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#11726 - 01/15/03 07:35 AM Re: Interesting opinion about survival kits
Trusbx Offline

Registered: 01/16/02
Posts: 397
Loc: Ed's Country
I agree with Chris.
Never limit yourself to just one box. It would be silly to just try and squeeze whatever your equipment you deem to be necessary just because it fit into that one tin.
More means more choices. In an emergency situation, why limit your choices ?
We all carry what we deem necessary and if it goes beyond the standard PSK so be it. As long as you are comfortable carrying it.

Of course you may want to limit how much to carry, or else you'll end up like Crazy Eric <img src="images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" />


#11727 - 01/15/03 11:44 AM Re: Interesting opinion about survival kits

When I head for the hills for a few days it is usually to either practice my survival skills or to teach my daughter (11) or other young people that are interested. Sometimes we just camp (Tents, bags, BP stove) and other tmes we go with the bare essentials and improvise (Tarp/Poncho, fire, etc).

Either way I always stress the importance of carrying the basics should you be forced to spend the night or stay longer than you planned.

Food gathering, eating for that matter, is not essential in a short term situation. I like to be able to fish and trap becuase I like to. I also carry a "wrist rocket" slingshot for the same reason. Critters are tasty.

I have also been in a "survival situation" in which food was a definate issue. I'll relate the story here later. Nobody was going to die in our ordeeal but we were all reduced to scant rations and had to partially live off the land. Fishing gear fed our group.

The only food related item that I make sure I have with me is salt. I know for a fact that I loose a great deal of it and am subject to severe cramps after a day or two of heavy perspiration (We got lots of that here). My personal kit is full of little salt packets stashed away here and there. In my pack I usually have a bottle of electrolyte replacements tablets as well (buffered salt).


#11728 - 01/15/03 05:08 PM Re: Interesting opinion about survival kits


I think the conversation may be stumbling over differing defintions of exactly what a PSK is, and how it's use affects the definition.

For instance, to my way of thinking a PSK inside a backpack (or horse pack) is probably redundant and, if used routinely, not really a PSK at all. To me a "survival kit" is not just supplemental gear, but the minimum I absolutely want to have with me if I'm separated from the pack and my gear. My definition is a kit for true emergencies only, when you really have nothing else.

As such, it's hard enough forcing the self-discipline to keep one ALWAYS on my person, without multiplying it by two or three. It seems to me that talking about multiple "kits" and not-really-essential items is muddying the role it was intended to serve.

When I say that there are items I would not include in the kit, I'm not saying that I would voluntarily do without those items, either in civilization or the wilderness. I carry some reserve food for the unexpected when backpacking . I also carry, as I said, fishing gear and a first-aid kit. By not including them in the kit itself I'm not saying that I'd voluntarily do without, just that I don't include them in the list of absolutely-needed-for-survival gear that I'm not willing to take ANY risk of being parted from. So, to me, other pouches and containers that I'm willing to leave in the pack, or desk drawer, or commute bag, don't qualify. That's just supplemental gear, and mostly it is subject to use in less-than-emergency conditions.

#11729 - 01/15/03 08:43 PM Re: Interesting opinion about survival kits

I agree with opinion that PSK should be assembled not based on what may get useful, but what will be essential in a real emergency when you do not have access to your backpack, car or other. The situation, when some items of equipment will improve your chances to survive, I mean, not to die. All the rest can be put into the backpack, including food and water. If you use snares, slingshots and fishing equipment when you are not in danger, you can put them in a backpack as well. I agree with opinion that, the bulkier and heavier the PSK will be, the less desirable it will be on you all the time (not backpack), hence, you have less chance to have it on in a real emergency situation. If you store PSK in a backpack, you should treat your backpack as your PSK (and I agree, backpack also PSK to some extend, but large one, however, I believe most people want to have it easy to carry). To my opinion, PSK should be used as the last resort when everything else had been tried to escape danger. To my opinion, GPS and Communication equipment (Satellite or mobile phone) is the best PSK for most real emergencies, therefore should be on you all the time.
I would also agree that there is a little chance that you may get into a real emergency under equipped, if you expect it.

#11730 - 01/16/03 01:38 AM Re: Interesting opinion about survival kits

It's probably heresy to say it here but I have gotten away from the PSK over the years. I pretty much just have the things in my wilderness pack and my survival knife. The knife has all the stuff I can't live without. Everything on the knife is a scaled down version of things in the pack, for the most part.

