15.11.08

More than a survival tin part 2

Ok guys having read the below you'll understand that our primary equpment is key - lets not forget our clothing is also our first line of defense and we should look at this with a mind to being about to live in it possibly with no shelter for at least 3 days!

Building on our clothing then comes our kit - carried on our backs and in our pockets. To simplify things think of your kit as being units of your priority list - i.e Food fire shelter water medical - so if we pack items to meet all these priorities in a emergency our asses are covered!

Below is a basic list of what I tend to carry - its changable from season to season ect but a good base line to work from and covers all my priorities .............

Personal Primary kit list – carried on the body


Bandana – trouser pocket

Compass – jacket

Torch + Lighter - trousers

2 x orange rubbish bags - jacket

Ferro rod – tinder pouch - trousers

Swiss army knife – belt in pouch

Pain killers -

Para-cord - jacket

Protein/energy bar - jacket

Sharp belt knife - Belt

Space blanket - Jacket

Whistle – jacket with compass

Ziploc bags - jacket

GPS - trousers


Day sack list adapted from Old Canadian Regulations (no longer in force)

.Food – 1 x Army 24hrs rat pack
.Cooking utensils. – Metal mug and Mess tins
.A stove and a supply of fuel – hexi and blocks
.Large camp knife – if not on belt
.A flexible saw blade - bahco/laplander
.Snare wire of at least 30 feet or 9 meters and instructions for its use.
.Fishing equipment = a gill net of not more than a 2 inch or 3 centimetre mesh.
.Mosquito headnet
.Lone wolf or poncho.
.A suitable survival instruction manual or aide memoire.
.Conspicuity panel. – Hi-Viz flag/scarf/bag
.Candle – 1 x long life
,First Aid kit + FFD
,Water filtration system
,Water carrier/bottle
.Spare tinder pouch and fire steel

Additional equipment:

Sharpening stone
Day sack to carry it all in

13.11.08

Survival is more than just a kit in a tin!

While it is widely accepted a survival kit is a major plus in an emergency situation remember also your normal kit or your emergency kit and clothing are your first line of defence.

While we train to survive with nothing it is unwise to actually go out on adventures without a well thought out kit - even for a summer day hike in the hills I'd advise taking all the usual items as well as a candle, emergency sleeping bag and space blanket as a minimum.

Below are some examples of emergency kits you might want to ponder - build your own kits and ideas from these - remember not to carry kit for kits sake and that a heavy emergency kit will be left behind and does you no go in base camp or the boot of your car!

Personal survival kit list – carried on the body

Bandana – trouser pocket
Compass – jacket
Torch + Lighter - trousers
2 x orange rubbish bags - jacket
Ferro rod – tinder pouch - trousers
Swiss army knife – belt in pouch
Para-cord - jacket
energy bar - jacket
Sharp belt knife - Belt
Space blanket - Jacket
Whistle – jacket with compass
Ziploc bags - jacket
GPS - trousers


Complete survival kit list – back up kit for day sack

Candle
Metal mug – mess tins
Dried food/rations 24hrs
Duct tape
Spare Ferro rod + Tinder
First aid kit
Fishing kit
Rubbish bags 2 x orange
Money
Paracord
Notebook = pencils
Saw
Snare wire
Space blanket
Water filter/purification
Ziplocs

Shelter sheet
Warm clothing
Hat
Water

D of E Kit List with notes - this is more the average hikers kit list but again working form a good foundation is good

Clothing
This is mandatory for everybody


Waterproof jacket with hood
This needs to be waterproof not showerproof.
Waterproof trousers
As above.
Thermal top
This must NOT be cotton. Acceptable examples include ski tops, thin fleece, Helly Hansen tops or other specialist makes eg F&T.
Fleece
Must by nylon or polypropylene NOT cotton. Primark do one for £6!
Trousers
These must be quick drying. Nylon is ideal eg Ron Hills.
Hat & Gloves
Ideally fleece.
Socks and Underwear
Carry spare socks as well.
Adequate footwear
Boots for Silver and Gold, Bronze can be done in sturdy trainers.
Personal Equipment
This is mandatory for everybody
Rucksack & liner
These can be borrowed, 60 Litres is a good size. Liner should be thick plastic (not a bin liner), Rubble Bags from B & Q are ideal. Rucksack covers are not waterproof.
Sleeping bag & mat
A 3 season sleeping bag should be fine. These have to be in a sealed plastic bag (not a bin liner). Rubble bag and Duct tape!
Water bottle
At least 1 litre, a Platypus or similar is ideal.
Watch

