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#40088 - 04/25/05 12:42 AM PFD Survival Kit
Woodsloafer Offline

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 122
Loc: Upstate NewYork
I've travelled by solo canoe in the northeastern US, Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes. I always canoe with my daypack tied into the boat. The pack is setup as my level III survival kit and I have confidence it would serve me should I dump in rapids, meet a submerged rock head-on or other wise do something abnormally stupid. Suppose the canoe was swept down stream, became pinned under water or simply torn off, then what?
I decided to equip my Extrasport PFD (life vest) with a basic level I kit. The one pocket (5" X 1 1/2" X 1") on the vest limits the amount of gear carried. Kit contents as follows:
Left Shoulder Patch:
1-Schrade WR-1 knife in locking sheath (3 1/2" blade)
1-High intensity light stick
Matchsafe w/ whistle and compass:
30-Waterfroof matches
1 -Stiker strip
1 -Hexamene block
Vacuum sealed packet:
1-Butane lighter
4-Fire-tab tinders
1-Adhesive tape, 1" x 36"
1-Wire saw
1-Razor knife
1-Scapel blade, #11
2-Book matches, waterproof
3-Fishing line, 15#, 45' ea
6-Snelled hooks
6-Fish hooks
6-Split shot
3-Safety pins
2-Sewing needles, large
1-Thread, heavy, 6'
1-P-38 can opener
Signal mirror, made from a CD
The matchsafe and packet are tied to the vest with nylon cord.
There are comprimises here as in all kits.
My next project is to add mesh pockets inside, under the PPFD arm holes. This area lacks the foam tubes of the remainder of the vest. I am making up a more comprehensive level II kit based on empty E-3 flasks from the old Air Force E-17 kit.
I welcome any and all comments regarding the kit shown above or the level II kit under construction.

"There is nothing so frightening as ignorance in action."

#40089 - 04/25/05 04:59 AM Re: PFD Survival Kit
Chris Kavanaugh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/09/01
Posts: 3824
Dump the CD mirror and invest in a commercial unit with a correct sighting hole and mirror. How good is the matchsafe compass and whistle? Since your midway on a river voyage you should have a good idea of where you've been and are going. If you keep to the river attempting to walk out the compass merely needs to help keep you connected to the river if your land route takes you off track temporarilly. With the natural loud noise of various rapids etc.The whistle has got to be of good decible quality. Your Shrade is a good knife, but you need something to keep it sharp. A small flat diamond plate will take up a little room. One hi intensity lightstick limits your options in night illumination. I'd add a photon or similar minilight. I'd lose the hexamine and make up a small container of vaseline and cotton tinder. If your fishing the vaseline will help dope the improvised flies for your fishing, and I would add more safety pins. If I was walking a river a small container of DEET for the mosquitos and no see ums beats the mud on face scenario. Besides, you want a nice shiny face for searchers to spot.

#40090 - 04/25/05 12:54 PM Re: PFD Survival Kit
Burncycle Offline

Registered: 09/16/04
Posts: 532
Welcome to the forums!

How far do these trips venture from civilization? Are you mostly within walking distance of somebody, or is it many miles out into the wilderness?

It's a good idea to build a kit that stays on your person in case you lose the canoe and/or daypack. First, a couple of long term considerations:
-A life vest more suited to carrying gear
-A personal locator beacon if you venture more than a day's walk or two; if you are injured, a dozen miles may seem like an eternity
-Spare Air tank (this attaches directly to your vest, and can help you in case you find yourself stuck under water

I understand due to the expense, these may take lower priority, but something to think about if you go on these trips often.