It's an airforce survival knife with a rubber sleeve over the sheath under which is all the stuff I wouldn't want to live without. I figure if I've lost that knife, I have also lost the pants as well and that would be a far greater emergency for I would fear the embarassment of a rescue.

I don't go into the wilderness here without my pack. I usually go into the wilderness to practice survival skills (including food gathering) so I take the bare essentials I'll need. I often go by myself. I always take a cell phone.

To my way of thinking a PSK that is always carried on the person would have to be justified by a lifestyle that could easily put one in the wilderness unexpectedly. If I am going anywhere near, through, or over wilderness I throw the pack in the vehicle. Some people here think I'm a nut but the contents of that pack have saved the day enough times that the people in my life have stopped making comments. I'm in and out of the stuff enough that to have it all in a neat PSK would be a pain. Most of my stuff is in heavy duty ziplocks in the pack. Mac

#11731 - 01/16/03 01:29 PM Re: Interesting opinion about survival kits
NAro Offline

Registered: 03/15/01
Posts: 493
Pict, the point is that your knife (rigged with the stuff you couldn't live without) IS your PSK. Who says it has to look like a box! My PSK is either in a waterproof neck pouch, or (believe it or not) in an old leather "secret zipper compartment" money belt. But, as Presumed Lost says, it consists of the bare minimum I think I'd need to keep alive until help reached me, considering the geography I'll be in.

In the past, though I carry many less critical comfort items (usually in a small fanny pack)it has taken discipline not to raid the PSK. E.g., when my pocket lighter failed, I'd use the bic in the PSK to light my pipe or cigar. I've gotten better about that. The PSK is last ditch survival, nothing less.

#11732 - 01/16/03 03:17 PM Re: Interesting opinion about survival kits


As one heretic to another, sounds like your set up is very nicely evolved for your needs.

I pretty much agree with respect to the kit/pack redundancy. I’ve carried some sort of “kit” on any hike from a few hours to a few weeks for decades, and I can only think of once or twice where I used anything in the kit, and those weren’t survival situations. Still, it’s comforting to have if there’s any chance you might be separated from the pack- and the larger the pack, the longer the trip, the more chance there is.

I confess though that that’s part of the reason that I’ve most recently concentrated on the “urban” version, and my every-day-carry. I’m much more likely to get caught by surprise in an urban emergency than I am to unexpectedly find myself in the wilderness.

#11733 - 01/16/03 07:25 PM Re: Interesting opinion about survival kits

It is interesting to see that here are quite a few “heretics” with limited PSKs. <img src="images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> I join your club. <img src="images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />.

#11734 - 01/17/03 05:28 PM Re: Interesting opinion about survival kits
Milestand Offline

Registered: 09/29/02
Posts: 124
I believe the most important purpose of the PSK is as an aid to focus your mind on survival situations. It achieves its optimal utility at the moment you assemble it and thereafter serves a primarily symbolic function.

This discussion reminds me of my high school Latin class -- most everyone hated the weekly grammar tests and it was standard procedure to write out a little cheat sheet with the appropriate words and conjugations. I discovered after a while that in the process of deciding what the important information to include on this cheat sheet and then the careful writing of it on a tiny sheet of paper -- I no longer needed the physical paper because it had by then been stored in my memory.

Survival is surely a state of mind more than any little tin of odds and sods. Onboard skills beat outboard tools. (Of course, a mini Bic lighter and a knife sure speed things up...)

#11735 - 01/17/03 07:30 PM Re: Interesting opinion about survival kits

>>I believe the most important purpose of the PSK is as an aid to focus your mind on survival situations. It achieves its optimal utility at the moment you assemble it and thereafter serves a primarily symbolic function.<<

My first reaction is that a rabbit's foot could probably do as well in that role, and be a heckuva lot easier to carry.

It is certainly true that the sort of person that pays attention to survival kits rarely needs them, and the sort of person to whom it would never occur needs one most often... but I'm not sure that it follows that the function is therefore "primarily symbolic".

Not that a symbol is necessarily a bad idea. Maybe people who carry PSKs should wear a mutually-recognizable symbol, like a building wearing a civil-defense sign? <img src="images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

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