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#260409 - 05/09/13 03:05 PM Re: Simple hip pack Survival kit [Re: JerryFountain]
ILBob Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 02/05/10
Posts: 776
Loc: Northern IL
I agree with you that the kit is sorely lacking.

I don't have a serious issue with the knife selection though. I think people worry way too much about having the perfect piece of gear when a barely adequate one is maybe appropriate. It is not like you are going to be using this a lot. It is for all intents and purposes a one time use kit.

The knife can be used for cutting, skinning, trapping, wood-cutting, and other important things.

That the author thinks one will be skinning, trapping, and wood cutting with a $1 pocket knife even further suggests he is clueless.

that the author thinks salt and sugar packets are important enough to put in a so called survival pack shows how poorly thought out it is.

to me the most critical item in any survival kit is a $2 poncho. it will keep you from freezing to death from the cold and wind. it is not perfect rain gear but it may well keep you from dying. hypothermia will get you long before you can trap and skin anything.
Warning - I am not an expert on anything having to do with this forum, but that won't stop me from saying what I think. smile


#260410 - 05/09/13 03:32 PM Re: Simple hip pack Survival kit [Re: TeacherRO]
JerryFountain Offline

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 418
Loc: St. Petersburg, Florida

I agree with you that many spend WAY TOO MUCH for knives for a kit like this, but many $1 knives break on the first use. Decent knives can be found in the $10 to $20 range (I have a lot of the little Ritters at under $20 in such kits).

I agree with you about the poncho as well. A garbage bag, cheap plastic poncho, etc. is one of the most important parts of the kit. I tend to use Heatsheets at about $6 but that is not necessary. There are places where money can be saved.



#260422 - 05/09/13 06:24 PM Re: Simple hip pack Survival kit [Re: TeacherRO]
bacpacjac Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 3588
Loc: Ontario, Canada
I've got a $1 knife in my fire kit, BUT

-I use it primarily as a scraper for my ferro rod
-it's secondary use it to pry pine pitch off of trees
-it's third use is making wood shavings

Granted, mine is tiny, but I have a hard time accepting anyone who tells me it or one of it's family members are good for much more than that. I use my tiny cheap knife to save my good knife for the big jobs. I want something of much better quality if I'm going to be splitting wood with it, for example. My knife is something that needs to take a beating. Mine aren't high end but they're tough enough and I know I can trust them if I keep them sharp. The problem with a poor knife suggestion is that it can result in injury, especially in an emergency situation.

I am a fan of the space blanket, as it's good for shelter and first aid, but I have upgraded all of mine to Heat sheets because the standard Mylar blanket is just too fragile. That said, I really like disposable ponchos for emergency kits. I keep a couple in my purse and all my kits, and I'd pick it over a Mylar blanket or bin liner in a heartbeat - especially if someone wasn't familiar with shelter building. They're just more user friendly. They're one of first things I throw in my kiddo's kits and suggest to my Scouts and their parents. Shelter from the elements that they know how to use - The KISS theory in action.
Mom & Adventurer

You can find me on YouTube here:

#260424 - 05/09/13 07:28 PM Re: Simple hip pack Survival kit [Re: JerryFountain]
bws48 Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/18/07
Posts: 816
Loc: Anne Arundel County, Maryland
Originally Posted By: JerryFountain

I agree with you that many spend WAY TOO MUCH for knives for a kit like this, but many $1 knives break on the first use. Decent knives can be found in the $10 to $20 range (

I have found that good quality knives (usually folders) at very reasonable prices can be found at local hardware stores or farm supply stores rather then camping/backpacking/"outdoor" stores. They just look at it as another tool, not something special or unusual, and price it accordingly. YMMV.
"Better is the enemy of good enough."

#260426 - 05/09/13 08:31 PM Re: Simple hip pack Survival kit [Re: JerryFountain]
Dagny Offline

Registered: 11/25/08
Posts: 1913
Loc: Washington, DC
Originally Posted By: JerryFountain
Decent knives can be found in the $10 to $20 range (I have a lot of the little Ritters at under $20 in such kits).

Ditto Doug Ritter's little knife ("MK5"), I have several and just rearranged my coat closet for spring/summer - putting an MK5 in the jackets/coats I'm mostly likely to wear between now and fall.

I also have an MK5 in a few hip belt bags (in SUV, home) and in my primary mountain bike's rack bag.


By the way, I'd never go into the woods with just one of these little bags - mine are intended to go on a hip belt of a backpack and are more for convenient access. My main pack (daypack) has a larger knife (usually a Mora), firemaking devices (Bic, matches, firesteel), full-size compass and shelter (heatsheet, lawn garbage bags and paracord), etcetera and more etcetera.


