached this methodically or reasonably. I personally test what I recommend.

        You are so quick to judge, you don’t have the context correct, haven’t responded to the criticisms I leveled against what you posted originally, and have not provided a shred of evidence to support your claims.

      • I think the problem here is that you are calling this a survival kit and claiming to have field tested it. You’re thinking about a very narrow survival scenario and you tested your kit under normal conditions, not survival conditions.

        You’re also very narrowly focused on this hypothetical survival situation only lasting 24 hours, which is a pretty short time window. If you get worn down on the first day because you decided it was more important to only carry one pound instead of 5-10 and then don’t even have supplies with you past 24 hours, its not going to be pretty. Basic survival rule of thumb, plan for at least three days.

        The items I listed make a pretty decent EDC kit. I have those items on me pretty much all the time. They all fit into my smallest day pack. I’ve tested this kit under a lot of conditions; urban, wilderness and third world countries. What’s more, this kit has seen me through severe survival situations in multiple environments.

        I know that if I had relied on a “survival kit” such as the one you’ve suggested here, I would be dead. Even this kit has its limitations. For example, this is primarily a warm weather kit, certainly not a three season survival kit as you claim yours to be.

        As you stated, you can’t prepare for everything and if you try you’ll be too weighed down. But in worrying so much about being way beyond ultralight (even extreme ultralight is considered to be 5-10 pounds base weight, before food and water) you’re setting yourself up for a rough ride.

      • “I think the problem here is that you are calling this a survival kit and claiming to have field tested it.”

        Lee, I am calling this a survival kit because I survived 24 hours using only what is in this kit. I have to admit that my testing has been limited. I started with a scenario where I drove to a place I could camp over night. My car was right next to me the whole time, at any point I could stop and drive home. I didn’t want to bet my life on something untested. I lasted 24 hours using only this kit, what is in it, and what I found in the area I was in ( a national park, pristine day, short distance to help). My next test included a rainy day and almost freezing temperatures. However I was still near my car, at a national park, etc…

        I use this method so I don’t have to die if something goes wrong. I test the kit a little at a time. Each time I am trying to see where the limit is for what I have recommended, what the limit is for my skill set, and what I need to change to improve the kit. I keep the artificial constraint of 24 hours for a few reasons. One, it keeps the kit size (weight, number of things) down. Two, it keeps the kit cost down. And three, like the article states, I am doing one pound of kit per day I plan to survive.

        I kept hammering on your reading the whole article, because quite frankly, your concerns clearly show me you didn’t do that. At the end of this article (called the FIRST 24 hours) is a link to the next article (called the NEXT 24 hours) in the series. I add a pound of equipment to this kit, to survive for 48 hours. At the end of that article is a link to the next article that adds a pound of equipment to survive for the next 24 hours bringing our total weight to 48 ounces (3 pounds) and 3 days. I conclude by pointing out that my design is a pretty good basis for an ultralight kit at that point, and could extend it by a pound or two to camp comfortably for a weekend, or do as you did and add a few pounds to survive for an extended period of time. My point was to go from someone having nothing, to having a 24 hour kit… up to a 72 hour kit… up to being able to ultralight backpack.

        I like your idea. I may see what I can do with a 5 pound kit. What would be required for the next two pounds? How many days can I get off of that?

        I think the point of this story is that when I recommended you read the entire article and not jump to a conclusion, you could have taken that as a hint to… read the entire article and not jump to a conclusion?

        Lee, I admit I have been frustrated in responding to you, and even been snarky. I probably could have done better in making myself understood. I think my lesson here is to not assume that people understand what I am saying. After you have read the other two articles, I look forward to your input, if you feel so inclined.

  4. Nice write up so far, I look forward to reading the rest.
    One suggestion for your knife/ pot lifter conundrum. Opinel #8 is 1.6oz and can be had in carbon or stainless. I’ve been using a 3’x3′ silk bandana as a potholder without issues. Weighs nothing, folds smaller than cotton bandana. As you can imagine it is multi use as a dust mask, triangle bandage, scarf, kite, loincloth, distress flag, surrender flag, etc.

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