Developing your kit
Attempting to determine what items to put in your Survival Kit can be a bit of a daunting task. With so many opinions on what to carry, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Personally, my own kits have gone through several evolutions over the years before reaching what I believe is the best possible system. Here are a few steps you can take to get the process moving in the right direction:
1.) Develop a personal philosophy
We mentioned different options above, and let me tell you there are thousands. Some people prefer a fast and light approach while others prefer to carry everything they can physically lift. Some favor load-outs that place higher values on specific items like Food, Water/Water Treatment, or Weapons and Personal Protective Equipment. What’s important is that you develop a personal philosophy which will serve as a guide for you to determine what you will want in your kit.
In order to decide what should be a priority in your kit it is good to start with Rule of 3’s; the rule of 3’s states that you can survive: 3 minutes without air, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food. I actually like to take it further and add: 3 seconds without a plan. Of course I understand that even without any planning whatsoever you could certainly survive longer than 3 seconds. But in those first 3 seconds of a disaster, proper planning can make a crucial difference in whether you become part of the panicking masses, or you face fear with preparedness and overcome. The point of the rule of 3’s is to provide us with a solid foundation for what our survival kit essentials are.
Next take some time to write out your kit philosophy. Here are a few questions your philosophy should answer.
- Where do you live?
- Are there any climate specific needs that your kit should address?
- Will you carry a weapon?
- What is your kits ideal weight?
- What type of food will I carry?
- Do I need to cook food?
- What shelter needs do I have?
- How many people will your kit serve?
The answers to these questions and many more can prove incredibly valuable when determining the best kit for your particular situation.
2.) Do your research
Now that you have developed a personal philosophy, it’s time to decide what to put in your kit. Start out by doing as much research as you can. Find out who makes the best available products. There are an unlimited number of resources available to consumers today and it is imperative that you take full advantage of this. There are massive amounts of forums and blogs dedicated to prepping and survival. These offer a great place to start by giving you short lists of popular gear. However these forums often lack unbiased technical reviews. For objective reviews, you’ll want to look at specialized gear blogs (check out NutinFancy on You Tube or blogs like Gear Patrol, ITS Tactical or Uncrate). And remember, for accurate product specs it is important to go direct to the manufacturer. They are more than happy to help a potential customer by providing info on product size, weight, and performance. Also check major retail sites for first hand customer reviews. This step is crucial to insure that your kit contains only the best quality products. (the last thing you want is some piece of junk breaking down on you and your family when you need it the most.)
3.) Write it out
So you have developed a personal philosophy and you’ve done your research, it’s time to buy, right? Wrong. It’s a good idea to take the next step and actually write out a comprehensive list of what you want in your bag. List out all the contents, all the weights and all the pricing. Now take a hard look at what you’ve got there. Does your kit weigh too much? Does it fit in your budget or will you have to assemble it piece by piece? Is everything in your kit truly necessary to meet your personal philosophy? If you are satisfied with all your answers then this is a great time to begin putting your bag together. If you find some items that don’t fit or you just don’t feel right about, it may be time to retool. From experience I can say that it is cheaper and much less time consuming to fix problems at this stage, rather than after you have already spent your hard earned money on gear.
Now that you have completed all the steps above you should begin ordering your gear.