For survival enthusiasts, budding explorers and the general person, making sure you’re suitably equipped for an emergency situation, or even for a trip into the great outdoors is usually priority number one when you getting yourself organized. However, with such a vast variety of options and choices to choose between, it’s sometimes hard to really know what you should be taking and what you should be shaking.
As my high school principal always used to say ‘if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail’, so here is a list of 10 essential items for making sure your own survival kit, or bug-out bag, has the right equipment. Whatever the terrain or weather, these items should help to make sure that, no matter what happens, your emergencies will not turn into disasters.
It goes without saying really, number one is the long-used and vitally important knife. Knives can be used in basically any situation. From cutting branches for use as firewood or cloth to use as bandages, to opening and preparing food, the knife is definitely one of essential items for every survivalist. Make sure to buy a quality blade which is not going to rust.
Water Bottle/ water storage
Water was once described as “the Hub of Life”, and that’s no truer than when it comes to survival. Without water, you die. Making sure you have access to water to stave off dehydration should be one of the first things you consider when getting ready for the great outdoors.
First Aid Kit
The good old first aid kit, a time-tested item most families and businesses will keep tucked away for emergencies. For the survivalist, a First Aid Kit can be the difference between life and death.
A good first aid kit should include gauze, bandages, cleaning wipes (with Alcohol to make sure wounds don’t get infected), gloves, and many other supplies. Your knife can also be used as an invaluable piece of your first aid kit and allow you to cut bandages to the right size, just make sure you disinfect it first!
Change of Clothes
This might seem like a strange one to include, but a change of clothes can be invaluable, especially during winter. When your body gets wet, the moisture will draw the heat away from your body, during winter this can lead to hypothermia. It is incredibly important that you get dry as soon as you can. One of the easiest ways to do this is to make sure that you have an extra set of clothing in your survival kit.
Another issue which can arise from wet clothing is blistered forming on your feet. This can inhibit your movement and mean that you’re not covering as much ground as you need to every day. A good way to avoid this is to make sure that your feet stay dry, so pack a spare pair of sock when you head out.
A compass can guide you in any direction you like if you know how to use it. Making sure you have a compass is only the first step in ensuring that your survival kit allows you to navigate the great unknown.
Learning how to use a compass is relatively simple, but the benefits of it are unmatched. This knowledge, when combined with a map, a basic knowledge of landmarks or even of stars, can help ensure you will be able to find your way back to civilization or find a nearby water source.
Signaling & Communication Equipment
Signaling equipment is often overlooked when people start putting together their first survival kit. Why? Because people usually do not consider the benefits of making sure you have a way of getting in touch with other people. Even if you do not consider people outside your group, it’s always useful to make sure you have a way of contacting each other when you’re scouting new areas or letting each other know if there is a problem: even if it’s something as simple as a whistle or flashlight.
It can also be a huge help to make sure you have a radio to make sure you can receive updates and new information. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the U.S. continuously release information concerning warnings about weather conditions and disaster alerts, so make sure that your radio can pick up the NOAA band.
Of course, there is always the trust cell phone, but cell phones require power, so make sure you have a way of charging your phone. Which brings me to the next item you should make sure you pack in your survival kit…
A source of electricity or power
We use electricity for so many things: making sure we have light, powering communication devices as said previously, or in many other emergency situations. Making sure you have a source of power in case you need it can be vitally important.
But electricity isn’t unlimited, and relying on something you have to plug into the mains to charge or stick batteries in, isn’t going get you very far when the juice runs out. It’s best to make sure you invest in something which can provide you with a continuous supply of electricity. Devices can do this either through solar activity or manual generation through winding them up.
A flashlight should always be in the survivalist’s repertoire of equipment. Not only can it serve as a basic signaling device, but it can also make sure you can see in the dark. It’s important to make sure your flashlight is lightweight and easy to carry because it’s going to be with you for the entire time you’re out there. Also, make sure you have a way of powering it. A flashlight without electricity is largely useless.
Rope. What can you use rope for? Building a shelter, hanging clothes to dry (see the importance of a change of clothes), bundling sticks or other items together for making moving them more convenient, tying down items so they don’t disappear when the wind picks up, attaching group members together in dangerous areas such as sheer cliffs or mountains, and the list goes on.
It’s a good idea to invest in some Paracord, which is recommended by most experienced survivalists due to being both lightweight and very strong; you know this type of cord is strong because the name para actually comes from a parachute, which is where this cord was originally used.
Ok, so obviously you cannot pack fire itself into your survival kit, but the great outdoors is crammed with a huge supply of natural material to make a fire: wood. The only problem is getting that fire going. Consequently, it’s important to make sure you some means of starting a fire with you. Fire starters are a great help if you need to get a fire going quickly and will stop you having to hours doing it the old way. It’s recommended to use a magnesium based fire starter as they burn hot and quick, and take up a small amount of space.
Getting it all together
Selecting all these items can be daunting, even within these categories there is a huge range of diversity. Luckily, lots of these features come packed inside the Horizons Tec HT-747; an NOAA band emergency weather radio (in addition to standard FM and AM frequencies), with a 3 LED flashlight and an emergency power source. Importantly, the HT-747 has the choice between both solar power charging and self-charge through a convenient hand crank; making it a great source of electricity or power. You can hook it up to any USB device through standard USB, mini-USB or any of the 3 cell phone power connectors. Additionally, the radio has a battery capacity of 1000mAh, meaning it can operate and last longer than the usual 300mAh and 700mAh batteries. You can also use it to charge your phone for an emergency call. Larger battery capacity means it can handle the newest cell phone models, which require higher current than the older models.
The self-charging capability isn’t all about over-exertion either. You won’t have to sit there for hours in order to generate enough electricity to power a light for one minute. Cranking the handle on the side for one minute will actually provide you with over twenty minutes of radio/light power. This means that you won’t have to worry about running out of light in the provided flashlight: something experts will usually warn about.
Horizons Tec has also bundled a paracord bracelet (which can be used as a rope) with a compass, fire starter and an ABS clasp/ whistle, to make sure your survival kit is complete. The paracord bracelet can be conveniently placed either around your wrist or unbraided to become an 11-ft rope; perfect for any rope-needing activity.
The ABS clasp can also be used as a whistle, which can function as a basic piece of Signaling Equipment in dangerous situations and let other people in your group know if something has happened or if there is danger up ahead. If you need to stay somewhere overnight or have found yourself trapped in the cold, a magnesium fire starter is also contained in the clasp to ensure you can get that much-needed fire going.
A good, rugged and useful survival kit incorporates a lot of equipment, which means it can be a lot to carry if you’re on the move. The HT-747 incorporates a lot of these essential items in one lightweight and easy to carry package.