Wash Kit
Soap (or Dry Wash), toothbrush, toothpaste, loo roll in a plastic bag, small towel. NOTHING ELSE. No make up or deodorant!!
Torch, Whistle & Compass
Headtorches are best, B & Q sell one for £3. Good compasses are made by SILVA. Whistles are usually orange!
Mug & Spoon
Plastic! SpudUlike make a plastic spoon and fork thingy that is great.
Plastic bags for feet
Big freezer bags! Dry socks - wet boots solution for camp.
Emergency Equipment
This is mandatory for everybody
One COMPLETE change of clothing
This is only to be worn in the tent or in a real emergency. It must be ruthlessly packed to ensure it remains bone dry. Another rubble bag and duck tape!
Survival bag & Emergency rations
Big Orange plastic bag £3, some spare food.
Pen and paper
For message writing and making notes about your journey.
Personal first aid kit
Personal medication (paracetemol etc) and minor plasters for blisters.
Money
For spending on food on the journey and phone calls.
Emergency contact details
These will be on the consent letter and should be programmed into phones and written on routecards.
Group Kit
To be shared amongst the team
Stove & Fuel
These are issued.
Tent (can be borrowed)
One with a porch will help keep the inner area dry.
Matches & Washing up kit
A film case of Washing Up Liquid and a green scrubby thing. Matches need to stay dry!
Food
This should be organised as a team. Eat lots!
Group first aid kit
This will be issued and contains stuff like bandages and dressings.
Maps
These will be issued.
Trowel
For when there is no toilet!
Mobile Phone
For Emergencies only, NOT texting your mates.
Duct Tape
A big roll that can be used for loads of things.





(The following was compiled from the original sources)
Alaskan Survival Kit Regulations
Alaska state law (AS 02.35.110. Emergency Rations and Equipment) was modified a while back to reduce the equipment required to be carried. The current regulations require that no airman may make a flight inside the state with an aircraft unless emergency equipment is carried as follows:
1. The minimum equipment to be carried during summer months is as follows: (for all single engine and for multiengine aircraft licensed to carry 15 passengers or less)
(A) rations for each occupant sufficient to sustain life for one week;
(B) one axe or hatchet;
(C) one first aid kit;
(D) an assortment of tackle such as hooks, flies, lines, and sinkers;
(E) one knife;
(F) fire starter;
(G) one mosquito headnet for each occupant;
(H) two small signaling devices such as colored smoke bombs, railroad fuses, or Very pistol shells, in sealed metal containers;
2. In addition to the above, the following must be carried as minimum equipment from October 15 to April 1 of each year:
(A) one pair of snowshoes
(B) one sleeping bag
(C) one wool blanket for each occupant over four
As you can see, the Alaskan regulations are minimal and do not address much in the way of specifics or quality. The old regulations were similarly minimal, but required double the food, a gill net and a firearm and specified matches instead of a generic "firestarter." The old requirements were as follows:
1. The minimum equipment to be carried during summer months is as follows: (for all single engine and for multiengine aircraft licensed to carry 15 passengers or less)
a. food for each occupant sufficient to sustain life for two weeks
b. one axe or hatchet
c. one first aid kit
d. one pistol, revolver, shotgun or rifle and ammunition for same
e. one small gill net and an assortment of tackle such as hooks, flies, lines, sinkers, etc.
f. one knife
g. two small boxes of matches
h. one mosquito headnet for each occupant
i. two small signalling devices such as colored smoke bombs, railroad fuses or very pistol shells, in sealed metal containers
2. In addition to the above, the following must be carried as minimum equipment from October 15 to April 1 of each year:
a. one pair of snowshoes
b. one sleeping bag
c. one wool blanket for each occupant over four
Canadian Survival Kit Regulations
Canada used to have pretty stringent regulations regarding required survival gear. Then they revised the regulations, leaving the contents virtually undefined and ambiguous, presenting unscrupulous operators with loopholes large enough to fly a 747 through. The current version of the regulation follows, with the former version, a fairly good guide for what may be considered acceptable with modification by some government field personnel, following the current regulations.


