31.10.08

Grab bag - webbing - survival pack

If you search for the different survival kits recommended around the world you will find an amazing array. Some kits are recommended for bushpilots in the canadian north, others for sailors or mountaineers or close protection operatives working in hostile lands but all even, those issued to our own fast jet pilots, have one thing in common - they are all designed with the sole aim of keeping a person or group of people alive for a minimum of 72 hours.

While on our courses we train our students and clients to use and fully understand the survival tin and its concept we also demo and recommend other more expanded kits and this is what I want to discuss here.

Being able to survive 72 hours with just a survival tin is the pinnicle of our training and should be viewed as a great achievement but that doesnt mean we knowingly or willing expose ourselves for real to a situation where we need to rely upon the tin only.

As mentioned above anyone working or travelling in remote areas is recommended to carry a survival kit - this is more than a tin, although the tin can form a key part of your kit.

So call this a grab bag - others a prevent kit - my I call it my day sack ...............and this is the key to my mind as the kit I carry for an emergency is the same kit I always carry and is carried as an addition to my normal gear.

Its a habit born of the army where a soldier is trained to carry the necessary kit to survive 48 hours on the battlefield in his webbing and this is the same mind set the survivor needs to adopt.

My own kit will vary from place to place as I adapt it to the enviroment I'm in but the below are the key items I always carry.

  • Camelbak Hawg - with 3 litre bladder and two waterbottle pouches on the outside. (bladder is always emptied and inflated when doing river crossings and if worn can act as a life preservor if you fall in!)
  • Metal mug - this is used all the time - but when packing it usually has brew kit ect packed into it and lives on one of the waterbottle pouches.
  • Crusader mess tin set - again used all the time and lives in the other waterbottle pouch - usual packed with rations for 24hrs.
  • First aid kit - is not carried on my body.
  • Surviva-pura waterbottle/filter - usually empty as I use it to fill up the bladder but in an emergency would carry it and the bladder full.
  • Frost - hiviz orange clipper - no messing around here I want a practicle knife with a high quality stainless steel blade that will deal with all the tasks I might need it for - but equally I want a knife that isnt expensive as it will be hard used.
  • Bahco folding saw - not the green ones but again a hiviz orange model - remember better red than dead and in an emergency we can not affords to lose a single tool. the saw is safer to use than a axe and generally just as useful when married up with the clipper.
  • RAF survival kit - the mkIV survival kit is the best survival kit available and I usually carry one at all times - generally I break it down and carry the emergency sleeping bag, candle and space blanket ect in with my first aid items while the fire lighting kit goes in a pocket ect ect. The only thing missing from this kit is a metal boiling vessel but as we have both a cup and a mess tin thats catered for.
  • wool cap or hat
  • mosi head net - this is a versatile item and doubles up as a carry bag when gathering a filter for removing detrious from water ect ect.
  • Pak lite torch - a simple light designed to simply fit on to of a 9v battery which also glows in the dark so no risk of losing it in the dark when you need it most.

And thats about it - the main sack is still empty and I have often managed to pack the Hawg with all my gear for a weekends camp out so that gives you an idea of the room left.

From the above you can now see that a small well thought out kit is important - theres no doubt it will make life easier in an emergency all we have to do is train ourselves to remember to carry it with us - for - just like a survival tin your survival kit, grab bag, ditch kit or whatever you call it is no good to you in the car or plane or boat or back at base camp when you find yourself in a emergency situation!!

Other additions recommended would be a good manual such as Survival Advantage - the SAS Survival hand book or 98.6 degrees - a map and a compass - whistle even a mobile phone but these are items we should take as read and carried as the norm always .............................

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