I'm not an expert, so the following is just an opinion, so take it for what it's worth. As for your kit, it looks like you have fire down pretty well, but what about shelter and water? Given the nature of your trip, if you ever have to use this stuff, you will likely already be wet which compounds your problem from the start. Some sort of shelter needs to be on your person in case you lose your daypack and canoe; even if this is just a space blanket/trash bag. In addition, unless you strap a water bottle to your person (I don't blame you if you don't, they're bulky-) you'll need to have some way of holding water in case you ever find yourself with only the stuff you have on you. Condoms, gerber breastmilk bags, and so forth take up little room. Then you'll need something to purify it with. Micropur MP-1 tablets or something similar.
Finally, consider
-A handkerchief
-550 cord
-duct tape
-maps in a waterproof plastic baggie
-A waterproof LED flashlight (perferably with strobe option)

#40091 - 04/25/05 01:24 PM Fish Hooks
williamlatham Offline

Registered: 01/12/04
Posts: 239
Loc: Stafford, VA, USA
It just occured to me......does anyone see the benefit of pre-tying fish hooks to short leaders with a pre-tied loop at the other end? While I can tie on hooks and luers/flies in the field, I prefer to do it at home. A short leader with a loop termination can then be used with a loop to loop connection to the main line. Granted that tangling would be a potential issue, but I think the benefits would outweigh the detractions.


#40092 - 04/25/05 01:47 PM Re: PFD Survival Kit
Brangdon Offline

Registered: 12/12/04
Posts: 1201
Loc: Nottingham, UK
What's the Hexamene block for? I use them for cooking, but you don't seem to have anything that will serve as a pan. The ones I use burn for about 10 minutes.

Does the butane lighter use a flint? Apart from that, you seem to be relying on matches for fire. I would carry some kind of flint rod or a Sparklite or similar, and tinder.

You might try to find a way to carry parachord. Apart from the usual uses, it might help you retrieve the canoe (and gear) if you get separated.
Quality is addictive.

#40093 - 04/25/05 01:49 PM Mirror sighting holes?
Brangdon Offline

Registered: 12/12/04
Posts: 1201
Loc: Nottingham, UK
"Dump the CD mirror and invest in a commercial unit with a correct sighting hole and mirror." - How important is the sighting hole? Would you rather a big mirror without a sighting hole, or a small one with?
Quality is addictive.

#40094 - 04/25/05 02:41 PM Re: Mirror sighting holes?
Burncycle Offline

Registered: 09/16/04
Posts: 532
You don't have to use both hands with a proper sighting hole, and you can get on target and stay on target a great deal easier.

#40095 - 04/25/05 02:42 PM Re: Fish Hooks
Burncycle Offline

Registered: 09/16/04
Posts: 532
Sure. You can buy them that way as well.

#40096 - 04/25/05 03:15 PM Re: PFD Survival Kit
TeacherRO Offline

Registered: 03/11/05
Posts: 2396
You should be thinking hypothemia -- pack a jacket or fleece. Cargo pockets in your pants/ shorts will give you extra room. ( and /or a belt pack.)

A good signaling mirror is $10-15 ( US)

t ro

#40097 - 04/25/05 03:30 PM Re: PFD Survival Kit
KenK Offline
"Be Prepared"

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 2027
Loc: NE Wisconsin
Two thoughts come to mind:

1. Personal Locator Beacon: If you are traveling alone during a trip that could indeed put you in harms way (running even moderate rapids would fall into that category), then I am starting this think that the purchase of a good personal locator beacon, though relatively expensive, should be seriously considered. My thinking is something along the line of -- picture yourself injured and hoping that someone will come along to help or that a friend or relative would finally notice that they haven't heard from you - what would you be willing to pay to get your situation resolved almost immediately? I think $600 or $700 isn't far off that mark, considering a nice mapping GPS can run $300-$400.

2. A few months back I had the good fortune of chating on the phone with Malcom Murray, the gentleman who makes the Rescue Reflector mirrors. He gave some great advice. First he recommended a mirror than can easily be held by one hand - specifically a 3x5 mirror, as opposed to a 4x5 mirror. We also talked about the quality of CD-ROMs as signalling devices since I was thinking of using them to teach signaling to a cub scout den. Based upon his measurement he found that they were good at all. He also recommended to avoid glass mirrors since they are so heavy and breakable.

Do signal mirrors need to have holes? It is very nice. While I don't think you necessarily need the higher tech sighting grids, the ability to sight from the center of the mirror can greatly increase your aim while using the two-handed sighting method. The sighting grid gives you the ability to aim one-handed, which is nice. On the other hand, the usual practice is to sweep back and forth across the target, so if you are peeking from one side of the mirror it seems the result is likely about the same. I'd rather have a high quality mirror with no hole than a CD-ROM with a hole.

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