Survival Equipment - Flights over Land
(1) Subject to subsection (2), no person shall operate an aircraft over land unless there is carried on board survival equipment, sufficient for the survival on the ground of each person on board, given the geographical area, the season of the year and anticipated seasonal climatic variations, that provides the means for
(a) starting a fire;
(b) providing shelter;
(c) providing or purifying water; and
(d) visually signalling distress.
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply in respect of
(a) a balloon, a glider, a hang glider, a gyroplane or an ultra-light aeroplane;
(b) an aircraft that is operated within 25 nautical miles of the aerodrome of departure and that has the capability of radio communication with surface-based radio station for the duration of the flight;
(c) a multi-engined aircraft this is operated south of 66 30' north latitude
(i) in IFR flight within controlled airspace, or
(ii) along designated air routes;
(d) an aircraft that is operated by an air operator, where the aircraft is equipped with equipment specified in the air operator's company operations manual, but not with the equipment required by subsection (1); or
(e) an aircraft that is operated in a geographical area where and at a time of year when the survival of the persons on board is not jeopardized.
If you plan to carry firearms in an aircraft, including as part of your survival equipment, you should be aware that hand guns and fully automatic weapons are not legal to be carried or worn in Canada. As for any long guns, when entering Canada you must register each firearm with Canadian Customs or face severe penalties if caught.
On a related issue, the "flare gun" found in many life rafts and survival kits is not a "firearm," so do not refer to it as such when asked by Canadian Customs if you have any firearms on board. If the subject comes up, and only if it comes up, you should always refer to it as a "Pyrotechnic Signaling Device" as in "There is a 'pyrotechnic signaling device' in the life raft survival kit in accordance with Canadian, U.S. and international regulations." (This tip courtesy of National Business Aviation Association)


Old Canadian Regulations (no longer in force)
Emergency Equipment for Flights in Sparsely Settled Areas (most of the area north of 52 degrees North latitude is designated as "Sparsely Settled")
Food having a caloric value of at least 10,000 calories per person carried, not subject to deterioration by heat or cold and stored in a sealed waterproof container bearing a tag or label on which the operator of the aircraft or his representative has certified the amount and satisfactory condition of the food in the container following an inspection made not more than 6 months prior to the flight.
Cooking utensils.
Matches in a waterproof container.
A stove and a supply of fuel or a self-contained means of providing heat for cooking when operating north of the tree line.
A portable compass.
An axe of at least 2 1/2 pounds or 1 kilogram weight with a handle of not less than 28 inches or 70 centimeters in length. (typically referred to as a "Hudson Bay" axe)
A flexible saw blade or equivalent cutting tool.
Snare wire of at least 30 feet or 9 meters and instructions for its use.
Fishing equipment including still fishing bait and a gill net of not more than a 2 inch or 3 centimeter mesh.
Mosquito nets or netting and insect repellant sufficient to meet the needs of all persons carried when operating in an area where insects are likely to be hazardous.
Tents or engine and wing covers of a suitable design, coloured or having panels coloured in international orange or other high visibility colour, sufficient to accommodate all persons when operating north of the tree line.
Winter sleeping bags sufficient in quantity to accommodate all persons carried when operating in an area where the mean daily temperature is likely to be 7 degrees C (approx. 45 degrees F) or less.
Two pairs of snow shoes when operating in areas where the ground snow cover is likely to be 12 inches or 30 centimeters of more.
A signalling mirror.
At least 3 pyrotechnical distress signals.
A sharp jack-knife or hunting knife of good quality.
A suitable survival instruction manual.
Conspicuity panel.
The following are suggested as useful additional equipment:
Spare Axe Handle
Honing stone or file
Ice chisel
Snow knife or snow saw
Snow shovel
Flashlight with spare bulbs and batteries
Pack sack
Firearms are carried at the operator's discretion. However, if it is proposed to carry firearms in an aircraft as additional emergency equipment the operator should be aware that hand held pistols, revolvers, etc., known as small arms, and fully automatic weapons are not authorized to be carried or worn in Canada. (When entering Canada you must register each firearm with Canadian Customs.)
U.S. pilots contemplating flying to or in Alaska or Canada would do well to avail themselves of AOPA's "Flight Planning Guide" for Alaska and Canada and the assistance of the specialists in AOPA's Flight Operations Department (800-872-2672 or 301-695-2140).

