hunters survival kit

Elk Hunter’s Survival Kit

In Gear 101, The Hunt by John Solomon, former U.S. Air Force survival instructor1 Comment

There’s an easy way and a hard way to do everything. Building a good survival kit sometimes requires both.

The easy part is selecting items to provide fire, shelter, water, signaling, first aid and food. Then add a good knife. The hard part comes when you try to put everything in a compact, durable package that is lightweight and easy to carry. I guarantee you have most of what you need for a basic survival kit in your garage and medicine cabinet. If not, a few dollars at the local drug store or sporting goods outlet will finish off a kit just fine. But if you want top-shelf gear, there are plenty of ways to spend your money. Regardless of budget, both kits need to do the same thing: save your life. Here are ideas to satisfy each preference and get the job done:

The Basics

Container

Wide-mouth 32oz Nalgene bottle, which is durable and waterproof, plus easy to pack. It becomes a water collection and storage device if needed ($7)

Fire
  • A dozen strike-anywhere matches wrapped in a small plastic baggie and secured with a rubber band
  • A standard butane cigarette lighter
  • A dozen cotton balls slathered with petroleum jelly and stored in a plastic baggie (fantastic fire-starters)
Shelter

Braided nylon rope, the thinner the better, and ideally 50 feet in length

Water

Katadyn Micropur water treatment tablets ($10)

Signaling
  • Travel-size cosmetics mirror ($2)
  • Coach’s whistle ($3)
First-aid
  • 6 wide cloth bandages
  • a small tube of antibiotic ointment
  • ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatory
  • and a couple feet of duct tape rolled tightly
Food

granola bar; small packets of peanuts; pre-packaged jerky stick

Blade

A sturdy, compact folding knife

Warmth

Heavy-duty lawn bag; it can be worn as an emergency poncho (cut holes in the bottom seam and corners for your head and arms) or used as a small tarp

The BMW

Container

Wide-mouth stainless steel .6 liter water bottle from Primus, which can collect and store water as well as cook and purify water via boiling ($15)

Fire
  • REI Stormproof matches ($5)
  • WetFire tinder cubes from Ultimate Survival, the best I’ve ever tested ($6 )
  • 50 feet of bright-colored parachute cord, a good selection of which I found at Sportsman’s Warehouse ($9)
Water

McNett Frontier Water Straw filter system ($14)

Signaling

Adventure Medical Kits Rescue Flash mirror and Slim Howler whistle ($17)

First-aid

Adventure Medical Kits Ultralite .3 waterproof first aid kit ($9)

Food

Cliff Bar ($2); envelope of dehydrated soup mix; packet of oatmeal; packets of vitamin-enhanced powdered drink mix

Blade

ToolLogic SLP2, which has a mini-LED flashlight, fire steel rod, and whistle combined into a rugged folding knife ($52)

Warmth

Adventure Medical Kits SOL Emergency Bivy ($17)