#260431 - 05/10/13 02:28 AM Re: Simple hip pack Survival kit [Re: bsmith]
Roarmeister Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 09/12/01
Posts: 868
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
Originally Posted By: bsmith
Originally Posted By: Roarmeister
Hint only the US spells the word "defence". The rest of the anglo world spells it defense.

psst, roarmeister, i believe you have it backwards.

Argghhh.... and so I do. My bad. Hanging my head in shame....

#260432 - 05/10/13 03:49 AM Re: Simple hip pack Survival kit [Re: TeacherRO]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3077
There are a few different approaches to having a reliable survival kit. The reality of having a small pocket kit in a small pouch as described may not cut in real world induced hypothermia weather conditions i.e. wet cold heavy rain/sleet windy conditions. Building a fire may be impossible especially if there is no wood or fuel to burn or conditions make it extremely difficult (exactly when a fire is needed to survive), a lighter or Ferrocerium or other sparky survival tools fail to get a fire going properly.

Trying to get a fire started and build a weather resistant shelter when hypothermia is beginning to set in combined with a lack of available calories available (lack of Liver glycogen and brain glucose after a heavy exertion in a cooler environment i.e. the panic bonk) could be almost impossible and could easily be the difference of not making it through the night.


A more realistic approach considering the number one killer of those that don't survive the first 24hrs when folks get lost or overestimate their abilities when walking an environment that they underestimate?

Edited by Am_Fear_Liath_Mor (05/10/13 03:50 AM)

#260436 - 05/10/13 12:10 PM Re: Simple hip pack Survival kit [Re: Am_Fear_Liath_Mor]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6223
Loc: southern Cal
If one is carrying a pack with the capacity in the video, then properly chosen gear will allow positively comfy existence in almost any conditions - luxury survival, including packing a nice small conventional stove which will prepare almost any hot food you might prefer, including the iconic nice cup of tea. Many small tents or even elaborate bivvy sacks could be incorporated as well

The flameless hat pack shown in the video looked like the smaller Trekmate brand, whose flameless cooker I purchased a few weeks ago - very nice unit. it does a nice job of cooking, including the very best omelet I have ever prepared, but the packets are kind of pricey - not recommended for routine use.

Conspicuously missing is any discussion of finding shelter - the assumption seems to be that the victim will simply plop down wherever and gut it out. Looking around just a bit can make an enormous difference. Finding a rock overhand or a down tree, even just a few feet away, can improve the situation a lot. I have found that the very best shelter, exceeding even the most expensive tent you can obtain, is a nice dry rock shelter or cave mouth (at least when rattlesnakes aren't denning). Survival is the quite easy, if not downright cushy. My very best nights in the outdoors have been spent snugly camped in rock shelters, with a nice compact camp stove.

Of course, rock shelters are a lot more common in the American Southwest than on the windswept moors of Merrie England...

Edited by hikermor (05/10/13 11:41 PM)
Geezer in Chief

#260459 - 05/10/13 08:50 PM Re: Simple hip pack Survival kit [Re: TeacherRO]
bacpacjac Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 3588
Loc: Ontario, Canada
To Liath's point, Bear Grylls (I know, I know) did an episode of Man Vs Wild called "Norway, Edge of Survival" that had a interesting experiment in hypothermia hidden in the middle it. They simulated wind and rain at night, and his goal was a make a shelter and get a fire going. (These are something our emergency kits should help us with, IMO.) He aborted the mission when the hypothermia risk got too high, and he couldn't get a fire. He made a smart observation about the importance of waterproof clothing.

That episode has stuck with me since it originally aired a few years ago, and reinforces my personal belief that a rain poncho is an important addition to any pocket kit, or GHB/BOB/INCH/whatever, at least in this neck of the woods. Combined with hikermor's look for natural shelter approach, it's a pretty good shelter solution for an emergency bivvy. (The links on YouTube suck for isolating just this segment, and other than the river segment, I shake my head at most of the rest of the episode, so i'm passing on including links.)
Mom & Adventurer

You can find me on YouTube here:

#260461 - 05/10/13 09:57 PM Re: Simple hip pack Survival kit [Re: TeacherRO]
Tjin Offline

Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 1709
Back on the subject of the Simple hip pack Survival kit article. If the article get people to at least thing about survival or even make a survival kit, it would be a nice step in the right direction.
My Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjQHh-hs39h6xWirxHo_HwA

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