6.11.08

The survivors mantra .............

The Quitter

When you're lost in the Wild, and you're scared as a child,
And Death looks you bang in the eye,
And you're sore as a boil, it's according to Hoyle
To cock your revolver and . . . die.
But the Code of a Man says: "Fight all you can,"
And self-dissolution is barred.
In hunger and woe, oh, it's easy to blow . . .
It's the hell-served-for-breakfast that's hard.
"You're sick of the game!" Well, now, that's a shame.
You're young and you're brave and you're bright.
"You've had a raw deal!" I know -- but don't squeal,
Buck up, do your damnedest, and fight.
It's the plugging away that will win you the day,
So don't be a piker, old pard!
Just draw on your grit; it's so easy to quit:
It's the keeping-your-chin-up that's hard.
It's easy to cry that you're beaten -- and die;
It's easy to crawfish and crawl;
But to fight and to fight when hope's out of sight --
Why, that's the best game of them all!
And though you come out of each gruelling bout,
All broken and beaten and scarred,
Just have one more try -- it's dead easy to die,
It's the keeping-on-living that's hard.


--- Robert Service

A tool for all occasions



SurvivALL is pleased to announce the arrival of the Fallkniven range to the on-line store!! These knives are the bench mark by which many are measured and the design (the traditional swedish) upon which many other models are based! The addition of this range (A2 and F1) mean that we can now offer the survivor the widest and most comprehensive choice of cutting tools to suit every need and budget.




For the medium sized EDC you now have a choice of the tough folding Normark SuperSwede or if you want a sheath knife the classic and enhanced viz Frosts Clipper or now the Bombproof survival knife of both the Swedish Airforce and the US navy and Marine aircrews the legendary F1.




And if you need something with a bit more clout, something to act as camp knife, butcher knife, axe ect then we offer you two excellent options - the SurvivALL kukri, handmade for us in the foothills of Nepal with a new more erogomic handle shape or the awesome A2 the wilderness knife.




With such choice of tried and tested - if not legendary cutting tools you can not fail to find one to suit your needs!

5.11.08

Survival Fun.

One of the great pleasures of survival training over all other forms of fieldcraft is that the survivor is expected to be able to improvise, its a nessecity - this means two things, firstly to be able to think for themselves and not be reliant on kit but secondly it also means your allowed to tinker and adapt tools and kit to suit your needs be this gaffa taping the corners of a space blanket so it can be used as a tarp or sticking a torch and a lighter together and covering it in hi viz tape so you dont lose it.

Nothing is beyond the remit of a survivor and we are given license to try anything - anything that adapts our kit and makes if work better or makes it more versatile is a tick in the box!! Just like we adapt our survival kit so do we adapt our other kit, experience will lead us to some interesting finds all of which are unique to the individual for example where for many many years I prefered the aesthically pleasing option of leather sheathes ect I now prefer to use a knife with a hardened sheath (wooden kukri or the ABS plastic of the clipper ect) as this makes the tool safer in carriage and offers us the options of whipping paracord around the sheath and can be sterilized and cleaned much easier - its not about price but oddly many of these types of tools are also cheaper so thats a bonus or the fact that instead of matches or a blue flame lighter I prefer a cheap old bic with the flame adjusted higher - I carry a couple of these spread around my kit making them a cheap, reliable alternative to the expensive blue flames or the tempermentality of matches - the clear bodies mean you can see how much fuels left and the sparker will still strike once the gas has run out giving us starks to work with.

Some things you try fail miserably but in failing you learn too - only in fearing the failure do we learn nothing .................a friend of mine says "the man who never made a mistake, never made anything!" and this is very true.

So BE A SURVIVOR - dont be afraid to improvise - adapt your kit - make the thing you need - relearn and escape the commercialism and more importantly HAVE FUN DOING IT!!