My thoughts about survival kits

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My thoughts about survival kits

I`m camping, not evading  enemy forces

IMHO those small survival kits mentioned in most survival books are of no use (yes, I admit, I have tinkered with them myself earlier) to the camper and most other people.

You most likely already have all the kit you need to survive in your backpack/pockets, no matter if you go light weight or full kitchen sink.

Why on earth would I need a tiny tobacco tin filled with microscopic, mostly useless items.

I will rather fill it with the full size content as it is IMO much more useful. Even in an emergency.

Let me break it down to comment the most common items in such a kit.

Fire starter

Not a stupid item per se, but I already carry two sets. One in my pocket and one in my pack.

How many does one really need.

A small scalpel blade or a pen knife.

I already carry a belt knife.

Most of the time I also carry with me a large SAK in my jacket pocket, and also a small hatchet in the rucksack.

I have yet to loose any of those cutting tools; why would I then need a puny scalpel blade?

Signalling mirror.

OK I admit this one could be useful. Signalling the planes and/or helicopters looking for you in a rescue operation is great. They need any help they can get to find you fast.

Same goes for the whistle.

But have you told anyone you are going away, for how long and where?

If no one is missing you in the first place, no one is going to look for you.

I carry a compass with a mirror, no need for an extra survival mirror.

Aluminium foil

Don`t expect to cook anything in a cup made of this. It will be full of holes after being compressed in the tin. I don`t know who found this to be a good item in a survival tin because it isn`t. It is rubbish.

If you absolutely will add foil to a survival tin, make a collapsible pot of the foil used to make catering food trays. It is thick enough to withstand the folding process without breaking.

Besides, I always carry with me a cooking vessel of some sort.


I live in an environment where a compass isn`t really necessary. The terrain dictates the walking directions most of the time and I very seldom actually use one.

I carry a compass in the jacket pocket though.

A real compass, in case of fog or heavy snow. Thus I already have a survival compass, no need for a tiny extra.

Fish hooks

I can`t see myself hassling with the fish hooks if I was lost or in a survival situation.

Better to use that time to find your direction and walk out of the woods.

It would be some days before I need some food and I would most likely be rescued by then.

Besides what bait should I use. No kit seems to contain any bait.

I can tell you that you will have a hard time finding any useful bait in the wild up here.

If you do you are most likely close to people anyway.

If you “expect to be in a long term survival situation”; pack a small gill net.

Half a standard trout net will fit in your jacket pocket.

The gill net will actually catch fish.

Snare wire

See above.


Apart from the obvious use I don`t know what to do with this.

We don`t need to treat the water before drinking and we certainly don`t lack water.

I don`t even carry a canteen (unless it is winter). I just can`t see myself pulling of my sock and collecting water in a condom, when I can just drink directly from the lake or stream.


Pen and pencil

Can`t really see the need.

The chance of the rescuers finding a small piece of paper you stuck between some branches or under a random rock somewhere in the woods while failing in finding you…. Seems unlikely.


Needles, safety pins, duct tape and cordage are useful items as they could be used to repair your clothes or equipment. I just don`t see them as survival items.

Ripping a hole in your trousers doesn`t mean you are in an emergency.

I do carry these items though, but not in a tin. I carry them as part of my FAK, in my rucksack, sewing set and so on.

In all my days I have never heard of anyone who was lost or got in an emergency situation because they were separated from their gear.


That bring us back to where I began: