Saturday, November 12, 2011

Mini Survival Kit

After beginning to use my Kindle as a reusable shopping list with the Notepad app, I changed from my wallet-on-a-string purse to one with a pocket large enough to hold my Kindle so I would not set the Kindle down on the seat of the shopping cart and risk having it walk away behind my back.

This meant I could upgrade my Micro Survival Kit of my previous post into a Mini Survival Kit, the subject of this post. While many of the components are the same as for my Micro Survival Kit, there are some additions, the major addition being the Pocket Survival Pak from Adventure Medical Kits. Initially purchased several years ago and modified for my hiking pack, I realized I could EDC it as part of my Mini Survival Kit. The changes are noted below in the sections designated as "AMK PSP" within each system.

As with the Micro Kit, you'll notice some items have to be worn, hand-carried, or left in the car, but not as much as before.

Please note that [items within brackets like this] need to be omitted or packed in checked luggage to comply with TSA restrictions.

1. NAVIGATION - luminous compasses; the same as for my Micro Survival Kit, this is an EDC item on my key rings.

AMK PSP: Includes a 20mm button compass, a good back-up for my own. I added 14 ft. 3 in. of surveyor's tape (same as 5. COMMUNICATION) so I can find my way back to a particular point and avoid getting lost.

2. PERSONAL ATTIRE - Sun glasses with retainer cord, winter or sun hat/cap/visor, Neckbandoo/scarf/neck gaiter, poptop mittens/gloves, shawl/sweater/jacket/coat, footwear, Cascade II poncho with DIY ties; all are the same as for my Micro Survival Kit. The exception is that a 27"x27" Trainman's bandanna is now always with me in my purse and I added the rest of my exposure kit sans goggles. Although inadequate, I'll use my wrap-around sunglasses for eye protection since my purse is too small to hold swim goggles. E-kit: aforementioned bandanna, earplugs, 1 pair nitrile gloves, plastic poncho.


3. HYDRATION - Water bottle/thermal bottle & insulated carrier with shoulder strap, the same as for my Micro Survival Kit.

AMK PSP: Includes 3 sq. ft. Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil that can be formed into a pan to boil water. I added (10) Micropur MP1 tablets from a pack of 30 tablets, an oven bag & tie and a quart zip bag, both to hold water.

4. SHELTER - Folding umbrella and poncho, the same as for my Micro Survival Kit.

AMK PSP: 10 ft. braided cord and 26 in. duct tape (both the same as 10. REPAIR AND TOOLS) may help construct a shelter.

5. COMMUNICATION - Fox 40 Mini whistle and LED on key ring (same as 7. ILLUMINATION), cell phone, Trekker Space pen, and calling cards (same as 6. FIRE); all are the same as for my Micro Survival Kit and are basic EDC items. A pocket-sized notepad was added.

AMK PSP: Includes a Fox 40 Micro whistle, a Rescue Flash Signal Mirror, a tiny #2 Pencil, and a couple of pages of waterproof notepaper. Because I already have a Mini whistle on my key ring, I removed the Micro to make room for other items. I added 14 ft. 3 in. of surveyor's tape (same as 1. NAVIGATION) so I can mark it with my Trekker pen for SAR to be able to find me.

6. FIRE - Fresnel lens magnifier (same as 10. REPAIR AND TOOLS), calling cards (same as 5. COMMUNICATION); both are the same as for my Micro Survival Kit. I added a disposable lighter and a magnesium bar and returned the Spark-Lite of my Micro Kit back to the AMK PSP from where I took it.

AMK PSP: Includes a Spark-Lite Firestarter and (4) Spark-Lite Tinder-Quiks. I added (2) "Magic" can't-blow-out trick birthday candles to help start a fire in windy conditions, rolled in plastic to ensure they would not melt and get wax on everything else in the PSP.

7. ILLUMINATION - key ring LED (same as 5. COMMUNICATION), the same as for my Micro Survival Kit. Since that LED has to be constantly pressed to turn on, I put another key ring LED in my purse that has a on/off switch I don't have to hold on.


8. NUTRITION - P-51 can opener and Ekco Pocket Boy folding can punch and bottle cap lifter, the same as for my Micro Survival Kit and EDC items on my key ring. I added a Ti-Ware spork in a snack zip bag because the plastic forks you can get for free sometimes break.

AMK PSP: Includes 6 ft. of stainless steel wire that can be used for snares and a mini fishing kit with hooks, swivel, and split shot. Use the included thread (same as 10. REPAIR AND TOOLS) as fishing line.

9. FIRST AID KIT - Chapstick, floss, pill fobs with antacids and allergy pills; all are the same as for my Micro Survival Kit. I increased the number of Wet Ones to (4) and added (2) ½ in. wide Band-Aids, facial tissue, and (11) multi-vitamin, multi-mineral tablets in an Altoids Smalls tin.

AMK PSP: Contributes nothing toward this system unless you count the duct tape. I added (2) alcohol prep pads and (2) ½ in. wide Band-Aids.

10. REPAIR AND TOOLS - ResQMe car escape tool, fresnel lens magnifier (same as 6. FIRE), [Swiss Army Classic knife]; all are the same as for my Micro Survival Kit. I added a battery-assisted solar calculator and a monocular.

AMK PSP: Includes [a scalpel blade], 26 in. duct tape (same as 4. SHELTER), (4) safety pins, 10 ft. braided cord (same as 4. SHELTER), 50 ft. thread (same as 8. NUTRITION), sewing needle, fresnel lens magnifier. [Update 9/19/2012 - I added a small card with ten different colors of thread taken from a travel sewing kit and a self-threading needle.]

11. DOCUMENTATION - Driver's license, In Case of Emergency card, library and other membership cards; all are the same as for my Micro Survival Kit. I know how to tie some knots, but not others, so added Knots cards to help.

AMK PSP: Includes Survival Instructions and a few knots along with a list of Pak contents which may be used as tinder for 6. FIRE. (Use the contents list as tinder, not the Survival Instructions - Duh!)

12. FINANCES - Cash and credit/debit cards in wallet with store discount tags on key ring as EDC; all are the same as my Micro Survival Kit.


13. TRANSPORTATION - Primarily a medium-sized purse and key rings unless worn or left in the car as noted above.

AMK PSP: Includes a waterproof, pocket-sized clear vinyl pouch to protect the contents. The pouch has a hole to attach a neck lanyard (some of the included braided cord) to ensure it will not be mislaid or lost during a survival event.

14. ENTERTAINMENT - Kindle, the same as for my Micro Survival Kit except it now fits in my purse instead of needing to be hand-carried separately.


15. SECURITY - Fox 40 Mini whistle (same as 5. COMMUNICATION); the same as for my Micro Survival Kit.

AMK PSP: N/A after I removed the included Fox 40 Micro whistle in favor of the Mini whistles on my key rings.

Many people like to assemble their own pocket survival kits that fit into an Altoids tin or other small container. Some buy an AMK PSP and use the components for their own kits because it's easier and less expensive than searching for and buying the pieces of similarly high quality gear individually.

The main point is that it is possible to have a Mini Survival Kit that is small enough and lightweight enough to carry on your person, in your pockets or purse at all times. I encourage you to set up your own because the only good survival kit is the one you have with you when you need it.

[Updated on 1/1/12 to change bandanna to Trainman's bandanna and to add E-kit, magnesium bar, LED with on/off switch, Pocket Boy, and knots cards.]

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